Saturday, May 22, 2021

Quarantine, Week 62: Making News and Making Plans

It was a week chock full of Canadian civ-mil stuff, mostly inspired by our podcast where Stef vH and I interviewed Deputy Minister Jody Thomas and Acting Chief of Defence Staff Wayne Eyre.  That interview inspired posts about the parliament looking in the wrong place and the realization that Canada's civilians lost control of the armed forces a while ago.  It was strange to see past and on-going work on legislatures and the armed forces start to transition into future work--departments/ministries of defense--in a single week, but that is where my head is at these days. 

That and making all kinds of plans--CDSN, teaching, and personal.  We are putting together the pieces for three sets of CDSN and CSIDS events--our Summer Institute in August, 9/11 20th anniversary, and the Year Ahead.  The first is an effort to provide some professional develop and networking for the next generation of military officers, policy officers, academics, journalists, and others in our defence and security community.  We have participants and, thanks to this week's work, we now have most of the presenter spots filled.  Now, I just need to figure out the daily small group exercises.  

We are working on a couple of ways to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11.  We hope to put a video of many folks across the various communities who will speak to what we can learn from our reaction on that day and since that day.  We are also working on a couple of panels with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute--one focused on protecting North America and one figuring out what we can learn from how the government and society reacted to 9/11 and the impact of the ensuing policies.  

The third event is our annual event that previews the next year.  We have consulted our partners, especially those in government, to figure out what are the things in the near horizon that we need to think about.  We hope to have an in-person event.  We should have a good mix of panels on a variety of topics.  

Teaching plans firmed up as we got our schedules for 2021-22.  My courses will be online in the fall and in-person in the winter.  That is what I preferred as I am uncertain how many students will be vaccinated by August, given how the rollout here has been messy.  I am not worried about myself, as I should get my second shot by mid-summer (see below), but students from wherever.  I am teaching US Foreign and Security Policy this fall for the first time in a couple of years, and I have to figure out the balance of "the old systems work again" vs "Trump broke the system, so how much of foreign policy making has changed".  I have Civ-Mil at 8:30am face to face in the winter, so that will be a rude re-introduction of winter commuting, but it will be good to see folks in person.  For both semesters, I will be teaching again the Dissertation Proposal class.  We made sufficient progress this winter that the fall Diss Prop class will be smaller as several students will defend their proposal this summer.

The big thing to plan now is the summer trip.  Really?  Maybe.  Depending on when I get the second shot, I hope to join my family for our annual summer reunion.  We are converging on my mom's place for heaps of steak sandwiches and pretzels.  The trick is not getting into the US but getting home.  Maybe things will changed for those who have been vaxxed, but I doubt that the Canadian government will move that fast.  So, it will likely require a covid test in Philly before I return, uploading info to an app, getting tested at the border, pledging to live by myself in the non-Mrs. Spew-occupied parts of the house and having her do all of the shopping for two weeks, and heaps of monitoring.  Oh my.  And, yeah, it will just be me as Bob is too old to be left in a kennel and catsitting in a pandemic is difficult.  

The plan until then is to just bike and treadmill and bake (perhaps less) and be alert to the ever-changing policies in Ontario.  The incompetent murder clowns here still seem to think that outside stuff can be bad, and they are confused about how to get people their second doses.  We will probably get AZ next month, but if the tests show that mixing works, then I will get whatever I can.  I am tempted to get a third short while in Philly since access in the US now is easy.  While the Canadians can be smug about reaching the US level of first shots, we still live in a far more uncertain world as the shots are not widely available or easily accessible.  The provincial rollout has been a mess and has produced very inequitable results.  The aggregate numbers look pretty good, but underneath that is a mess.  

Q time is strange--2020 seemed to take forever, but it is already May 2021.  We are pretty close in North America to getting to a new normal.  I know that the events of the fall will be strange, but I am hoping the winter (full of ski trips with friends and relatives) will be full of relief and even, dare I say it, joy.  

Be well!



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