I’ll let Leon Panetta, the wisest of West Coasters and former secretary of defense, speak for us:
“You’ve got two bullies chiding each other with outrageous comments,” he told Politico this week. He worried that the bully in Bedminster may feel that the bully in Pyongyang is “attacking his manhood,” an age-old trigger for war. The similarities between the two of you are unavoidable: the preening, the insecurity, the pathological narcissism, the chronic lying, the bad haircuts.
.. But we sometimes can’t tell the statements between the two of you apart. Was it Kim or your magnificence who said you would turn the other’s capital city into a “sea of fire”? Or force the other’s country to suffer “fire and fury like the world has never seen?”
.. one of your top advisers, Sebastian Gorka, has been trying to sound like you, ratcheting up the my-nukes-are-bigger-than-yours brinkmanship. “We are not just the superpower,” he said. “We are now a hyperpower.” If only he were talking about a Marvel Comics character.
And it’s equally unsettling that your evangelical adviser, the Texas pastor Robert Jeffress, is now giving you cover from the Bible. “God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil,” he said, speaking for God... It will take more than “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake,” more than calling President Xi Jinping of China a good guy one day, a bad guy the next. Diplomacy is hard. But it beats the alternative.
In the most recent round of international Pisa tests, Canada was one of a handful of countries to appear in the top 10 for maths, science and reading.
.. At university level, Canada has the world’s highest proportion of working-age adults who have been through higher education – 55% compared with an average in OECD countries of 35%.
.. Canada does not even really have a national education system, it is based on autonomous provinces and it is hard to think of a bigger contrast between a city state such as Singapore and a sprawling land mass such as Canada.
.. The OECD, trying to understand Canada’s success in education, described the role of the federal government as “limited and sometimes non-existent”.
Also not widely recognised is that Canada has a high level of migrants in its school population.
More than a third of young adults in Canada are from families where both parents are from another country.
.. Another distinguishing feature is that Canada’s teachers are well paid by international standards – and entry into teaching is highly selective.
.. Rather than a country of extremes, Canada’s results show a very high average, with relatively little difference between advantaged and disadvantaged students.
.. In the most recent Pisa results for science, the variation in scores in Canada caused by socio-economic differences was 9%, compared with 20% in France and 17% in Singapore.
The equitable outcome goes a long way to explaining why Canada is doing so well in international tests. It does not have a tail of underachievement, often related to poverty.
.. Migrants coming to Canada, many from countries such as China, India and Pakistan, are often relatively well-educated and ambitious to see their children get into professional careers.
Prof Jerrim says these families have an immigrant “hunger” to succeed, and their high expectations are likely to boost school results for their children.
.. The universities are reaping the benefits of the Trump effect, with record levels of applications from overseas students seeing Canada as a North American alternative to the United States.