What we’re watching: Dec 5 to 11, 2016

January 20, 2017

♦ The fall-out from the Dec 4 referendum in Italy in which Italians voted 60% to 40% against constitutional changes. On paper, the changes were about reducing the co-equal role of the Senate relative to the Chamber of Deputies by transforming the Senate into a smaller body of regional councillors and mayors with Deputies having the final say over legislation. The government of Matteo Renzi saw the changes as a way of streamlining Italy’s cumbersome political system and making it easier to pass economic reforms. Opponents considered it an effort to concentrate power in the executive branch. There is a populist gale blowing through the democracies.
♦ This week, the UK government pleads its case before the Supreme Court appealing last month’s High Court ruling that the Brexit referendum in June needs approval from Parliament.
♦ Instead of narrowing, the list of potential choices for US Secretary of State appears to have grown. Clearly the early frontrunners haven’t inspired (Giuliani, Romney, Petraeus, Corker). New candidates include California Congressman Dan Rohrabacher (maybe teamed with John Bolton), Exxon Mobile boss Rex Tillerson, Jon Huntsman of Utah (a Romney consolation candidate?), Senator Joe Manchin, and Admiral Jim Stavridis. Also to note: VP-elect Pence met recently with former Secretary of State Condi Rice.

The mission of the Vimy Report is to inject new information that will raise the quality of public discussion on security and defence issues, to do so with impact, and thereby to educate and influence the ultimate decision-makers: citizens and their elected representatives.

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