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Geopolitics

Her Son Joined ISIS And Never Came Back

An estimated 4,500 Westerners have joined ISIS so far — leaving behind devastated parents who never saw the signs of radicalization. Here's one story from Canada.

Christianne Boudreau and her son Damian Clairmont
Christianne Boudreau and her son Damian Clairmont
Alexandra Bradford

CALGARY — Christianne Boudreau was standing in her garage, braving the cold Calgary night to finish her cigarette, when the phone rang. She didn't recognize the number on the caller I.D. Thinking it could be her 22-year-old son Damian Clairmont calling from Syria, she quickly answered. But the voice on the other end of the line was not Damian's — it was a reporter. "He asked me for a current picture of Damian," Boudreau says. "I told him he should just use the one Damian has as his profile picture on Facebook. But the reporter sighed and said, ‘Never mind, that's the same picture ISIS has just used in your son's eulogy.'" Then he hung up.

That was how Boudreau learned her son was dead.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

To "Not Humiliate" Putin Is The Real Danger

French President Emmanuel Macron is making a point of keeping an open dialogue with Putin, hoping to avoid a world war at all costs. But he needs to get his historical comparisons (and world wars) in order.

A poster in protest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. French President Emmanuel Macron has previously called for the need to not humiliate Putin, but some are calling it the wrong move.

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — “I know Putin well. We should not be hoping for him to leave: whoever is likely to succeed him will be much worse.”

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This is what former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said to me in 2017, while we were in New York. He was trying to moderate my growing hostility towards the Kremlin’s leader. In fact, in the same sentence, he wanted to also reassure me about the United States President Donald Trump, who had just come into the room: “He may be unpredictable, but he is not an ideologue.”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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