Lessons from the goldfinch I found lying dead in my garden

by Rashmee

Posted on June 21, 2018


  I found a dead goldfinch in my garden in Greenwich, southeast London, and felt hopelessly sad and vaguely guilty. One of its thin legs stuck out at a strange angle, suggesting it had fractured as it fell down dead. Or perhaps it fractured prior to death in some other avian-felling disaster. What chance has … Continue reading “Lessons from the goldfinch I found lying dead in my garden”

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‘The fear of nuclear warfare was the fear of death and the fear of life’

by Rashmee

Posted on June 19, 2018


  What comes to mind when you think of nuclear war? The now fantastically cordial situation between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea? Mr Trump’s self-congratulatory, puzzlingly declarative announcement that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat? Forget geopolitics for a moment. Read this extract on the fear of nuclear war … Continue reading “‘The fear of nuclear warfare was the fear of death and the fear of life’”

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Eight deserts, three years, one book: Updating Thesiger and Philby?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 18, 2018


  At the British Library recently, William Atkins explained his decision to travel eight deserts in three years and produce a weighty, beautifully written book. Was the move to the desert an age-old quest – for silence – or was it an equally well-worn instinct for flight – from heartbreak? At the British Library, Mr Atkins didn’t … Continue reading “Eight deserts, three years, one book: Updating Thesiger and Philby?”

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Please give Donald Trump his due and take him seriously

by Rashmee

Posted on June 16, 2018


  Does Donald Trump want Americans to be like North Koreans? He has said as much. “He (Kim Jong Un) speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same,” Mr Trump told Fox and Friends on Friday, June 15. Later, Mr Trump explained he had been making a … Continue reading “Please give Donald Trump his due and take him seriously”

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The French president’s China problem is more common than people think

by Rashmee

Posted on June 15, 2018


Emmanuel Macron has a China problem. But it’s got nothing to do with the country of that name. Apparently, President Macron and his wife Brigitte ordered new crockery to update the 1950s dinner service in use at the Elysee Palace. It came in at just under 60,000 dollars, no surprise considering the 1,200 plates designed … Continue reading “The French president’s China problem is more common than people think”

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Trump Doctrine is not reverse evolution but gene mutation

by Rashmee

Posted on June 14, 2018


  Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece on Donald Trump’s foreign policy doctrine is probably the most dispiriting piece I’ve read in years. It enshrines the fall to a point one can hardly imagine for America’s diplomats, decent people that I know and love and am proud to call my friends. Of course the Trumpian doctrine described to Mr … Continue reading “Trump Doctrine is not reverse evolution but gene mutation”

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Two views of Trump-Kim summit: Helped peace generally but hurt the US

by Rashmee

Posted on June 13, 2018


  Who can deny that it’s better for a US president to be exchanging gracious phrases with the North Korean leader than to be threatening (or, God forbid, launching) war? Who can deny that it diminishes America somewhat to come away from a summit with North Korea with nothing more than a Kodak moment and … Continue reading “Two views of Trump-Kim summit: Helped peace generally but hurt the US”

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A European Monetary Fund? Europe’s answer to Trump’s tormenting?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 11, 2018


The German Chancellor is thinking of a European Monetary Fund (EMF), ie “greater independence within Europe from the International Monetary Fund.” This is not a boring exercise in economic blue-skies thinking. And this is not a knee-jerk response to Donald Trump’s extraordinary behaviour at the G6+1 summit in Canada when the US president treated allies … Continue reading “A European Monetary Fund? Europe’s answer to Trump’s tormenting?”

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It’s not the West versus the Rest any more

by Rashmee

Posted on June 9, 2018


In mid-April, former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt made a remarkable diagnosis of the global body politic: The West is facing a crisis of confidence but it has to recover its spirits and its moral compass. Those weren’t Mr Bildt’s words exactly, but that was his meaning. He is spot on, except that I’m not … Continue reading “It’s not the West versus the Rest any more”

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Trump, faux shaman for a doubly forgotten people?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 8, 2018


From The New York Times, a fascinating bit of reportage on Donald Trump: “Former aides to the president, speaking privately because they did not want to embarrass him, said paranoia predisposed him to believe in nefarious, hidden forces driving events”. It made me think of mythmaking in ancient times, the origins stories in various cultures and … Continue reading “Trump, faux shaman for a doubly forgotten people?”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, UK and US