Democracy doesn’t have to be Western-style, nor the development template

by Rashmee

Posted on September 19, 2020


Veteran foreign policywallah Kishore Mahbubani once wrote a piece for The New York Times titled ‘How Strongmen Co-opted Democracy’. He should know. Mr Mahbubani was, from 2004 to 2017, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (National University of Singapore). His country knows all about strongmen. That’s not to be snarky, just … Continue reading “Democracy doesn’t have to be Western-style, nor the development template”

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Geopolitics and conscious uncoupling – up to a point

by Rashmee

Posted on September 18, 2020


‘Conscious uncoupling’ became famous – both as a term and a concept – in 2014, when actress Gywneth Paltrow and singer Chris Martin were in the throes of a divorce. But the neologism was coined much before, and not by Ms Paltrow. In fact, it was California marriage and family therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas who … Continue reading “Geopolitics and conscious uncoupling – up to a point”

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France and Italy are food and beverage superpowers

by Rashmee

Posted on September 15, 2020


There’s no question that Europe’s food and beverage superpowers are France and Italy. Half of the products on the 100-strong list of unique European products that China agreed to protect  (on Monday, September 14) come from France and Italy. The list has 200 products altogether – equal numbers from China and the European Union (EU). … Continue reading “France and Italy are food and beverage superpowers”

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Pakistan…Palestine: Sacred vs secular spaces in ummah politics

by Rashmee

Posted on August 29, 2020


  Does the “Arab street” still exist? I mean in the sense of the broad swath of Arab public opinion, passive, non-violent and emotionally attached to the idea of helping Palestinians achieve justice and self-determination. Does the politics of ummah still work? I mean in the sense of Muslim solidarity on certain core issues to … Continue reading “Pakistan…Palestine: Sacred vs secular spaces in ummah politics”

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Donald Trump’s America is trying to gaslight the world – without much success

by Rashmee

Posted on August 17, 2020


On August 14, the Trump administration’s attempt to indefinitely extend a UN arms embargo on Iran failed in fairly pitiable fashion. The resolution secured only two votes on the 15-strong UN Security Council – the US and the Dominican Republic. China and Russia voted against. Eleven UNSC members abstained. The US was revealed as isolated, … Continue reading “Donald Trump’s America is trying to gaslight the world – without much success”

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What to make of Mike Pompeo’s ‘crusade’ against China

by Rashmee

Posted on August 16, 2020


Jeffrey Sachs’ contextualisation of America’s “crusade” against China is worth reading, what with Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s secretary of state, recently touring the world to push his aggressive agenda. On August 11, Mr Pompeo took off for Europe – Prague, Pilsen, Ljubljana, Vienna and Warsaw. He finished the tour at the weekend. In the Slovenian … Continue reading “What to make of Mike Pompeo’s ‘crusade’ against China”

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Xinjiang is a bit like New Zealand. Here’s why

by Rashmee

Posted on August 13, 2020


Xinjiang is like New Zealand because it means “new territory”. No, really. Did you know that? Me neither. I didn’t know. All that reporting on Xinjiang from major Western news outlets. All the agony of concern on the part of the West. And no one said that Xinjiang’s name was a Chinese invention meant to … Continue reading “Xinjiang is a bit like New Zealand. Here’s why”

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Ai Weiwei’s ‘History of Bombs’ makes an interesting point 75 years after Hiroshima

by Rashmee

Posted on August 4, 2020


This is the right week to be considering the great wrongs done by bombs. Small bombs such as the 2-kg Cipolli grenades dropped by Italy on Turkish positions in Libya in 1911. Big bombs such as the 22,000-pound Grand Slam used by RAF Bomber Command on Dresden in WWII. And the biggest one of all … Continue reading “Ai Weiwei’s ‘History of Bombs’ makes an interesting point 75 years after Hiroshima”

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Turning the NYT’s Morning Briefing into a ‘good news’ bulletin – Part II

by Rashmee

Posted on July 29, 2020


Here’s an update on my July 24th creative experiment in positivity bias in which I turned part of the NYT’s ‘Morning Briefing’ into a good news bulletin. A reader, whose profile says they are a “startup engineer”, commented that “the doom laden news cycle isn’t a representation of reality – it has huge negative bias … Continue reading “Turning the NYT’s Morning Briefing into a ‘good news’ bulletin – Part II”

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The case for good competition

by Rashmee

Posted on July 25, 2020


Last weekend, Tony Blinken, former diplomat and current foreign policy adviser to Joe Biden, made the case for good competition. The US, he said, needs to be engaged in a revivifying competition with China. It needs to be “a race to the top, not a race to the bottom”. That race, he predicted, would be won … Continue reading “The case for good competition”

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