Young though he is, Macron may suddenly feel the intimations of mortality. Here’s why

by Rashmee

Posted on December 4, 2020


  News reports on 94-year-old Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s death routinely described France’s former president as “the country’s youngest head of state when elected in 1974”. D’Estaing was 48 when he assumed the presidency. In May 2017, 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron beat d’Estaing’s record. That particular one, anyway. The jury is still out on whether Mr Macron … Continue reading “Young though he is, Macron may suddenly feel the intimations of mortality. Here’s why”

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Can the WTO hit the reset button on global trade?

by Rashmee

Posted on November 18, 2020 / The National


While the world’s eyes were fixed on the US presidential election, another consequential, if less thrilling contest was happening elsewhere, with significant ramifications for global trade. The World Trade Organisation is trying to appoint its new head, a decision that was supposed to be wrapped up in low-key style in the week of the American … Continue reading “Can the WTO hit the reset button on global trade?”

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On the world stage, men and women leaders are merely players. They have their exits and entrances

by Rashmee

Posted on November 11, 2020


Many are offering a grim roundup of the disappointment being felt by some leaders and governments because Donald Trump won’t have a second term in the White House. (Click here and here for some examples of the type of commentary I’m talking about.) To which the right response is three-pronged and as follows: First, let’s … Continue reading “On the world stage, men and women leaders are merely players. They have their exits and entrances”

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The third wave of bloodshed in France is not really about Islam but lone wolf criminality

by Rashmee

Posted on October 30, 2020


11 Mar 2004  Spain Madrid train bombings 193 killed, 2,050 injured[69] Al-Qaeda 7 Jul 2005  UK 2005 London bombings 56 killed, (inc. 4 perps.), 784 injured[70] Al-Qaeda 7–9 Jan 2015  France January 2015 Île-de-France attacks 20 killed (inc. 3 perps.), 22 injured[73] Al-Qaeda 13 Nov 2015  France November 2015 Paris attacks 138 killed (inc. 7 perps.), 413 injured[75][76] Islamic State 22 … Continue reading “The third wave of bloodshed in France is not really about Islam but lone wolf criminality”

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India, Hungary, Turkey, Trump’s America

by Rashmee

Posted on October 29, 2020


In the way of television quizzes, here’s your starter for ten: What unites India, Hungary, Turkey and the United States? They’re governed by nationalist parties, all of which are increasingly promoting a faux democracy. The BJP, Fidesz, AKP and the Republican Party are a common thread that runs through the body politic of all four … Continue reading “India, Hungary, Turkey, Trump’s America”

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Hungary to get a new university – from China. Here’s why it matters and doesn’t

by Rashmee

Posted on October 27, 2020


Axios said “this isn’t news exactly” because it’s a development from December 2019, but I think it’s probably better described as a development that’s still newsy even though 10 months old. Fudan University, from Shanghai, China, is planning to open a campus in Budapest, Hungary, by 2024. The context is worth noting. In 2018, Hungary’s prime minister … Continue reading “Hungary to get a new university – from China. Here’s why it matters and doesn’t”

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Home and away: Bengaluru or Berlin

by Rashmee

Posted on October 24, 2020


Germany will soon have a new draft law that will give employees the legal right to work from home. It will mean other major reforms in the world of work too, not least regulating home office work by limiting hours and streamlining work-related costs sustained by home-workers. If the once-fringe idea of telecommuting finds a … Continue reading “Home and away: Bengaluru or Berlin”

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‘Why would Norwegians want to come to America today, except as aid workers?’

by Rashmee

Posted on October 2, 2020


In the aftermath of the dispiriting September 29 slugfest on US television – it was neither presidential nor a debate – British journalist Simon Kuper’s lament for America is worth a careful read. Not just for what he said – “European attitudes to Americans are shifting from envy to compassion” – but his analysis of … Continue reading “‘Why would Norwegians want to come to America today, except as aid workers?’”

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In Artemisia Gentileschi, we see the female gaze

by Rashmee

Posted on September 29, 2020


Take a good long look at the painting. It’s probably one the earliest portrayals in the western world of sexual predation. And it’s painted by a woman – Artemisia Gentileschi, who was born in Rome in 1593. Artemisia’s view of the emotions experienced by Susanna, a virtuous, beautiful young woman whose story is related in … Continue reading “In Artemisia Gentileschi, we see the female gaze”

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