Gumbo diplomacy vs Swagger

by Rashmee

Posted on December 1, 2020


In May 2018, US diplomacy was supposed to be all about “swagger”. That was the boast of Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s new secretary of state. (Click here, here, here and here for previous blogs about how that “swagger” went.) Thirty months later, one of America’s most seasoned diplomats, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for UN envoy, … Continue reading “Gumbo diplomacy vs Swagger”

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Guess who’s holding a national election on Nov. 3. A republic with the world’s first nuclear-free constitution

by Rashmee

Posted on October 12, 2020


So who’s holding a general election on November 3? (Hint: It’s a democratic republic.) This isn’t, dear reader, a trick question. I know you know that the US general election is on November 3. But the US doesn’t have a constitution that dreams of a world free of nuclear weapons. Obviously, we’re not talking about … Continue reading “Guess who’s holding a national election on Nov. 3. A republic with the world’s first nuclear-free constitution”

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Climate refugees is not a new term but get used to hearing it more often

by Rashmee

Posted on September 22, 2020 / The National


This is officially Climate Week and it’s brought to the world by the United Nations and New York City, on the sidelines of the ongoing, virtual 75th UN General Assembly. Unofficially, climate week now runs throughout the year in some form or other, somewhere — an extreme weather event, a call to action, or a heated argument … Continue reading “Climate refugees is not a new term but get used to hearing it more often”

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The war for Libya is not what it seems

by Rashmee

Posted on July 15, 2020 / The Focus


The war for Libya is getting hot again. The country’s eastern-based parliament has said it would “welcome” Egyptian military intervention in the civil war. The Libyan Parliament’s green light for outside meddling is supposed to be an attempt to end yet another country, Turkey, meddling in its affairs. Turkey has been supplying military hardware as … Continue reading “The war for Libya is not what it seems”

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#UN75: It’s planning the big bash for the 100th

by Rashmee

Posted on June 27, 2020 / The Focus


Exactly 75 years ago (June 26), in San Francisco, 50 countries signed the founding charter of the United Nations (UN). The local paper described the moment in lyrical terms: “In the dining rooms and hotel rooms and fireplaces of San Francisco today, the structure of our world is being formed for tomorrow”. And US president … Continue reading “#UN75: It’s planning the big bash for the 100th”

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How Suleimani’s death will affect India and Pakistan

by Rashmee

Posted on January 6, 2020 / The National


To properly consider the possible fallout of Friday’s targeted US strike on Qassem Suleimani, of Iran’s elite Quds Force, disregard the tub-thumping rhetoric from Washington and the ominous rumblings from Tehran. Listen instead for the sound of silences within disparate countries’ statements on the situation. Consider the responses offered by South Asia’s nuclear-armed neighbours, India … Continue reading “How Suleimani’s death will affect India and Pakistan”

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Has the West lost it? A ‘3M’ strategy for the Asian century

by Rashmee

Posted on December 29, 2019


To prevent the West from losing it, the West needs to adopt a 3M strategy: minimalist, multilateralist and Machiavellian. That’s according to Singapore’s veteran diplomat Kishore Mahbubani. I’ve followed Mr Mahbubani’s work and pronouncements over the years, and recently, he was particularly persuasive in conversation with Gideon Rachman, the FT’s chief foreign affairs columnist. This … Continue reading “Has the West lost it? A ‘3M’ strategy for the Asian century”

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Hong Kong, Paris and Santiago are relatively rich but restive. A development economist explains why

by Rashmee

Posted on October 30, 2019


I’m rivetted by Jeffrey Sachs’ analysis of why rich cities rebel. Paris, Hong Kong and Santiago, he recently pointed out, have been unquiet, mutinous places this year mostly because they’re burdened by “a sense of unfairness”. Quite. How and why is this the case? According to Professor Sachs, who teaches sustainable development at Columbia University, … Continue reading “Hong Kong, Paris and Santiago are relatively rich but restive. A development economist explains why”

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From trade deals to climate change, middle powers are steadying the ship even as Donald Trump is rocking it

by Rashmee

Posted on October 23, 2019 / The National


In the global jungle, is it possible for anyone but the biggest beasts to command all that is within sight — and most of what is not? Do middle powers even matter in a world in which the US is steadily undermining the international institutions it helped build and in which China is in the ascendant? The … Continue reading “From trade deals to climate change, middle powers are steadying the ship even as Donald Trump is rocking it”

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Carrots are good - but UN also needs to wield a stick to tackle climate change

by Rashmee

Posted on September 25, 2019 / The National


The United Nations’ special Climate Action Summit notched up a win even before the first speaker took the microphone and Greta Thunberg issued a passionate broadside. On the evening before, the UN announced that Gabon would become the first African country to receive international funding to preserve its forests. The 10-year commitment of $150 million … Continue reading “Carrots are good - but UN also needs to wield a stick to tackle climate change”

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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