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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How will Joe Biden deal with the foreign policy ‘hinge’?

by Rashmee

Posted on December 3, 2020


Henry Kissinger called America’s indecision between its values and its interests the “hinge”. Rightly so. Opinion has swung this way and that. America’s foreign policy “hinge” has always been a testy issue and four years of Donald Trump haven’t settled the matter. Not with Mr Trump’s America Firstism rejected in last month’s election. Joe Biden … Continue reading “How will Joe Biden deal with the foreign policy ‘hinge’?”

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A truly paperless office would have no physical documents and very few virtual ones

by Rashmee

Posted on December 2, 2020


The pandemic may have taken some of the business of working online but not necessarily all of the more mundane processes of paperwork and filing. In fact, if you think about it, the pandemic hasn’t really changed the documentation usually required by organisations. Offices around the world have long relied on physical documentation – even … Continue reading “A truly paperless office would have no physical documents and very few virtual ones”

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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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The ‘e’ word in Biden’s cabinet isn’t elite so much as experienced

by Rashmee

Posted on November 30, 2020


Someone recently wrote about how “elite” has become an insult when applied to politics. It’s true. Populist nationalists have magicked the term “political elite” into a hideously entitled bunch of very well-networked people with old school ties or at least tiaras from the same sort of high school prom. Or something equivalent to that in … Continue reading “The ‘e’ word in Biden’s cabinet isn’t elite so much as experienced”

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A Koch and bull story?

by Rashmee

Posted on November 29, 2020


A couple of weeks ago, America’s 15th-wealthiest man pledged to henceforth work to heal and unify. It was a big deal that this was said a couple of weeks after the US general election and that it came from Charles Koch. Mr Koch, 85, is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, America’s second largest private … Continue reading “A Koch and bull story?”

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A counterlife without the pandemic? Try the fictional take

by Rashmee

Posted on November 28, 2020


In Emily St John Mandel’s ‘The Glass Hotel’, a young female protagonist, Vincent Smith, imagines multiple counterfactual histories, including one in which the swine flu “hadn’t been swiftly contained.” The omniscient narrator then notes: “She [Vincent] could only play this game for so long before she was overcome by a kind of vertigo and had … Continue reading “A counterlife without the pandemic? Try the fictional take”

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The silence was blissful…until Trump spoke on Thanksgiving

by Rashmee

Posted on November 27, 2020


The weekend of the November 3 US election brought the world a new and pleasurable experience, despite the pandemic: the sound of silence from the Trump White House. Donald Trump, decisively defeated by Joe Biden (who swung Georgia and reclaimed the mid-West and Pennsylvania), was out of sight – of the nation and the world. … Continue reading “The silence was blissful…until Trump spoke on Thanksgiving”

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What are you thankful for? Say it in six words

by Rashmee

Posted on November 26, 2020


“For sale: baby shoes, never worn” read the handout in my short fiction creative writing MA class at the University of East Anglia. It’s a famous six-word story, often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, though it’s not entirely clear he wrote it. Whoever did was a master of flash fiction. There are many worlds in that one … Continue reading “What are you thankful for? Say it in six words”

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Will there be a great American transition?

by Rashmee

Posted on November 24, 2020


On Monday night, 20 days after US election day, Donald Trump finally acknowledged the limits of sloganeering. He finally admitted that inconvenient facts can’t be wished away as so much “fake news”. He tweeted that he was okay with the General Services Administration beginning its grudging move towards the presidential transition to Joe Biden. For, … Continue reading “Will there be a great American transition?”

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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