Carnival time across the Caribbean

by Rashmee

Posted on February 3, 2013


Carnival season is in full swing across the Caribbean Basin and Latin America – Rio’s big day is February 8, Cap-Haitien will party for three straight days, February 10 to 12, Trinidad and Tobago for two (Feb 11 and 12) and today is carnival in Jacmel, Haiti’s legendary, 300-year-old cultural capital. I am headed there … Continue reading “Carnival time across the Caribbean”

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Housekeeping lessons in Haitian Creole – Part I

by Rashmee

Posted on February 2, 2013


I wish it were possible to follow the Erma Bombeck school of housework, namely to do no more than sweep the room with a glance. Alas, dusty Port au Prince makes for much dirt – and work – in the home. So to my rather hilarious attempts at keeping house in Port au Prince alongside the … Continue reading “Housekeeping lessons in Haitian Creole – Part I”

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African pirouette, Asian pivot

by Rashmee

Posted on February 1, 2013


Along with the ‘pivot’, the ‘pirouette’. Taken together with ‘lean back’, it constitutes a remarkably energetic and physically engaged foreign policy strategy for President Obama’s America. The pirouette, a mid-17th century word that literally means ‘spinning top’, needs to claim its place in the language of the strategic shimmy. It entered the discussion a few … Continue reading “African pirouette, Asian pivot”

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Chispa or Latin wit can’t disguise conundrum of anti-US body

by Rashmee

Posted on January 31, 2013


A stiff, if substantial ‘family’ photo of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean (CELAC) states when it came to life in Caracas in December 2011. But why aren’t these people smiling a great deal more? CELAC, which is basically the Organization of American States minus the US and Canada, was meant to symbolise Latin … Continue reading “Chispa or Latin wit can’t disguise conundrum of anti-US body”

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A ‘lean back’ chair for President Obama

by Rashmee

Posted on January 30, 2013


You’ve got to hand it to foreign policy wonks. They’re able to mint new doctrines and phrases despite the decided challenges of having familiar, well-worn world issues to work with. Iraq, Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Mali, Libya. The new is but a re-run of the old. So John Arquilla, professor of defense analysis at the U.S. … Continue reading “A ‘lean back’ chair for President Obama”

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Could a pirate ever become poster boy for US government?

by Rashmee

Posted on January 29, 2013


Foreign Policy’s daily Situation Report offers a droll story that illustrates the growing respect for communications rules among those who routinely break the law.  “Piracy has plummeted off the coast of Somalia,” it reports, extrapolating from the decision of a pirate called “Big Mouth” to quit the business.  “Big Mouth” famously held a press conference … Continue reading “Could a pirate ever become poster boy for US government?”

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Aung San Suu Kyi’s iPod playlist? Not really

by Rashmee

Posted on January 27, 2013


It says something about Aung San Suu Kyi’s restraint and self-effacement that she personally picked just one of the eight musical tracks she was allowed to choose for the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Desert Island Discs’. In a sense then, this was not really a hypothetical playlist from Suu Kyi’s hypothetical iPod. (Does she have an … Continue reading “Aung San Suu Kyi’s iPod playlist? Not really”

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India, China, Bhutan: Himalayan Trio’s Strategic Shimmy

by Rashmee

Posted on January 26, 2013


A busy, mind-bender of a week for the Bhutanese King.Or is it? Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck meets India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on Monday, January 28 and Indian Army Chief Bikram Singh later that day. The only issue for discussion is China’s new desire to have diplomatic relations with its tiny neighbour. After decades … Continue reading “India, China, Bhutan: Himalayan Trio’s Strategic Shimmy”

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Drones and UN peacekeeping?

by Rashmee

Posted on January 16, 2013


The excellent Baobab offers prescient insight into the way things might change in the United Nation’s “vast and unwieldy peacekeeping  operations”. UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, it seems, has asked the Security Council to approve the use of drones over eastern Congo. International opinion, as always, is mixed with the Chinese and Russians reluctant and Rwanda … Continue reading “Drones and UN peacekeeping?”

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Why should Latvia say Hindu prayers?

by Rashmee

Posted on January 9, 2013


The strangest, most self-righteous email in a long time has to be the one about the Latvian parliament denying a request to begin the day with Hindu prayer. Why should it, one might justifiably ask? Latvia’s main religion is Christianity. But such common sense seems to be beyond “Hindu statesman” Rajan Zed. He sent the … Continue reading “Why should Latvia say Hindu prayers?”

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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