Mr Biden is right that America is back. For how long is the question

by Rashmee

Posted on June 15, 2021


/ POLITICS & AMERICA The good news is that Joe Biden began his first trip abroad as US president trailed by the upbeat findings of a new Pew Research Center global survey. Much of the rich world, the survey found, seems to believe Mr Biden when he repeats ad nauseum that “America is back”. In the … Continue reading “Mr Biden is right that America is back. For how long is the question”

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A Mars experiment to save our Earth-bound political systems?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 6, 2021


/ TRAVELS IN MY MIND I was very taken with an assignment recently set by a Yale political science professor for her students and the results it elicited. Hélène Landemore asked students to write a constitution for Mars. They promptly sketched out an egalitarian framework for participative and listening politics. The Martian system imagined by … Continue reading “A Mars experiment to save our Earth-bound political systems?”

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Myanmar’s democracy was always a bit of an aspiration. Now, we don’t have even that

by Rashmee

Posted on February 13, 2021


/FAITH, HOPE… A fortnight after the military coup in Myanmar, the dismal truth is how little hope there is for a return to normal order. That’s because the normal order for Myanmar would be a managed democracy or at least, a quasi-democracy. And that doesn’t seem to have pleased anyone. Not the country’s powerful army, … Continue reading “Myanmar’s democracy was always a bit of an aspiration. Now, we don’t have even that”

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Shine a light. It’s the only way to keep real democracy alive

by Rashmee

Posted on February 3, 2021


  / TAKE UP ONE IDEA It was in February 2017 that the Washington Post introduced the following slogan on its website and then in print: “Democracy dies in darkness”. Everyone thought the new tagline was aimed at Donald Trump who was inaugurated as America’s 45th president the previous month. “But that’s not the case,” … Continue reading “Shine a light. It’s the only way to keep real democracy alive”

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What would you say if you saw this US president’s behaviour in another country?

by Rashmee

Posted on November 14, 2020


The New York Times’s David Leonhardt put it most succinctly of all. Quoting political scientist Brendan Nyhan, he laid out the best way to consider events underway in the United States: what would you say if you saw it in another country? Okay, so let’s have a go at that, today, one week after Pennsylvania … Continue reading “What would you say if you saw this US president’s behaviour in another country?”

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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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Democracy’s defence lies in the hands of those who practice it. We, the people.

by Rashmee

Posted on September 25, 2020


It’s a familiar dirge. Democracy is in decline. With every month that passes, the world is less democratic. Everywhere you look, there are undemocratic governments. That’s what journalists and op-ed writers constantly insist and TV talking heads assert. I have written about this many times over. (Click here for my November 2018 piece, in the … Continue reading “Democracy’s defence lies in the hands of those who practice it. We, the people.”

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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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Wisconsin and South Korea – a tale of two elections

by Rashmee

Posted on April 17, 2020 / The Focus


April began with a textbook example of how not to hold an election and progressed to a well-run national poll during a pandemic. There’s a big gap between Wisconsin, which voted on 7 April, and South Korea, which conducted the first big election of the coronavirus era eight days later. It’s about tech-savvy governance and … Continue reading “Wisconsin and South Korea – a tale of two elections”

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To be great, India and the US have to be good – part II

by Rashmee

Posted on March 7, 2020


  I’m returning to a subject that has long preoccupied me. Both India, country of my birth, and the US, my adoptive country, must be good to be great. It is not enough to remind the world that India produced Mahatma Gandhi and that the US has exemplified rule of law and the separation of … Continue reading “To be great, India and the US have to be good – part II”

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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