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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‘Global’ Britain is no longer among the world’s top 10 diplomatic powers

by Rashmee

Posted on November 27, 2019


The UK is no longer among the top 10 diplomatic powers. And that’s just in terms of diplomatic network, never mind global reach. According to the latest edition of the Lowy Institute think-tank’s global diplomacy index, the UK is 11th of 61 countries. It was ninth in 2016, the first outing of the index that … Continue reading “‘Global’ Britain is no longer among the world’s top 10 diplomatic powers”

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Amid preparations for Nato’s 70th anniversary summit, no one seems sure about where Europe should be heading

by Rashmee

Posted on November 26, 2019 / The National


Tomorrow, European officials will vote to confirm the new European Commission. If all goes well, the executive arm of the European bloc will begin its five-year term by the end of the week, just a few days before Nato’s 70th anniversary summit in London. The sequence of events throws into relief three key policy challenges … Continue reading “Amid preparations for Nato’s 70th anniversary summit, no one seems sure about where Europe should be heading”

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Should data analysis help determine foreign policy decisions?

by Rashmee

Posted on November 5, 2019 / The National


In 1998, Madeline Albright, then president Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, described the United States as “the indispensable nation”. In 2019, Russia is said to be becoming an indispensable nation, particularly in the Middle East. And last week, a new Atlantic Council report titled Global Risks 2035 defined a “new bipolarity” — the result, it said, of … Continue reading “Should data analysis help determine foreign policy decisions?”

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Can a middle power like Canada ever presume to sustain the world order?

by Rashmee

Posted on October 16, 2019


“We’re fading…we lost our UN Security Council seat,” the Canadian diplomat said. He looked mournful. We were talking in the early part of this decade and Canada  had recently (2010) lost its bid for a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.  (For the record, Ottawa lost out to Lisbon and Berlin.) Fast forward to 2019 and … Continue reading “Can a middle power like Canada ever presume to sustain the world order?”

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Trump-Pompeo foreign policy ‘swagger’ is a year old & all about spin

by Rashmee

Posted on May 3, 2019


Friday, April 26 marked a year since Mike Pompeo promised to restore the State Department’s “swagger.” It was an odd word then and it remains an odd word now. The US State Department may be many things but swaggering is not the term that comes to mind. Despite the Trump administration, America’s diplomats carry weight … Continue reading “Trump-Pompeo foreign policy ‘swagger’ is a year old & all about spin”

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Nikki Haley is gone. Long live the Trump doctrine

by Rashmee

Posted on October 14, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


What does it matter that Nikki Haley stays or leaves her job as US ambassador to the United Nations? So long as Donald Trump is president, American foreign policy consists solely of what he thinks. Period. With or without Haley at the United Nations, the Trump administration would have done the following: pulled out of … Continue reading “Nikki Haley is gone. Long live the Trump doctrine”

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Trump Doctrine is not reverse evolution but gene mutation

by Rashmee

Posted on June 14, 2018


  Jeffrey Goldberg’s piece on Donald Trump’s foreign policy doctrine is probably the most dispiriting piece I’ve read in years. It enshrines the fall to a point one can hardly imagine for America’s diplomats, decent people that I know and love and am proud to call my friends. Of course the Trumpian doctrine described to Mr … Continue reading “Trump Doctrine is not reverse evolution but gene mutation”

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Could capricious American unilateralism leave the US out in the cold?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 15, 2018 / The National


Those who wait with baited breath for a stinging European response to America’s withdrawal from the multi-lateral Iran nuclear deal should prepare to be marginally disappointed. The response may come but it will be subtle. Europe is not likely to launch high-velocity verbal volleys. But that does not mean it will meekly submit to capricious … Continue reading “Could capricious American unilateralism leave the US out in the cold?”

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Fashion diplomacy and the perils of overzealous style statements

by Rashmee

Posted on February 27, 2018 / The National


Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has been mocked at home and abroad for his cosplay take on diplomacy during a recent tour of India, which illustrates the perils of overzealous political style statements that seek to outrun political reality. For a whole week, the entire Trudeau family was photographed in a range of colourful, luxurious, … Continue reading “Fashion diplomacy and the perils of overzealous style statements”

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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