Tom Friedman is writing about India again. Oh dear

by Rashmee

Posted on November 30, 2017


What I’m about to say has nothing to do with my being Indian. It does have to do with my being in India in 2009, when The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman visited and wrote a piece on renewable energy and its sunshine possibilities. (There’s a link to the article in the previous sentence, … Continue reading “Tom Friedman is writing about India again. Oh dear”

Read More

Havana high for US: Why countries need poets to say what they can’t – or won’t

by Rashmee

Posted on August 15, 2015


Formulaic or not, there’s always something enormously moving when countries wheel out poets to say something that governments really can’t. The theory goes that a poem, which is Greek for “a made thing” and poetry, which is a set of techniques to put emotions into words, plumbs the unsaid, that feeling deep down inside, so far … Continue reading “Havana high for US: Why countries need poets to say what they can’t – or won’t”

Read More

Creole diplomacy: ‘We glad yu cum visit. Nuff respect and walk good’

by Rashmee

Posted on March 20, 2015


“Korea and Jamaica a frien from long long time,” says the South Korean charge to the Caribbean nation. “It a gwaan since dem independence inna 1962 and we cooperate wid each odar pon nuff things. We help we one anoder,” he goes on to say, in presumably impeccable Jamaican patois. (Click here to read the … Continue reading “Creole diplomacy: ‘We glad yu cum visit. Nuff respect and walk good’”

Read More

As he bows out, William Burns doesn’t address lessons of Herat

by Rashmee

Posted on October 26, 2014


In his wise reflections on 33 years in the diplomacy business, US Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns has spoken of the new “realities (which) pose some real challenges” for professional diplomats. He summed up some of the new realities as follows: “How can we add value in a world of instant and nearly … Continue reading “As he bows out, William Burns doesn’t address lessons of Herat”

Read More

US in Herat: Honeyed words can’t mask Afghanistan’s hard reality

by Rashmee

Posted on October 25, 2014


By now the US Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, will have moved from its plush, five-star location to a military camp and with it goes some of the good news narrative so determinedly put out in the run-up to December’s NATO-ISAF withdrawal. That Consulate was always an anomaly – a vast, marbled, relatively luxurious location that … Continue reading “US in Herat: Honeyed words can’t mask Afghanistan’s hard reality”

Read More

In Kabul, the US is building a small city sans features of an urban paradise

by Rashmee

Posted on July 19, 2014


Next month, the US State Department is scheduled to report on needs unmet by the ongoing $773-million Kabul embassy compound. Though it is about the size of a small city, it lacks some of the key attributes of an urban paradise: parking space (which the State Department will address) and big green public spaces. The … Continue reading “In Kabul, the US is building a small city sans features of an urban paradise”

Read More

The Pomegranate Peace: Afghanistan’s anar as a weapon of dissent

by Rashmee

Posted on April 26, 2014


In the second chapter of ‘The Pomegranate Peace’, a female American diplomat starts to learn about Afghanistan, the country to which she’s assigned, through its food. There’s no other way because she’s virtually ‘incarcerated’ in the US Embassy in Kabul, “penned in for our own ‘safety’ and prohibited from the simplest act of living”. (Read … Continue reading “The Pomegranate Peace: Afghanistan’s anar as a weapon of dissent”

Read More

The Pomegranate Peace: Diary of a female US diplomat who wasn’t

by Rashmee

Posted on April 25, 2014


In keeping with the predominantly Afghan theme of the month, here’s the first chapter of ‘The Pomegranate Peace’, a novel about a female American diplomat assigned to Afghanistan and virtually ‘incarcerated’ in the US Embassy in Kabul. (Read The Huffington Post review of the novel here.)  2014 It’s been a few months since I was … Continue reading “The Pomegranate Peace: Diary of a female US diplomat who wasn’t”

Read More

Abundance of caution = Many headless chickens?

by Rashmee

Posted on August 5, 2013


When does an abundance of caution become pusillanimity? When 19 US missions are closed till August 10 on account of a vague (but more-certain-than-before) threat. Senators and Congressmen have generally chimed in with their approval but it is hard not to wonder if the awful memory of Benghazi is leading many people to reason without much … Continue reading “Abundance of caution = Many headless chickens?”

Read More

How unsafe is the US really? Measure threat by level of animosity

by Rashmee

Posted on August 2, 2013


On International Quds Day, the United States issued an extraordinary global travel warning for Sunday. You have to wonder why it announced it would close 21 embassies and consulates across the Muslim world. Some say that the public notice belies its seriousness. If there were a real threat, wouldn’t they have kept quiet about it … Continue reading “How unsafe is the US really? Measure threat by level of animosity”

Read More

Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK