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Patricia Lee Sharpe
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Thanks, Mark. We don't know enough about this fascinating part of the world, not its past, not its equally interesting modern incarnation.
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Even as Uzbeks were recognizing the passing of Islam Karimov, they were also in the midst of proudly celebrating 25 years of independence. That’s a quarter of a century of freedom from Russia. If Vladimir Putin thinks he can treat these proud people as little more than neo-serfs, existing mainly to enhance his own position on the world stage, he is sadly mistaken. Uzbeks come across as proudly aware of their ancient history and its profound intellectual contributions to world culture, especially in astronomy and mathematics. Although China is promoting economic projects related to its efforts to revive trade along the old Silk Roads, it’s unlikely that modern Uzbekistan will submit any more willingly to Chinese dictation. Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2016 at WhirledView
Music lovers don’t confine themselves to solo performances or to symphonic programs. They appreciate both. They attend both. Similarly the conduct of a nation’s foreign affairs depends on the ability of its leadership to explore all avenues, working alone or in concert, as appropriate, opening doors and minds to the prospect of a better safer world for all, thus making walls unnecessary. Unfortunately, as this election season has worn on, week after painful week, there has been little room for serious discussion. We can only hope that the upcoming face-to-face debates will be a little more substantive. Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2016 at WhirledView
Melania Trump is a professional model with years of experience at elegantly strutting her stuff in the fabled capitals of couture—and before that she was carefully groomed and coached to become a beauty contest winner. Her performance in Cleveland was equally programmed and polished , another Trump “reality” show, a wow in its way, which is to say, designed to be a source of entertainment, not enlightenment. Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2016 at WhirledView
Paradoxically, it’s clear that the Sanders candidacy has succeeded in accomplishing much of Bernie’s original mission. It has pushed the democratic party to left, an orientation that many Clinton supporters celebrate. It’s not yet too late for Bernie Sanders to accept defeat and be hailed as an important leader in an ongoing crusade against an arrogant Wall Street. And even if his disappointed supporters won’t ever see a President Sanders, they might ponder this: Hilary Clinton may be more hawkish that Bernie Sanders, but you can trust her with the nuclear football. That alone should predispose them not to sit out the general election. And yes, now that the primaries are over, it’s an appropriate time to consider changes in party rules. More important, I suggest, would be a strong push for comprehensive voting rights legislation to ensure that every American has equal access to the polls, during the primaries and during the general election. Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2016 at WhirledView
So here’s the good news from Sunday May 15th: Women have a solid toehold on the professional world and they aren’t giving it up. Ethnicity is of indifferent importance when it comes to personal happiness. A wildly variegated freedom of religion thrives. But there’s bad news, too. It’s conveyed by omission. Blacks, Latinos and Muslims aren’t making it. Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2016 at WhirledView
Official representatives of all Muslim majority countries would be taboo—and I suppose their embassies would have to be closed, too. That’s Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Maldives, for starters. I hardly need to mention Iran, but we’d also have to sever communications with the entire Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That would seriously complicate the matter of trying to buffer Israel from its Muslim neighbors, including the Palestinians. It gets worse..... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2016 at WhirledView
Tashi, Thanks for all the background information. Arunachal Pradesh was in my territory when I was working for U.S.I.S. and then for the U.S. Consulate in Kolkata fifteen years ago. I made a point of visiting Arunachal Pradesh, with an emphasis on Tawang, for several days. My contacts were with the heads of monasteries, educators and NGO workers. The Buddhist leaders were unambiguous about their preference for India, especially in light of Buddhism's fate in greater Tibet. My other contacts were equally content re rule from Delhi rather than Beijing. Were there an internationally supervised election today, I have no doubt about which way the choice would go. Although I never asked this, however, I wouldn't be surprised if people chose to be part of an independent Tibet, an alternative they are not likely ever to be presented with.
Toggle Commented Apr 11, 2016 on Red Flags over Lhasa at WhirledView
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In short, instead of aping the take-no-prisoners approach to leadership transition that makes such a mess of so many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, instead of tearing America apart by increasingly militant polarization, we should be out there, busily selling our own miracle potion for stable evolutionary change—and selling it by example, I suggest. A little more emphasis on we the people might be a good start. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2016 at WhirledView
Will we [in opposing racism, sexism and ageism] focus on chewing out the people who insult us or can we join hands to build a better society? The former is almost irresistible, of course, but the latter is the best way to win. Instead of dwelling on personal pain, here are the big undone things we can achieve only by supporting one another in the effort. Truly equal voting rights. Equal pay for equal work. Shame-free security in old age. All good for everyone of us. Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2016 at WhirledView
I am not running down the military. What I am saying is that military men (and women) are specialists, highly trained for one important purpose: to wage war when all else has failed, to be prepared to do so should that happen and to do so only when in possession of orders from the civilian leaders whom U.S. citizens have elected. Naturally, they must be accorded warm public appreciation when the job is well done. Those who have died must be buried with full honors. Those who are wounded or otherwise harmed must receive first rate rehabilitation administered in a timely, ungrudging fashion. While in uniform, service men and women should be protected from loan sharks, and when they need help in transitioning back into civilian society they should not be shunted into for-profit diploma mills that prepare them for nothing at tax payers’ expense. Perhaps a truly thankful bipartisan Congress could do something about ending such entrepreneurial exploitation. Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2016 at WhirledView
Although the vainglorious war President Mahinda Rajapaksa has since failed to win reelection and his successor is, reputedly, a more moderate member of the same party, the process of rapprochement between the Singhalese Buddhist majority and the Tamil minority (to say nothing of the also victimized Christians and Muslims) remains far from complete. When the wounds of the savage American Civil War are not fully healed, how could anyone expect the mood of the island to be cheery and forgiving? Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2016 at WhirledView
Would this simple system guarantee that no person of ill intent would ever manage to enter the country legally? No. Neither will iris scans, unless every person in the world is scanned and every police record is fed into the system and everyone managing the system is pure-as-the-driven-snow honest. You get the picture. A police state—and police states tend to be run by sadists, not saints. Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2016 at WhirledView
By Patricia Lee Sharpe The Slapdash Cook makes plenty of mistakes in the kitchen, but there’s almost always a recovery route. And speaking of recovery, the Slapdash Cook hates waste. She should have been in Paris with the big boys... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2016 at WhirledView
By Patricia Lee Sharpe India and Pakistan: imagine Siamese twins surgically separated into a pair of sovereign states with all the appropriate organs in (more or less) functioning order. And yet, decade after decade, reactionary religious leaders continue to fret... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2015 at WhirledView
Only honest responsible government (not externally imposed) in Arab countries will deprive ISIS of nourishment. Until then, the U.S. can win battles, with drones, with proxies, with whatever else comes to hand, but the Middle East will remain in turmoil. And terrorism in the U.S. will continue to be largely locally grown, a product of our own gun-happy culture. Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2015 at WhirledView
By Patricia Lee Sharpe The Greek island of Kos can’t accommodate all the refugees who land on its shores. Nor can Greece alone deal with all those who turn up on its sea-washed territories. Though incessantly berated for hard-heartedness, Europe,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2015 at WhirledView
Now really, is it possible that Mullah Omar died in Pakistan’s largest city, only a few hours drive from Quetta, in Pakistan’s Baluchistan, where, it’s been suspected but never officially acknowledged, Afghanistan’s deposed Taliban rulers have been living in exile for lo! this past ten years or so, without the I.S.I. having the least hint of his demise there? Or of his initial disappearance from Quetta. Two years ago! This, too, is incredible. And knowing or strongly suspecting either, wouldn’t a trustworthy Pakistan have immediately informed the U.S., which has been hunting high and low for Mullah Omar? Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2015 at WhirledView
Maybe, as we renegotiate our relations with Iran, we should also be asking why Saudi Arabia is not working to create a more peaceful world instead of stirring up sectarian animosity. Perhaps this relationship, too, needs to be renegotiated. A little more distance would seem to be in order. Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2015 at WhirledView
"Tangerines" is set in that tiny “nation” on the shores of the Black Sea, one of the ethnic enclaves that Vladimir Putin pried loose from Georgia just as he is now subverting as much of Ukraine as he can, en route to restoring, it it kills him, the imperial reach of the Soviet Union. It took a mini war to do detach Abkhazia from Georgia. Tangerines illustrates the divide-and-conquer tactics and the human cost of making ex-satellites pay for the temerity of refusing close association with Russia once they had a choice of allies. So "Tangerines" is a very political film, but it is more important than that. It is a very powerful anti-war film. Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2015 at WhirledView
What credible aspirational dream (or better yet—reality) can the U.S. match against the dream of an invigorated Caliphate? Is there room, today, for everyone to be meaningfully, comfortably included in that American dream? Lacking inspiring answers to these questions, there is no way the U.S. can compete with ISIS. Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2015 at WhirledView
If the U.S. is going to deliver lethal force, the task of identifying those who will die should not be delegated to those who do not necessarily share our values or objectives. Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2015 at WhirledView
Why do I write as if I believe that the version of the events surrounding the death of Osama Bin Laden as put forth by Hersh is indeed true and reliable? For one thing, Hersh is a distinguished journalist and stubborn researcher. He isn’t going to tarnish a stellar reputation by publishing trash. Secondly, the London Review is not a tabloid surviving on scandal. It will have checked Hersh’s account very carefully before (gleefully, no doubt) publishing it. Thirdly, the official version of the Bin Laden assassination never did hold water, as I wrote when it first happened. At the time, I doubted the claim that the Pakistani military could have been unaware of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbotabad. I also thought it highly peculiar that the U.S. helicopters could have reached their target without being detected by Pakistani elements. Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2015 at WhirledView
If the U.S. eventually signs a hard-negotiated agreement with Iran and the rest of the P5, it will probably stick, even if the Democrats lose the presidential race in 2016 and Bibi Netanyahu howls, in which case the latter should internalize this: no American likes to be pushed around by anybody. Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2015 at WhirledView
Hindi, to hundreds of millions of Indians is a foreign language. If it became the sole national language, non-Hindi speakers and their children would be severely disadvantaged in seeking out-of-state jobs and education. However, so long as all ambitious Indians must be able to handle English effectively, the playing ground is level for the entire population. It may be a tough hurdle, it may be an odd hurdle that has its roots in the colonial past, but it’s the same hurdle for everyone. Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2015 at WhirledView