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Patricia Lee Sharpe
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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 3 days ago 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
1 reply
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
The U.S. embassy is threatening to borrow a leaf from its protocols in Beijing: measure the pollution and release the results, daily, to anyone who wants to see them. Not surprisingly, the government of India is responding as angrily to this idea as China did. However, it may be that the well-publicized American data helped to nudge China toward a more healthful policy on air pollution. Hopefully the same may happen in Delhi. Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2015 at WhirledView
At this point Narendra Modi still has wiggle room. He still has a choice. He can concentrate on the economy or he can nourish his right wing following by giving the Hindu revivalists free rein. So far India has been lucky. Indian Muslims have been fairly impervious to the blandishments of violent salafist Islam, but reasonable people can be pushed only so far, and religious war in India would make the blood-drenched unrest in the Middle East seem like foreplay. The good news is that India is indeed a democracy. Modi will be voted out if he can’t deliver the economic goods. Let’s hope that too much damage isn’t done before that happens—before he succeeds in creating a more vibrant economy, before the Hindu right does irreparable harm. Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2015 at WhirledView
The taxi driver anecdote gets too much ridicule....Here's the unexpected reward of my latest cabbie encounter: the microcosmic family history of the bearded and turbaned Sikh who drove me to Lodi Gardens, one of my favorite sites in Delhi. Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at WhirledView
Bill, I have to confess that I started paying attention to Cuba while I was serving in the Dominican Republic, finding it so fascinating I've tried to stay informed even as I worked principally in Asia and Africa. However, I've been watching the atrophy of PD tradecraft over the years since 1999, and (with Pat K.) felt this was a good time to show how it's done, if taken seriously. Our feeling was that the pattern can be applied anywhere, with appropriate attention paid to context of course. I'd be happy to be in touch with Wayne, whom I'll contact via the email address you suggested. As for contact with me, since I don't want to put my personal email in this text, you can reach me by using the Whirledview "contact us" address and then I can reply personally. The same goes for Pat K. Anyhow, thanks for the kindly reinforcing words; putting the piece together took a good amount of time.
1 reply
The U.S. and Cuba have been negotiating the terms for normalizing relations. This means it’s not too early to think of what an appropriate American public diplomacy strategy might look like....Realistic expectations, consummate professional skills and imagination—these are three strong, solid pillars upon which a powerful public diplomacy strategy may be built as the U.S. and Cuba reconnect. Above all, at this point in history, it makes more sense to look toward the future than to dwell on the past. Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at WhirledView