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Patricia Lee Sharpe
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Maybe a good clean sweep of the under-performing upper echelons at the DDC and the NIH is in order. And who better qualified to keep everyone healthy while bringing order out of chaos than the underappreciated housewife who does it every day without an MBA or PhD or MD or even a right to Social Security in her own name? Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at WhirledView
Ignoring American advice, the al Maliki government did everything it could to disenfranchise and marginalize the Sunni north, creating in Iraq what is, to all intents and purposes, a Shi’ite state. I repeat: they ignored us and now they us to bail them out! Surely we aren’t that dumb. Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2014 at WhirledView
Yes, Foreign Service officers who fall in the line of duty should also be publicly acknowledged and honored, and this, too: as in the case of soldiers who have been captured by the enemy, it should be clearly understood policy that every effort will be made to rescue kidnapped FSOs. So far as I know, the policy today is the same as it was when I was in the foreign service: if you are kidnapped and held hostage, don't expect the U.S. to offer any quid-pro-quos to get you back. Rescuing one FSO, we were told, would set a dangerous precedent. It would encourage further kidnappings. Oddly enough, most foreign service officers did their best to forget how little their lives were worth to their Commander- in-Chief and often took risks to do their jobs properly. But it rankled. Beneath the sense of loyalty there was bitterness. And why not? One foolish enlisted man, it appears, is worth five major terrorists who are probably not going to make a world tour shouting, "We love America." And an FSO would be worth...nothing.
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2014 on After thoughts on Memorial Day 2014 at WhirledView
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By Patricia Lee Sharpe Who’d have thought it? Come spring, Beijing’s inner circle is a horticulturalist’s delight. Highways and boulevards turn into bowers of expertly pruned, flowering fruit trees, apple blossom white, pink plum, the shocking deep orange of peach... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at WhirledView
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Of course, there’s life in China, the intellectual and creative sort as well as the human sort, but it seems to have retreated underground, where it’s safe from the authorities but inaccessible to short-term visitors unversed in Chinese. As a result, all the new construction in China seemed rather ghoulish to me, like fingernails growing from the digits of a corpse which belongs, not to the Chinese people, but to the all-suffocating party that rules. Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2014 at WhirledView
It’s fairly easy to ignore an honor killing in the tribal areas, but this one took place in front of innumerable witnesses right in front of a courthouse in the elegant city of Lahore. This, then, is a very important test case. Will this father be held responsible for killing his daughter in cold blood? Even if the father is charged with a crime, it will probably take years for the case to work its way through the system. Will anyone see that justice is done? Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2014 at WhirledView
Because Indians are eager for change, they held their noses and voted for Modi’s ideologically controversial party. But results are expected, and the clock is ticking. If Indian voters can throw out the Congress and the Gandhis, they can also cast Narendra Modi onto the dung heap of history. Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at WhirledView
The Fulbright program works. It is one of the best investments the U.S. ever made and this is not time to underfund it. Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2014 at WhirledView
Not really. Cities that have instituted inflation-adjusted living wage laws do not report soaring prices or de-employment. Santa Fe, New Mexico, among others, took the plunge some years ago. A belief in economic justice defeated the inevitable fear tactics, and we citizens voted to pass the referendum. As a result, in Santa Fe, the minimum wage already exceeds that which President Obama futilely proposed last year for the nation. Guess what? The sky didn’t fall in. Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2014 at WhirledView
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Although the locals have no effective control over the transformation of their ancient city and the Han immigrants get the best jobs, run the big shops and can afford the nicest new apartments, a certain veneer of local autonomy is maintained. This includes, in Xinjiang, a two language policy. Commercial signs—on shops, for instance—must use the Uighur language as well as Chinese characters. And they do, after a fashion. With few exceptions, the Chinese characters are huge enough to be read at a distance; the Arabic script of Uighur is so tiny it comes across as a long squiggle. Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2014 at WhirledView
By Patricia Lee Sharpe Putin looks like a Pink Pearl, doesn’t he? Pink torso, pink cheeks, pale pink pate gleaming through thinning hair, he acts like one, too, doing his best to rub out nearly thirty years of post Cold... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at WhirledView
Angry or simply unhappy, Indian voters are restive. Although the polls strongly favor the B.J.P., I’m not making any predictions. I’m only hoping that a heated election doesn’t get any hotter— and that a B.J.P.-headed coalition, if the votes and the subsequent horse-trading go Modi's way, will govern from the culturally and religiously tolerant political center. And do something about graft. Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at WhirledView
I’m happy to announce that the webpage for my non-WhirledView writing is (at long last) up and running. Its name is very easy to remember: www.patricialeesharpe.com. Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2014 at WhirledView
Ukraine has a problem. Its two halves don’t get along very well, but the nation-building toolkit holds many ways of decentralizing and federalizing to make everyone happy without splitting up a country. The problem for Ukraine—aside from that pesky Russian naval base at Sevastapol—is that Vladimir Putin really wants an old-style Soviet satellite, not a cooperative neighbor on equally good terms with Europe. Even if Ukrainians themselves were able to find a federalist solution to their mutual lack of trust, Russia might still apply a bear hug powerful enough to stifle any reformulated polity. And yet, the bottom line is this: for all it's ethnic, religious and linguistic tensions, India has maintained its territorial integrity because, at base, that’s what nearly all Indians want. Can one say the same of Ukraine? I don't see it, at the moment. Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2014 at WhirledView
Guy, One doesn't preclude the other---and sloppy contracting gives him an easy out.
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John, I'm as deeply concerned as you are about the extent of NSA data collection in the US. It does not make me feel secure. On the contrary, it's a threat to the open debate on which democracy depends. Hence, I'm among those who are grateful to Snowden.
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Brian, Pardon the delayed response. Yes, Merkel and many Germans have terrible memories of the Stasi, and we Americans are hoping we can rein in the NSA before life here in the US becomes intolerable. But what interested me here is that she didn't excoriate the Russians for doing the same. After all, if Moscow is listening to American phone conversations, German phones are likely to be tapped, too. Maybe she expects that stuff of Moscow but imagined that Washington might exchew, which would be odd, too.
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By Patricia Lee Sharpe Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been training his verbal artillery at the U.S. for the last couple of years. Barrage after barrage of bitter recrimination. He’s nearing the end of his second term as President of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2014 at WhirledView
Given the fact that Merkel threw a hissy fit over the very notion that friends might spy on friends, as in Americans on Germans, her so-what reaction last week to evidence that U.S. officials’ phone conversations might also be also fodder for snoops was very interesting. Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2014 at WhirledView
[At the dove-releasing conclusion of the opening ceremonies] when the music stopped and the twirling was over, the cages fell shut and all I could see were feet. In the end, only the prime ballerina was free to hold her head high, look us proudly in the eye and receive our applause. Isn’t that a little like Russia today? Putin soars. Everyone else cowers. Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2014 at WhirledView
Luck and Bucks: What happened to me on a largely benign trail can happen to any hiker of any age who doesn’t pay constant attention to where his/her feet are going—and who does? Just as unpredictable from the point of view of incurring health care costs: appendicitis, with or without complications. And auto accidents happen to the healthy as well as to the chronically ill. But say you’re one of the truly lucky ones who, for a lifetime, never gets sick and never slips on the ice and avoids every other kind of accident. So what if you’ve paid for insurance you’ve never had to use. Wouldn’t it be worse to be sick, sick, sick, and get your money’s worth? Meanwhile, your contributions have helped someone else who might otherwise have died too soon from lack of affordable treatment. Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2014 at WhirledView
If it would be disastrous for America to go to war with China and self-defeating for America to pull out of Asia entirely, there’s only one realistic policy path for America now and in the near future: to work toward a cooperative sharing of power in Asia such that all, great powers and small, will benefit. Harking back to nineteenth century European history, he calls it a Concert of Asia. Whatever it’s called cooperation would seem to be a no brainer. Except for the details, of course, where the devil resides. But sadly there’s no room for detail in Hugh White's The China Choice. Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2014 at WhirledView
Charles, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I've accumulated a supply of eye shades, and now I know what to do with the extras!
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By Patricia Lee Sharpe Sick of toting ten pounds of books whenever I traveled, I bought a Kindle a few years ago—the early model, with the keyboard and the e-ink that’s so easy to read in daylight. Unfortunately, that model’s... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2014 at WhirledView
Thanks, Christopher, for giving me a chance to clarify: When I was writing of children's schooling, I was thinking of the Indian context. I wasn't recoiling from the possibility that my children here at home might be in the same classroom as children from every conceivable home situation, which doesn't bother me at all.
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