This is Patricia Lee Sharpe's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Patricia Lee Sharpe's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Patricia Lee Sharpe
Recent Activity
Courtenay, I'm not so sure that the famous and important Holmes decision applies in the Charlie case. Meanwhile, you might wish to read three previous posts in which I explored related issues:,, html
Toggle Commented 2 days ago on Je Suis Charlie at WhirledView
1 reply
Less than a month into his presidency Maithripala Sirisena seems free of the Ravana-complex, and he’s saying the right things. For instance: “What this country needs is not a [demon] king, but a real human being.” Better yet, in his first address to the nation he promised to lead the country back to a parliamentary system of governance. Nice words. And they come with promising deeds as well. Sirisena has replaced the much resented Governor of the Northern Province. Not only has he installed a career diplomat instead of a general who fought against the Tamils in the civil war, that very diplomat served on a Truth Commission in favor of investigating abuses during the last phase of the war. But these are early days. It won’t be easy to make reparations to the Tamils without alienating the Sinhalese majority. We can only hope that Mahinda Rajapaksa won’t have the last laugh. And how about China? It’s said that Sirisena plans to make some changes in that relationship. Any reduction in Chinese influence should make New Delhi happy—and Washington, too. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at WhirledView
By Patricia Lee Shape By all accounts the next edition of Charlie Hebdo is coming out on schedule. That's the best reply to those who don't understand satire or the need for the full exercise of free speech, even when... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at WhirledView
The serendipitous conjunction of U.S. and Russian foreign policy makes for a beautiful public diplomacy message: as Vladimir Putin’s Russia fights viciously to hold on to Ukraine, its uppity Cold War satellite, the U.S. under Barack Obama looks to the future, re-establishing diplomatic ties with Cuba. Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2015 at WhirledView
May it be, for all of us, a year of good health and good cheer and hopes largely achieved, hopes for ourslves and for a more harmonious world. Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2014 at WhirledView
If rhe torture was all so legal, why did it have to be done in far away places—and in secret? Why was the practice denied long beyond the time when denial was anything but laughable? The secrecy is the fatal clue that these guys weren’t proud of what they were doing. They knew it was shameful. They cowered under a flimsy legal cover—think of wet tee shirt contests—and then, in many cases, they didn’t even do it themselves. They gave the dirty work to sub-contractors. Maybe they thought that not being in the torture chamber themselves would shield them from culpability should anyone have the courage, eventually, to prosecute them for crimes against humanity. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2014 at WhirledView
In the good old days, we American public diplomats proudly told the story of our country, warts and all, because we believed—we really did!—that, warts or not, the U.S. offered a very special paradigm that was worth copying. Maybe, with the Senate’s cleansing release of the torture report, the U.S. has turned a corner. If we can begin to be honest with ourselves, openly repudiating a reprehensible past, sincerely working to eliminate deep-seated racial prejudice once and for all and severely mitigate the role of wealth in politics, we’ll regain the soft power we need to regain at least some of our former status in the world. Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2014 at WhirledView
From time to time, climate experts express concerns about social unrest and violence should food supplies begin to suffer from repeated or extended droughts caused by global warming. Globe-spanning competition for scarce agricultural resources will make the water wars of the 19th century American West look like child’s play. It’s time to stage an irreversible coup against King Coal and replace the politicians beholden to the coal industry with representatives who know that it's cool to keep the earth cool. Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2014 at WhirledView
Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage isn’t the story of a reclusive sad sack. It’s a success story. And his pilgrimage? It’s a journey to understanding. Why did so many American critics fail to see this? Partly, I think, it’s because Murakami slyly invites the derogatory interpretation. He depicts Tsukuru as thoroughly brainwashed into believing that only flamingly colorful extroversion is real personality. But mostly, I believe, the critical blindness stems from the deeply-ingrained American preference for extroverts, a phenomenon that is brilliantly examined by Susan Cain in her recent book entitled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Even in intellectual circles, evidently, there’s little appreciation for quiet accomplishment. Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2014 at WhirledView
By Patricia Lee Sharpe You gotta feel sorry for those ISIS guys. Young guys. In great physical condition. Yeah! Probably their equipment is in top working condition, by which I don’t mean the tanks and rocket launchers they captured from... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2014 at WhirledView
Well, Mr. Barkell, this puts you in company with the Islamic State, a murderous bunch who delight in waterboarding and otherwise torturing hostages before beheading them. For the ghastly details read the front page story in the 12/26/14 New York Times, which quotes the lucky ones, who were ransomed. (Note: if no country ransomed its nationals, maybe the profitable hostage-taking would stop.)
1 reply
My words may have been inexact, as I indicated by not putting them in quotes, but I and others guffawed first when we heard Palin herself referring to Russia's visibility from Alaska as grounds for her being considered a Russia expert. Tina Fey's satire worked because it cut very close to the bone.
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2014 on Does Vladimir Putin Dream of Attu? at WhirledView
1 reply
In 1995 the U.S. ratified the global Convention against Torture which the U.N. had adopted in 1984. Next month the U.S. has an opportunity to appear in Geneva and reaffirm before the entire world the executive order that Obama himself signed shortly after assuming office: the U.S. does not and will not engage in torture or cruel treatment of prisoners at home or anywhere else in the world. Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at WhirledView
Outside provocateurs more vicious than Pakistan’s India-hating military intelligence unit have announced that they are ready to disrupt the relative communal harmony that's characterized India's secular state in recent years. A branch of Al Qaeda has declared its intention to provoke the Muslims of India into terrorism and rebellion. For Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give encouragement to divisive Hindu bigots under such circumstances is playing with political fire in the most reprehensible way. Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2014 at WhirledView
Maybe the U.S. should worry less about the border with a friendly Mexico and pay more attention to Tsar Vladimir’s game in the Arctic. Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2014 at WhirledView
Should she or should she not accept Barack Obama’s invitation to join his Cabinet as Secretary of State? This was the first hard choice that Clinton confronted after she had lost the primary race. Her opponent, having gone on to win the presidency after a hotly contested primary fight, wanted her to join his team. There were alternatives. She could have retreated into stereotypical family life, she could have hung around nursing her wounds, she could have accepted any number of positions that would have kept her political viability intact—or she could accept the call of duty and help her rival succeed in the position she’d wanted for herself. Which did she choose? The latter. When the President asks for you help, she writes, you can’t turn him down. Win or lose, you have a duty to your country.Barack Obama will complete his second term, step down and spend the rest of his life as a respected former president. Hillary Clinton, her reputation enhanced by her four years in his cabinet as Secretary of State, will probably make another run for the presidency. Win or lose, she'll accept the results gracefully. Many aspects of the election process in the U.S. could use a little improvement, but the Obama/Chinton interaction is a good example of America at its best. Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2014 at WhirledView
The consequence of appeasement in Munich was a bigger war, which ultimately had to be fought. Lots of Russians were also marooned in the Baltic states. And elsewhere. Think about it. And think about this. If Ukraine gets neutered à la Finland (see the just previous WhirledView post) , who will ever trust the U.S. promises of protection (as after Ukraine gave up its stock of nuclear weapons) again? Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at WhirledView
After consistently making it difficult or impossible to funnel international aid to the besieged people of Syria, Vladimir Putin proposes to send an aid cavalcade to succor civilians in Donetsk and other areas held by his hostage-minded separatist allies. You’ve got to hand it to Vladimir Putin. He’s ingenious and very hard to predict. In this case, the best way to call his bluff is to thank him effusively, then insist on inspecting every item at the border and transferring it to international aid workers for distribution to the needy. If Putin objects, we’ll know his real intent. He wants to sneak in well-trained agents disguised as humanitarians. He wants to bolster the rebels’ firepower. Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2014 at WhirledView
We’ve already dispensed with the 9/11 defense. Constitutionally it doesn’t wash. This leaves the clueless defense. So-and-so didn’t know, poor guy. But that argument didn’t protect General Edward Shinseki, rtd., who was an amiable Secretary in charge of Veterans Affairs while veterans were dying of bureaucratic neglect. Similarly, the clueless defense isn’t good enough to protect John Brennan. Instigated by him or not, what has happened on his watch is criminal, Mr. President. Whether you like him or not, John Brennan has to go. Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2014 at WhirledView
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 Jul 18, 2014 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
1 reply
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
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