G20, Blinken and how US Exceptionalism is running out of time

The big story of the week is the G20 Summit in New Delhi and what it reveals about the new force fields of the multipolar world. With the UN General Assembly meeting next week, the world is walking from the wrecked starship of US diplomacy, the USS Exceptionalism.

the real world today

The G20 Falls to Earth in India

What does the G20 Summit (9-10 September, New Delhi) portend for the reassembly of the world’s institutions of power, diplomatic dialogue and cultural exchange. India has invested enormous effort into its leadership of the G20 this year. How well India has accomplished its vision for its G20 Presidency?

the real world today

Landmarks of a changing world: 2023 BRICS Summit and India on the Moon

No doubt the big story of the multipolar world this week was the BRICS summit in Johannesburg. It even managed to feature the Indian space mission landing on the moon Narendra Modi was gracious enough to declare this an achievement of the plural world.

history, literature

Statecraft and the Indian tradition of democracy

The story of Arthshastra is similarly fit for the Burning Archive. It was composed some time between the 2rd century BC and 3rd century CE. It was known to be influential until the 12th century, but then was lost or went underground, perhaps due to the Persian, Mughal or Muslim rule over India. It was known of, but considered lost by colonial era scholars. Then in in 1905 a Tamil Brahmin from Tanjore walked into the newly  opened Mysore Oriental Library with a copy of the Arthashastra in Sanskrit, written on palm leaves.

Flowers of the Mind

Flowers of the Mind 25

This debate from a major show in India gives a good insight into how the USA has alienated Indian elites. It is one event in an rushing cascade of intellectual revolt against the Anglo-American world, against the Netflix stream of American thinking about the world, diplomacy, democracy, economics etc. The world is saying: America, look at me, I am the captain now.


Return of a King

Image credit: Elizabeth Butler, Remnants of an Army  (1879) Tate Gallery I have finished reading William Dalrymple's mesmerising and tragical history of the first Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42), Return of a King: the battle for Afghanistan. It tells the story of the British invasion of Afghanistan, or, as it was known by its local rulers then,… Continue reading Return of a King