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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2588

‘Off-white blimps’ and West’s ‘infallibility’

By Janaka Perera

A section of Sri Lanka’s Opposition and other pundits have launched a barrage of criticism on the government over what they call its “anti-Western rhetoric” They say GOSL has antagonized the ‘democracies’ on human rights issues and by refusing entry to the likes of Bob Rae. We know how the democracies attempted to secure peace and uphold human rights by trying to pressure an elected government to negotiate with a tyrant who terrorized the country at gun-point for nearly 30 years. When that failed they tried to save his life at the last minute. These double games have clearly exposed the true nature of these self-proclaimed crusaders against terrorism.Instead of congratulating GOSL for crushing what the FBI called the world’s most dangerous terrorist movement, Western Governments continue to lambaste Sri Lanka on human rights issues. In contrast Pakistan’s Army Chief of Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani an and Begum Ashfaq Parvez Kayani hosted a dinner “to share the jubilation” with their “Sri Lankan friends on their historic victory against LTTE” at the Army House, in Islamabad, where Pakistan’s Sri Lanka High Commissioner Air Vice Marshall Jayalath Weerakkody and his wife were the chief guests.

The pontifications of some of Sri Lanka’s pro-Western foreign policy ‘experts’ recalls the experience of veteran Journalist the late Tarzie Vittachi who had displeased an ‘off-white blimp’ – an anglicized Colonel in the old Ceylon Army - by criticizing the then Governor-General over some issue. Vittachi had defended himself by saying if the GG made public statements on public policy he must expect public reaction and criticism. To this the colonel with a phony British accent had reacted angrily stressing that H.E. (His Excellency the GG) is H.M’s (Her Majesty) representative.

“The sovereign is sacrosanct. Can’t possibly do wrong. Must nevah be criticized. Nevah…” (THE BROWN SAHIB).

The off- white blimps kept a low profile during the Cold War years when Sri Lanka was able to hold her head high. Regardless of the pros and cons of communism, as long as the Soviet Bloc was in power, countries like Sri Lanka as members of the Non-Aligned Movement were able ignore Western dictates or pressure from other nations and pursue independent domestic and foreign policies. They showed the world that it is not foreign hegemony but national sovereignty that is sacrosanct. It was during this era that Sri Lanka was able to defy India and grant Pakistan’s Air Force refueling facilities at Katunayake during the 1971 Bangaladesh war.

Now that the Soviet Bloc is no more the ‘Uncle Toms’ in governments, the media and the NGOs are once again trying to manipulate the destinies of our nations. As Lt Colonel (Rtd.) Zaheerul Hassan of Pakistan says, the West’s war against terror which was launched with the objective of eliminating terrorism has now been pushed into Pakistan’s territory by design. He says, “U.S. and her watch Dog are working on the agenda of ruling the world which would never be acceptable to any nation.”

According to another retired Pakistani military officer Asif Haroon Raja the widely held perception in that country is that the US is playing a double game with its allies to make Pakistan ungovernable and thereby justify Washington’s intervention there.

Sri Lanka’s needs to be wary of even some of those Indians who expressed their strong support to Sri Lanka’s anti-LTTE military campaign. Janata Party President Dr. Subramanian Swamy who has been blasting Tiger terrorism all these years is now stressing the “need to create an autonomous Tamil state” in Sri Lanka when it is none of his business.. Saying that India should not allow Sri Lanka to set up military bases in Kachchativu Dr. Swamy, is reportedly planning to get U.S. officials in charge of South Asia to put pressure on Sri Lanka.

Dr. Swamy’s comments clearly reveals why a section of the Tamil National Alliance keeps on appealing to India to dictate terms to Sri Lanka on rehabilitation and development work in the island’s North and East. The TNA Quislings even want Delhi to prevent Sri Lanka from establishing new military bases and cantonments in the two provinces.

The TNA should better remind itself that establishing such military bases in any part of the island or even on Kachchativu islet is Sri Lanka’s sovereign right and no outside power has the moral right to stop it. The US has military bases in Japan, South Korea, Cuba and Europe. But Sri Lanka is expected to relinquish her right to set up military bases on her own territory. She has not exceeded the limits of her boundaries like those hypocrites who are trying to teach others human rights.

In the context China’s expanding role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a very welcome sign. The SCO was founded in the backdrop of countering western influence in the energy-rich Central Asia. The organization has granted Sri Lanka and Belarus the status of a dialogue partner. Here Sri Lanka can learn from Pakistan which recently proposed that SCO develop special mechanism for that country in areas of energy, security and economic cooperation to pave way for the country to link up with energy-rich Central Asia. Political analysts believe that Pakistan took full benefit of its participation at the SCO summit in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg as an observer for the first time by asserting its involvement in key SCO sectors aimed at strengthening its economy. Pakistan possesses the strategic depth geographically, that offers transit-route between Central Asian and South Asian countries.

If countries like Iran and Turkmenistan join the SCO over half the population of Eurasia from the Baltic to the pacific will be part of a loose political, economic and military alliance, changing Asia’s political landscape to counter Western maneuverings.

- Asian Tribune -

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