By Kumar David –
My preferred title was “China has got us by the b@(($” but I could not have got away with it; CT Editor, an upright gentleman of tee-totalling disposition, has put in place a Comments Policy unsuited to hooligans like this one! What I wished to say was that we have become so beholden to China that Beijing can treat us like indentured serfs without fear of our fidelity drifting. It is not that the Nandasena Executive, with concurrence of Mahendra, Cabinet and SLPP and without dissent from Sajith, is in the process of selling Lanka to China. No, the transaction has been completed and the deed of sale sealed and signed! This is the actuality after the Geneva meeting at which China took another new-style colony under its wing after Pol Pot’s Cambodia and Burma’s military dictators, the latter murdered another 130 protesters on Saturday.
Foreign Minister Dinesh made an ass of himself in Geneva and now asserts that the resolution adopted by the Council is illegal; his Ministry Secretary Colombage crassly misled the country on India’s stand; an office is to be established to monitor Lanka’s future rights violations and to run rings around dim-witted Chandraprema, our Geneva envoy. Since the Presidency is secure till 2024 at least these three mutts should be fired pronto.
It will not be possible for a future Paksa or non-Paksa government to revert to an independent status for financial as well as ideological reasons. Financially it is not feasible for Lanka, sunk in debt to world and China in particular, to free itself from the bonds that Beijing holds over its head. The ideological element is not allegiance to Mao Thought; the shackle is enslavement to ultra-nationalism which prevents compliance with HRC decisions. China co-steered SL into an alley from which domestic bigotry will not let it retreat. I doubt if Beijing, aware of the post-Geneva conjuncture, manoeuvred a thick-skulled Lankan Executive into an impasse simply to enhance Lanka’s vassalage to the Middle Kingdom. Nor did it hold Sri Lanka’s hand as it mounted the scaffold because it foresaw that extremism would not permit Lanka to dismount and cooperate with HRC monitoring and accountability mechanisms since monks and ultranationalists would prohibit it. And we begged the Islamic states for scour, so now we owe them a favour too. We are caught by the scrotum on all sides.
I am not attributing a devilish plot to Machiavellian strategists in the CCP. The truth is that dumb decision-makers in Colombo, like a rotting durian fell into Beijing’s lap. (No offence to durian; it is the world’s second most delicious fruit after the Alfonso mango, both only slightly ahead of a glorious Jaffna pilapalam dripping with honey). The Gota regime is now in America’s crosshairs and a likely quarry of US foreign policy. The turn in American foreign policy is a consequence of domestic conflict – the Republicans have set out on a mission to curtail black and working class voting rights. The best example is Georgia where Trump came to grief in 2020, but the dispute is spread across 40 states where Republicans control state legislatures. Georgia enacted Jim Crow prohibitions reducing voting opportunities for blacks and the working class. Polls will close at 5pm, voting will not be allowed on Sundays and similar provisions to discourage working people. And believe it or not, unless it is struck down by the courts, it will be an offence to pass a glass of water to a person in a poll queue!
Biden’s foreign policy shift to democracy-concerns is driven by a fight against this attempt to curtail voting by blacks and urban white workers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Michigan and Wisconsin where he has support. The so-called stand-off with China has not seen big complaints by the Americans about trade, tariffs and investment protection; it has all been about human-rights, the Uyghurs of Xinjian, democracy etc. It is clear that human-rights has become the focus of Sino-American disputes with US domestic resonance and woe to anyone who flouts the HR-Council. Foreign Minister Dinesh abjectly conceded “Sri Lanka will continue to engage constructively with the UN and its agencies … in keeping with domestic priorities and policies as well as international obligations and undertakings.” Hopelessly in hoc to China; petrified of defying the UN Council under the gaze of a rights-aggressive America; exposed to the Islamic world; stuck with a stressed economy; the Gota cabal, each passing day, has less and less space to breathe.