23 October, 2017

Ethnic Problem After Trump

By Izeth Hussain

Izeth Hussain

Soon after Trump’s triumph at the US Presidential elections, speculation began in Sri Lanka that the Government’s position could become easier at the Geneva UN Human Rights Council. It has been known that the US was the main mover behind the UNHRC Resolution of 2015 that has been causing so much turmoil in Sri Lanka. Trump has been emphatic both in his election campaign and thereafter about his America first policy: he would make the NATO allies pay up for the facilities provided by the US, the US would withdraw from unnecessary foreign entanglements, and so on. The important point is that none of the vital interests of the US are involved in the Tamil ethnic problem. Therefore an easing of US pressure at the UNHRC seems quite feasible, and the Government should obviously try to avail of opportunities that might arise as a consequence. However we should not be over-sanguine about what might be achieved thereby. US pressure could ease, but that could be replaced by pressure from others.

I will now make some observations on the significance of Trump’s triumph, which could spell changes of an epochal order. It has been widely noted, and indeed accepted without demur, that his triumph is the consequence of an upsurge of populism in the US. It has also been widely noted that populism represents an important strand in American politics. I wrote earlier about Robert Pen Warren’s best novel All the King’s Men based on the populist Governor Huey Long, which led to two Hollywood films, and I wrote also about Thurber’s satirical story based on the aviator Charles Lindberg who was notoriously an admirer of the Nazis. I now find that Philip Roth, one of the best-known contemporary American novelists, published in 2004 The Plot against America in which he depicted an alternative history: Lindberg takes power in 1940, comes to terms with Hitler, and institutes an anti-Semitic program. So, populism is something that is deeply ingrained in the American political psyche. All the same, liberal democracy is far more deeply ingrained and can be expected to reassert its predominance after some time, though it will have to undergo some transformations if it is to prevail as the wave of the future in the US and elsewhere.

The other significance of Trump’s triumph is that it shows – clearly enough to my mind – the demise of American imperialism, which seems to have escaped popular notice unlike the factor of populism. Though hardly noticed, it is certainly change of an epochal order. It is that because the US has had dominant power over the globe since 1945. In fact it has been the predominant power in the world since 1919 because of its economic power. Trump’s America first policy signifies a desire for withdrawal from an excessive involvement with the affairs of the rest of the world, from imperialist over-reach, a desire for isolationism which is also an important part of American political tradition as shown by American semi-isolationism from 1919 to 1941. There are two major reasons for the demise of American imperialism. The US simply does not have the economic resources to impose its dominance on other countries on a wide scale. In 1965 the CIA started a program to engineer coups and install military dictatorships in several African countries, and the first act of the dictators after assuming power was to ask the Chinese Embassies to fold up and get out. Today the Chinese cannot be treated in that way because those African countries have to depend on Chinese investments which cannot be matched by the US. That situation is replicated in Sri Lanka where our only way of escaping pauperdom – the result of the last Government’s folly – is to change Chinese loans into equity. The Americans and the Indians can only watch. The other major reason for the demise of American imperialism is that for complex factors the peoples of the third world are more resistant to imperialism than ever before. I saw President Marcos and the fair Imelda behave like servants to the American Ambassador. Today that is unthinkable with President Duterte. I must add that as for US military power, the truth is that the Americans can destroy the world but they cannot dominate it. This single paragraph will have to suffice in this brief article to bring out the essential facts about American imperialism today. The interested reader can turn to books on that subject by Chalmers Johnson, Noam Chomsky, George Soros etc., and above all Emmanuel Todd’s 2004 classic After Empire.

What is the relevance of the two preceding paragraphs on the significance of Trump’s triumph to the subject of this article which is on the impact of that triumph on our ethnic problem? I have argued in earlier articles that our Tamil ethnic problem is not a purely indigenous problem but an Indo-Tamil one. If not for the possible fall out in Tamil Nadu of what is done to the Tamils here, Delhi will have no legitimate concern about it nor will the rest of the international community. If not for the Tamil Nadu factor, our Tamils will be just another defeated minority whose fate will not rouse international concern unless their human rights are violated on a horrendous scale. Consequently, the questioned that should be posed is this: What might be the impact of Trump’s triumph on Indo-US relations, more specifically in relation to the Tamil ethnic problem?

The crucially important point here is that there are powerful factors impelling a close Indo-US rapprochement. The populist surge in the US is part of a surge in several European countries, which should be seen in relation to the appeal of identity politics and neo-Fascism in a good part of the third world. It seems to me that the two most powerful ideological trends in the world today are liberal democracy and populism or neo-Fascism, though the latter is not properly understood nor even recognized. The two trends can co-exist in the same country, and probably do in most countries. In the US today we have a populist leader who has to function within a liberal democratic framework and that seems to be true also of India. Trump is indisputably Islamophobic and Prime Minister Modi stood accused of backing the Gujarat massacre of Muslims. There could be some measure of ideological common ground between the two leaders.

Far more important than the ideological factor however is the geopolitical one. Trump’s isolationism is really semi-isolationism because he is resolved on countering China, which for obvious reasons impels close Indo-US rapprochement. This geopolitical factor is so well known and so well understood that I will not say anything more about it here. Because of that factor there is reason to wonder whether the US will agree to ease the pressure on us at the UNHRC. Certainly Trump has deplored US insistence on the observance of human rights abroad when its own record stinks to high heaven. That could dictate an easing of the pressure at Geneva but we cannot be sure. I believe that it all depends on India, which can easily get other Western countries to lead the exercise of exerting pressure on us, if that becomes necessary.

What should we do? The Government most injudiciously went to the extent of co-sponsoring the 2015 UNHRC Resolution. The Pathfinder Foundation has made out an excellent case in the Island of February 8 for asking for a revision of the 2015 Resolution. For this purpose the country that has to be persuaded is India, far more than the US or any other. I have my ideas on the case that should be advanced by us but that will require a separate article. I will conclude this one by pointing to a recent development that should make us think. India’s Supreme Court ruled against the Dravidian practice of taming the bull on the ground that it involved cruelty to animals. That provoked huge defiant demonstrations in the Dravidian South, at some of which there were posters portraying Prabhakaran. The moral that I draw is that we should not allow the ethnic imbroglio to be protracted indefinitely.

 

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    “The other significance of Trump’s triumph is that it shows – clearly enough to my mind – the demise of American imperialism, which seems to have escaped popular notice unlike the factor of populism. Though hardly noticed, it is certainly change of an epochal order. It is that because the US has had dominant power over the globe since 1945. “

    It has been noticed ! Written about and now forgotten. Just because you were so oblivious to it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen !!!!!!!
    How many more parts of this old saga are you going to write this time?

  • 4
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    Trump Jokes:
    Donald Trump on a field trip visiting a sausage factory:

    The owner proudly explains the level of automation…..

    “You need to push the pig inside. The machine does all the work..
    Lo, you have the sausage come out”

    Trump: “I want to make America Great Again! Is it possible to push the
    sausage in, the pig comes out….?”

    Factory Owner: “Yes it is possible. Your father tried it years ago, and he
    succeeded…!”

    Exactly 71 years ago!!!!!

    (A passing thought – does a time period of 9 months in the process
    imply automation!)
    __________________

    • 0
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      Punchi
      How did you get that joke?
      I invented that in 1958.
      Joke was like this,with another joke.
      I was going in a train to Kandy with my German Sister in law,with three hours in the train,climbing Kadugannawa,I sad that we have such sharp beds on the track one could see the last carriage from where one sat.
      My humorous sister in-law(very rare for Germans)said their bend are so tight one could see ones own back.
      I had to counter it with another joke.
      I said that the Yanks had a nmechine that when you put a pig into one end of the mechine then one get bacon,sausages,tooth brushes and ham and she responded that the with a German mechine when you put the bacon,tooth brushes, sausages and ham the pig come out of the other end.
      Looks like the Yanks have got the machine working where a mad pig have come out.

  • 3
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    Trump would have hit off with Prabhakaran.
    They both have same personality.
    What a shame he was elected president 7 years too late for Tamils

    • 1
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      Rajash

      Are you in a point scoring mission to give a new twist to your unpredictable stands.

      Why are comparing Pirabakaran with Trump.

      Leave aside the failures of Prabakaran, he is a great leader. Trump is proving to be failure from the beginning. Prabakaran fought heroic battles. Trump is just opposite. He is walking on the oily road. He cannot see the end of the tunnel.

      You will enjoy the fanaticism of Trump for the next four years. Trump is the Ayatollah of the modern USA.

      Why don’t you match your darling Trump with you.

      • 0
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        Ayub Khan “..Are you in a point scoring mission ..”

        .. point scoring with whom?….I am not here to point score ..but to make thought provoking comments/criticism …to fire up people and encourage discussion..

        for example you have now admitted that Prabakaran was a great leader..

        He could have been even greater leader..

        but there is a great saying “every one rise to the level of their own limitation.”

        early days to judge Trump….he built up a multi billion business empire by giving orders and not being challenged….

        he is learning fast that running a country , not just any country, but the most powerful country in the world, is different to running a business empire….albeit in an apparent corrupt manner..

        my bet is he may not last his term and may buckle under pressure..

        let us see whether he has reached the level beyond his own limitation and failure is the only optionl

        • 1
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          Rajash

          Your banters confirms your depravity.

          More than 50% voters at the election in USA hate Trump. If USA take a vote count now, it would be 70% Rest of the world too hates him.

          You are one of the headless chickens, gloating on Trumps daily farts.

          You can ever live in aghast to ‘see whether he has reached the level beyond’. He is on his failing path and will fail. The will of the people and the world order will put him in the right place and one day he will turn to you to have some humble Payasam or even your Karuvattu (dry fish) Curry.

          Good luck to you, you common senseless mad man.

          You are beyond redemption.

  • 2
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    Trump wont be bothered about little Sri Lanka.
    UNHRC will not alter the resolution.

    Trump favours Israel. His children are married to Jews, and one is engaged to a Jew.
    Israel is said to be the leading Terrorist State.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noln8nx43Sk

  • 0
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    China might neo/soft-colonize the world with economic clout, but it will be merely a 2-way monetary interaction with little addition to the actual value of money. American created monetary value is being shared between China and other nations, for China to build up exactly like America.

    Once the other countries build up in American style (courtesy of China), capitalism will have nowhere else to go. Value of money will yet remain at a standstill for these countries. Capitalism can only survive when one is a main Capitalistic country, and others indefinitely support the system. And even with their pull-back, America is still greatly involved in a great many countries.

    If-ever China with its neo/soft-colonies attempt to bring about a new global value to its money, it will be Libya all over again. With that in mind, China will be treading very warily with the US. And Trump will be monitoring.

    If successful, the globe can come to a common census on self-sustainity within each nation, based on environmental and traditional farming methods (e.g.). It will surely be a triumph for Socialism. The Age of Aquarius had dawned.

    • 0
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      The Age of Aquarius has dawned*

  • 2
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    This person has proven his incorrigible anti-Tamil bias once again. He does not want any credible investigation into horrendous violations of human rights of Tamils. Yet he calls Mr. Donald Trump an anti-Muslim American! Tamil agitations for truth, justice and inalienable rights would continue. That cannot be stopped by the Brahmin bureaucrats of India known for their anti-Tamil hatred or any other party that would not want to lose its rights.

  • 2
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    Izeth Hussain

    RE:Ethnic Problem After Trump

    1. “Trump has been emphatic both in his election campaign and thereafter about his America first policy: he would make the NATO allies pay up for the facilities provided by the US, the US would withdraw from unnecessary foreign entanglements, and so on. “

    Thank you for a well written article on the changes resulting from the election of Trump, isolationism and liberal democracy, and its impact on Sri Lanka.

    Yes, for Sri Lanka, it means less interference from USA on it internal affairs, and looks like Sri Lanka is likely able to get away from the War Crimes, with only a slap on its risk. After all nothing much has happened over the past 7 years, besides all the talk.

    2. “The moral that I draw is that we should not allow the ethnic imbroglio to be protracted indefinitely.”

    Do you think that the Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils, and the additional Paras such as Para-Muslims, will get common sense, learn to live like Paras in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, and move on to compete in the World, compared to what they were doing over the past 68 years?

    Mahinda Rajapaksa and cronies are eager to come back to power using the Para-Sinhala Buddhists, as they think that most have IQ hovering around 79 or below, and can be fooled.

  • 1
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    Izeth: “India’s Supreme Court ruled against the Dravidian practice of taming the bull on the ground that it involved cruelty to animals. That provoked huge defiant demonstrations in the Dravidian South ……… “
    Taming of the bull (Jallikattu) is cruelty to bulls. The bulls are often forced to drink alcohol and doped to win. Considerable money changes hands and the bucket shops turnover is high. The demonstrations are financed and organized by the bet-shop mafia. One does not need rocket science to see through this but Izeth is not noted for his analytical ability.

    Same Izeth: “…………That provoked huge defiant demonstrations in the Dravidian South, at some of which there were posters portraying Prabhakaran”
    There were no such posters. Izeth brings Prabhakarn here to remind himself that he is Sinhalese Muslim. Integrity is not his forte. Izeth of course wants the Lankan language divide to last as long as possible.

  • 0
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    One day China and Japan might let us emigrate to their utopias. Meanwhile all our wannabees will just have to do with propping up the economies of the West.

  • 0
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    Uncle, you LOVE to talk with “I I I” about what you said when. But you like rest of you self appointed pundits FAILED to even consider Trump winning before the election. Only one or two people warned about the Trump phenomenon and the enthusiasm and white factor before the election happened. You have zero credibility in your so called expertize. I I I is making me nauseous and I am no longer pregnant

    Even though with caveats a few American Lankans wrote many times about not dismissing Trump. But right now, Nikki Haley is being lobbied by Tamil Tiger backers. If the stupid lavish spending lankans do not act now, it will be the same as before even though Sam Power the irish born american, Biswal the Gujju born american and Malinowski the polack born american are all no more. But American born Namrita Randhawa the Accountant from Clemson Uni which won the BCS is easily influenced by Indians and Indian Americans because she has no goddamned clue about Sri Lanka and the issues. So act now. Stop talking. do not send effeminate people to lobby the Trump administration. Send smart American educated people.

    • 0
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      VestleVirgin:

      You look like an Indian Sales women looking for business for your clients.

      • 0
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        Not you ‘look like’ , you ‘sound like ‘. Haha Jim is looking at people through telescope from Mattala international Paddy Storage. Haha. What a joke.

    • 1
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      VestleVirgin aka Mano Ratwatte,

      Do you have any real evidence that Tamil Tiger backers are lobbying Nikki Haley?

  • 0
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    Izeth:

    For one thing sure, the shadow of Tamilnadu, viz-a-viz Sri Lanka, has to be of some design that it will continue to cause hemorrhage fever to Sri Lanka. The radar of Tamilnadu on the Tamils in Sri Lanka will continue to be spot on until the Sinhalese make good their promises.

    By the way, what do you expect to tell the UNHRC to propose a change in the resolution that SL co-sponsored? That there were zero civilian casualties, the soldiers carried the human rights charter in one hand and so there could have been no possibility of any of those things that they are alleged to have committed. Or is it because the wise Muslim Izeth said so? That may be objectionable to Trump whom I hear that the word Muslim is allergic to him.

    Maithiri made a colossal mistake in writing to Trump to go easy on SL. Maithiri has become a liability and he should have known the fate of his pal Rajapakse when he went to the Tamils to fish for votes. That infamous quote “better to vote for the devil you know than the angel you don’t know”. Unless there is a dramatic u-turn (which is just like sucking ice-cream) to “get to know the Tamils better” the slate of Maithiri may be showing the reasons on why the Tamils may want to abandon him this time.

  • 0
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    Trump’s views about immigrants are the same as of Bill Clinton.

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4351026/clinton-1995-immigration-sotu

    But Americans have forgotten, and Trump is being vilified.

  • 0
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    Not another separate article. Please, Gnanasara Thero, all is forgiven. Come back and get on with your good work..

  • 2
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    Trump is likely to be impeached by the time–if not before– he completes 2 years.
    The election of Nixon, his impeachment, etc., did not signal the decline of the American empire, and neither does Trump’s election nor his isolationist rhetoric.

    Trump has already been forced to change his tune on China and Israel. His executive orders on immigration are resisted by the courts as well as civil servants. His national security adviser is under investigation by the FBI for lying about his dealings with Russia. His lady adviser, a strange character he called ‘babe,’ will also face investigation for promoting his daughter’s business while a government employee. His business conflicts of interests alone will be sufficient grounds for impeachment.

    Trump is a clown and a con artist who would say anything to get into the White House and keep himself in the news, and there will be chaos for the next 2 years; it is foolish to weave grand theories based on anything he says or does.

  • 0
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    As usual Izeth is out with his blah blah.

    Trump is business man. He may side with Sinhala Government. But there have to a trade offer from Lankawe. Many have written here the Appe Aanuduwa to rush to be the first. Will Anduwa fulfil deal if it is offered a pact? If America asks to leave China out to repeal the resolution, will Lankawe honestly do that? What happened to the promise Ranil gave in the election about the Colombo Pong Cing?

    Further, no international Country is ignorant about Lankawe’s ugly foxy games now days. Kathirgamar days are now already long behind. Every country in the world knows that Lankawe is a dirty dodger. If Lankawe promise to put China out in case if America ready repeal the resolution, America is just going to repeal the resolution and come and ask Lankawe to let go China? The pattern of the future deals are going to be is if Lankawe let go China, Then Trump may repeal the resolution. Even if Trump Administration staffs are new to Lankawe, they will like to study Lankawe’s moves before sign any pact with it.

    We all know Angela Aggeler is one of the first very few Diplomats started to study situations for Trump administration. The meaning of it is, though Lankawe matters are low profile, America still like to watch it. They want the dominance on the Lankawe matter at UNHRC. For some time, there were words in news that EU wanted to extend the March 2017 limitation, but before Acting Assistant Secretary Leave she had stated that American policy is not changed and America will move new resolution to roll back the term.

  • 0
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    Let’s say America is doing a favor by extending the term. But will Lankawe get any material benefit out of it? Is that a precursor to repeal the resolution (that is impossible – at now) or is it’s going to keep Lankawe in the boiling pot for another 18 months. Without any result on resolution, will enough Foreign Investments flow to ease the rupee’s downfall? Mangala is asking for roll back. If that is good for Lankawe, then why is CBK panicking?

    Considering Lankawe’s nasty tricky dealing, and considering Trump administration’s nature – a Black Widow, – what kind of safe deals can be made with Trump Administration? That is a million dollar Diplomatic question. Izeth has not indicated anything about it in his lengthy article.

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