By Izeth Hussain –
At the moment of writing I have not had access to the full text of the US Draft Resolution on Sri Lanka that has been presented at the UNHRC Meeting in Geneva. But the most important fact about it is known: there will be no meaningful action of any sort at the present stage, and there will be such action only after the lapse of another year if Sri Lanka fails to show that there has been progress in taking credible action on internal investigations into war crimes etc. In the meanwhile there will be no international investigations into war crimes and no sanctions, both of which were being confidently anticipated. We don’t of course know what might happen by the time of the final vote on the Resolution. But it does seem that what threatened to be a dazzling Western pyrotechnic display at the expense of Sri Lanka has turned out to be a damp squib – not pathos for Sri Lanka but bathos for the US and the West.
What went wrong for the latter? Probably nothing. We are probably witnessing the unfolding of a game plan worked out between the US and India in 2011, as I argued in my article The Ban Ki-moon Conspiracy.(Island of May 2, 2011). Everything falls into place, in my view, if were recognize the fact that the outcome in Geneva depends not on the US, not on the Eu, not on the international community, but on India as I argued in my article Dawn on the Ethnic Front? In the Island of February 17. I quote from that article: “The present expectation is that the UNHRC vote will go against us I believe that the best way of countering that possibility would be to get India to act on our behalf, not necessarily openly but effectively. There are several reasons why India could have very special clout with the Western bloc. It is a regional power and an emerging great power, for which reason the Western bloc would very probably be prepared to recognize that Sri Lanka is India’s turf.
“I have in mind two other reasons as well. As I have been arguing in earlier articles the Sri Lankan Tamil ethnic problem is really an Indo-Sri Lankan ethnic problem because Delhi can never ignore the fall-out in Tamil Nadu of what happens to the SL Tamils. India is therefore an integral part of the SL Tamil ethnic problem, not just an ancillary factor. The Western bloc would therefore probably recognize that India should have a legitimate say in any action to be taken against Sri Lanka in connection with the SL Tamils. My other reason why India could have very special clout with the Western bloc is my theory propounded in 2011 that the Us and India were engaged in a benign conspiracy to make Sri Lanka move towards a political solution and ethnic reconciliation by using the threat of war crimes investigations as an instrument of pressure. My guess, for all these reasons, is that the US – which will be the prime mover behind any anti-Sri Lankan Resolution – will go along with India if the latter adopts firm positions against war crimes allegations and sanctions”.
A clarification is due at this point. The interests of India and the US in regard to Sri Lanka are not identical. For the US the fate of the Sri Lankan Tamils is of no great moment whereas for India it could be of vital importance, vital in the sense that under certain contingencies it could even threaten the very unity of India. We do not know what dark forces might not be unleashed by the coming to power of the neo-Fascist BJP. On the other hand, the issue of war crimes investigations probably matters little or nothing to India, except as an instrument of pressure. It could matter much more for the US as it could serve the purposes of American imperialism – I will explain this point later.
The reason why India would not be enthusiastic about war crimes investigations, or rather would be against them – perhaps accepting them only if they are of a token order – is that they would be incompatible with moving meaningfully towards a political solution of the ethnic problem and ethnic reconciliation. Our Government has in recent weeks taken to emphasizing this argument and giving it central importance. However this argument can be taken seriously only if the Government is really serious about moving towards a political solution and ethnic reconciliation. But for almost five years it has given the contrary impression: it sees no need for any special action towards a political solution or ethnic reconciliation because all that will follow if the Tamils accept the gifts of the benign Rajapakse Government which embodies the will of the majority.
There might apparently be a case for arguing that war crimes investigations will not be really divisive if the actions of both sides – the Government forces and the LTTE – are investigated, and the investigations are not limited to the final phase of the war. There will be impartiality if there is no invidious focusing on the actions of the Government forces alone. May be, but it is impossible to believe that the whole process of investigations involving allegations and counter-allegations and detailed enquiries stretching over years will not further polarize and envenom our ethnic relations,, making impossible the spirit of mutual accommodation required for ethnic harmony. The dead cannot be resurrected and our primary obligation is to the living. This means that accountability has to follow at some stage after the process of ethnic reconciliation takes hold.
The Congress Government is practically certain of losing the next elections, and it would not want to leave office with the record of having been a party to the creation of an insuperable problem for Sri Lanka. The ethnic problem has to be sorted by the next Indian Government on the basis of a quadripartite agreement or understanding involving the SL Government, the SL Tamils, the Indian Government, and Tamil Nadu. That will probably become inevitable unless the present SL Government changes course and becomes fully democratic, which could lead to a political solution. For these reasons it seems very probable that the Indian Government would want to see that war crimes investigations are postponed.
There is a new factor that could make the US give much weight to what India wants. I refer to Ukraine, the most momentous development in international relations since 2000, which will come to be seen retrospectively as a landmark, a landmark in the US imperialist strategy of containing Russia. I am influenced to think along these lines by my experience of Russia from 1995 to 1998. At that time Russia was in a state of collapse but it was apparent that it would, sooner rather than later, get a grip on itself and re-establish itself as a power that the rest of the world has to reckon with. That is happening under Putin. The American Empire has been in decline since the 1970s and is most certainly doomed. But Russia can establish itself as the centre of a Eurasian configuration, not an imperialist centre, but some sort of centre exercising influence in an important segment of the world. Kissinger and Brzezinski, both of whom influenced American foreign policy even after they left office, saw all that very clearly and advocated a policy of containment of Russia. That policy has consisted of expanding NATO right up to the borders of Russia and the prizing away from Russian control and influence of some countries on the Russian periphery. That is how we have to make sense of ongoing developments in Ukraine.
But what has all that got to do with India? I used to think that the special, very special Indo-Soviet relations were a product of the Cold War and had disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union. During my spell in Moscow I found that that was far from being the case. The prestige and influence of India in Russia was really on a grand scale, partly a result of the fact that over many decades India sent many of its ablest diplomats to Moscow. The point I am getting to is that the US will give much to loosen or break the Indo-Russian special relationship. That means, I think, that if India wants the US to forget about international investigations into war crimes in Sri Lanka, the US will probably do so.
the lesser evil / March 8, 2014
well then the status quo will remain
the problems unsolved and the mencace will continue
‘America is doomed’ is too simplistic.
India (and America) will certainly be interested in replacing the Chinese pimp (and our battcha boys) in their own back yard.
Pleasing their biggest state; Tamil Nadu, gives the Congress a fighting chance.
Also, the BJP could behave similar to Putin’s Russia.
This writer is highly over-rated.
Thiru / March 9, 2014
The fight is among the puny imperialism of Sri Lanka against the Tamil nation, the regional imperialist India and the global imperialists America.
India and Sri Lanka have already attacked Tamils, now it is America’s turn to bash Tamils I suppose.
The victim is the Tamil nation.
Izeth hussain / March 10, 2014
the lesser evil – you make some disconnected remarks, with no argument at all to refute what I wrote, after which you conclude with a giant non-sequitur, “This writer is highly over-rated”.Your assessment means that some, a substantial proportion and not just an insignificant handful, rate me highly, Does that upset you? Why?
There is no personal hatred nor professional rivalry between us, as far as I know. My article is sober political analysis, not a polemical outburst which could provoke negative reactions of a personal order. So why?
I am engaged in a study of racism. So I pose the question – a question only and not a conclusion on my part – Are you an anti-Muslim racist who cannot bear the thought that a Thumbiya could be rated highly, or be taken seriously at all, as a political analyst? Is that it?
Anpu / March 8, 2014
” if India wants the US to forget about international investigations into war crimes in Sri Lanka, the US will probably do so”
US will *****definitely**** do so.
noel-jones / March 8, 2014
Izeth Hussin, Not only above reasons but now India’s main concern is about a Sikh MP in British parliament already question about Golden temple massacre. That’s also a important factor of India’s concern. The human rights violation charge may be a boomarang for India sooner or later.
And the other factor is most African countries reluctant to vote against Srilanka. Because of South Africa’s neutral position. And also Austrailia not supporting the resolution would be a major set back.
So US and India have to watered down the resolution. The bloody lies of Die-Ass-Pora and the Die-Ass-Pora funded Channel 4 no more effective. The money spent on Channel 4, HR organisations,HR Lawyers, US and British MP’s,Senators,various media organisations by Die-Ass-Pora fruitless. If Die-ASS-PORA spent that millions of dollars to build houses for their own tamil displaced people in SL, at least they could have thing to be happy. Poor Guys still dreaming about Eelam.
aratai / March 8, 2014
So, are you saying that the bad guys who killed VP’s 10 year old son will not be punished?
This poor little innocent boy was in the hands of good soldiers who treated him with biscuits. Later he was taken by some bad guys and shot in point blank.
If these bad guys are not punished, we have blood in our hands.
Abhaya / March 8, 2014
little basterd deserved to die
Fathima Fukushima / March 8, 2014
Those terrorists DESERVED IT.
Well done whoever did it.
noel-jones / March 8, 2014
Aratai, Is VP’s chubby little boy the only child killed during the conflict? And the other thing is Srilankan soldiers never wear slipper’s at the battle field. That proves VP’s boy with the tiger’s at the front bunker under the orders of VP.
And day before Yesterday we commerate two innocent school girls died at Maradana Bomb while they were at the bus stop. They were also same age of VP’s kid. Every child is a child wether it’s VP’s one or any others.
aratai / March 8, 2014
I agree, every child is a child, every innocent person is innocent.
No one has the rights to kill them.
If LTTE kill them, punish them.
If SL Army kill them, punish them.
What’s stopping from doing that?
noel-jones / March 8, 2014
Aratai, LTTE is no more, then to whom we punish. VP’s son is with tamil tigers when he was last seen alive. In the photo it is obvious that one LTTE carder’s leg clearly showing wearing rubber slipper’s. SL forces never wear rubber slipper’s while on duty.
By the way what Die-Ass-Pora should do now is engage constructive dialogue with the SL government directly to sort out the problems and give financial support to tamils[the money spending on buying people,media etc..] who suffered during last 30 years. This international pressure put forward by USA,UK and India slowly but steadily diminishing on SL. Because the Governments pointing finger at SL knows that four finger’s in their hands pointing directly towards them too. Aratai as a moderate tamil born in Colombo you can take the initiate. Though our views contradict each other’s from when we wrote to DBSJ’s column, I like your views. Because I know you are not a hard liner.
aratai / March 9, 2014
I just want Srilanka to be a true Buddhist nation, free of violence.
Let’s look at Isaipriya’s case, she was treated very well by the soldiers when she was taken into custody. She was given clothes to cover her self, no beatings, no shootings.
Later, some bad soldiers took her and killed her.
These are bad bad guys, they will kill anybody, Sinhalese or Tamils.
Safa / March 8, 2014
Situation is not that clear. Congress is unlikely to risk a wholesale wipe out in TN. Russia is still not a power that can compete with the west. Ukraine is different because of the close proximity and ethnic ties with Crimea. A similiar relationship exists between India and the North. Most probably an internatinal investigation will be called.
Don Quixote / March 8, 2014
The blood has been spilt…by both sides. No one is denying that !
It is time to let it go and start afresh, in fact that is the only way.
“Digging up bones” is only making re-conciliation more difficult and the total unreasonableness being shown by the DIE _ARSE_PORA is alienating even rational thinkers.
BullDust / March 8, 2014
How about Iranian Imperialism?. What about Saudi led Gulf Coorperation Council and their counter revolution against democratisation of the Middle East?. Americans are the only imperialists you see. May be it is time you look at the world without those glasses you are wearing!!!
Izeth Hussain / March 10, 2014
BullDust – I was writing about American imperialism. Is any one who writes about imperialism by one country expected to write about imperialism by every other country? You need glasses.
lal / March 8, 2014
It seems the few months spent in Moscow has made little difference to miniscule knowledge of International Relations of the writer.
The invasion of Hungary by Russian forces in 1956 led to promises of tough action by the US, the ‘West’ but was suddenly overshadowed by the Britih/French/Israli invasion of Suez. Hungary was forgotten and left to rot. The Americans were too concerned with oil fields in the region. India looked the other way, to appease their Russian mates. The situation is much the same today; having bungled in Ukraine adventure, the US finds itself in a corner, thrown out the Sri Lankan case to deal with the looming Ukranian embarassment.
Africans are becoming more assertive in dealing with US pressure to vote in UN lead resolutions, as they realise that these resolutions have sinister motives and they too could end up being victims soon. It would have been harder to coerce them to vote for US resolution.
Indians have backed off because they too might have a case to answer with the involvement of IPKF in the event the investigations period was extented beyond the suggested ‘last days’. India will have to answer to Tamil Nadu, which will be a murky affair. (credit goes to Lalith Weeratunga for articulating that possibility) India is in no mans’ land.
The Saudis, Kuwaitis too would have voted against US resolution. They are aware that MR govt is not behind the attacks on Muslims in Sri Lanka. To suggest that Sri Lanka is intolerant towards Muslims is ridiculous! There are hundreds more attacks in the UK, US, France, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and many of them vicious attaks, and they have restrictions on places of worship, clothing, education. Muslims in those countries live in fear of their lives. However, the west was to vote as a block against Sri Lanka citing religious intolerance, amongst other aspects.
Scraping the barrel as they did to corner Sri Lanka, and cavassing for support in the UN to corner Russia in resolutions to come proved too much for the US and their allies.
For those who thought MR wasn’t doing enough to counter the US led resolution, the latest news must come as a surprise. All he had to do was sit back and watch “the dog chasing its tail”. Now, who needs a half-baked, washed out diplomat as a foreign policy adviser?
Izeth Hussain / March 10, 2014
lal -what is the explanation for your unwarranted hatred and insults? I believe that the explanation is that you are an anti-Muslim racist.
A marked characteristic of other racist attacks on me in response to my recent articles is an inability to understand what I write. Ial refers to the few months I spent in Moscow whereas I wrote that I was in Moscow from 1995 to 1998. He reduces my three years to three months. That’s typical of the racist – an inability to understand my plain English.
Another notable characteristic of the racist is an irrationality that verges on lunacy. He writes of my “minuscule knowledge” of international relations. How does he know that my knowledge in that field is miniscule? Can he point to anything at all to justify that insult? He can’t. His racist hatred has made him lapse into an irrationality that verges on lunacy.
Why do I make the charge that he is specifically an anti-Muslim racist? He writes that there are hundreds more attacks on the Muslims in the West than in Sri Lanka, and that there are many restrictions placed on Muslims there. True there are attacks on mosques etc in the West but action is taken against the miscreants by the police. Here the attacks are carried out with an almost total impunity, with the police playing the role of passive spectators. What is more, when a group of Buddhists organized counter-demonstrations, the police promptly arrested them.The anti-Muslim hate campaign and action in SL disgusts the whole world except for Burma. It doesn’t disgust Lal. The reason is obvious.
Lan rises to a grand climax in his last sentence – “Now, who needs a half-baked, washed-out diplomat as a foreign policy adviser?”. How does the question arise? Some time ago Dayan Jayatilleke wrote that there was a reason behind the fact that I was not given any advisory position after I left Moscow. He did not give the reason. I replied that all I knew was that before I left Moscow I received a very complimentary letter from Lakshman Kadirgamar, in which he stated also that the then President CBK wanted him to convey to me that she shared the sentiments expressed by him.I made no request whatever for an advisory position. I don’t run after people.But a couple of Ministers told me that they wanted to have me as adviser, and I was told that the head of a think-tank wanted to offer me a post. But nothing came of any of that, and I wouldn’t demean myself by raising any questions. I believe that the underlying reason for my exclusion was the fierce anti-Muslim racist hatred among a segment of the Sinhalese power elite. It is that hatred that Lal displays.
Richard / March 8, 2014
Indeed all your articles have sufficient depth and breadth for the reader to understand the politics of Sri Lanka dilemma. But what about those who are in responsible positions in Sri Lanka. Do they understand what is going on around them? For them it is only necessary to create the slide and get popular spreading racism to come back to power again and again . Do they do anything for Geo-politics and do they least care for politics even in the neighborhood!!
Quaero / March 8, 2014
The writer covers a vast string of international relations with a single stroke but a wide brush. At the end he fails to establishes anything.
USSR – India relations of yesteryears has no stink any more. The problem of Afghanistan is for US to worry about. That frees Russia.
India needs US (not Russia) in that region as much as US needs India.
US – India relations concerns India more than US, but only slightly. US has a stake in the approach India takes to handle China. India knows the value of US in dealing with China. The expectations are mutual.
US resolution against SL will gain momentum only when India gets agitated by the intrusions of China to a degree threatening its ‘rule’ over the Indian sub-continent.
Time for SL at UNHRC is running out, but not at the rate Tamils wish for.
Quaero / March 8, 2014
Correction: At the end he fails to establish anything. My apology.
Sengodan. M / March 8, 2014
You talk of US imperialism. But what about Chinese imperialism, especially in Tibet and more recently in Xinjiang where the Islamic Uighurs are being oppressed, suppressed and slowly being assimilated? Do you call that socialism or communism?
kabaragoya / March 8, 2014
The dead cannot be resurrected Mr Hussein proclaims. Why punish murderers then? Let all of them go free. That is not following the sharia laws or the penal code. The man is not thinking straight. He writes nonsense. We have had a succession of mass killings in the country. First, 70,000 Sinhalese young were killed and later many thousands of Tamils were killed. They cannot be resurrected. Does it mean that next another few thousand muslims or christians can be killed and this man will say, let us forget about them. The argument is sickening. We have to build a deterrence against such behaviour. Justifications such as those given by the writer may enable him to get a few personal crumbs from the masters. But, it does not help the country.
War crimes allegations may be a means of political control. But, it is more than that in modern times. There is an objective human rights movement in the world which has ensured that Blair, Bush and Kissinger are kept in siege and under threat of punishment. It is to the good of the world that petty tyrants like Rajapakse are tried for crimes against his own people for unlike Blair and Bush who killed people in other states and are war criminals in the strict sense, Rajapakse killed his own people and are like Fujimori, Pinochet, Charles Taylor and Milosovic. There is now a trend and whatever happens at the UN Council, the cry for the punishment of the Rajapakse coterie will be maintained. He will be protected only until he has power. Power is ephemeral, particularly in Sri Lanka. We have had invincibles before: Jayawardene, Premadas, Chandrika. Mr Hussein can get benefits from Rajapakse only as long as the man is in power. So, he makes hay while he can with his carping pieces in the CT.
On the political front, we do not know what is going to happen in India. BJP, fascist or not, is most likely to form the government. It is going to take a more hard line towards its neighbours and ensure that they toe the line that Delhi draws. We have to await how Rajapakse reacts. China has its own internal problems. Xinjiang and Tibet will start burning soon, giving China a lot to think about at home. China has evolved models of devolution which it may want to strengthen. It may stop the migration of the Han Chinese to these provinces. In Xinjiang, there may be infiltration by Islamic groups which will internationalize the problem, the same way that the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka is now an Indian problem as well as an international problem. The view that the US is a spent force is wishful thinking. If the US slides, China will slide with it as China will not have a market and all its US bonds will become worthless. India will however still remain strong. There are too many imponderables. It is best for Rajapakse to make an accommodation with the Tamil people, withdraw the army from the NorthEast, and give greater devolution to the Tamils and Muslims.
Izeth Hussain / March 10, 2014
Kabaragoya – it is not my position that crime should go unpunished. There are many third world leaders who deserve public hanging. My consistent position on war crimes investigations has been this – they will make impossible the spirit of mutual accommodation that is required for a political solution and ethnic reconciliation. The investigations have to take place therefore at a stage after ethnic reconciliation takes hold. I believe that Desmond Tutu would agree with me.I hope to provide an appropriate quotation in my next article to show that
I am sorry Kabaragoya, but I have to punish you. You have shown disrespect towards me by writing the following: “Mr Hussain can get benefits from Rajapakss only as long as the man is in power. So he makes hay while he can with his carping pieces in the CT”. Can you inform the public what benefits I have got from the Rajapakses? You can’t because I have asked for nothing and received nothing.Nor do I hope to get anything at the age of 86. You are a liar, and obviously you are too low-grade to understand that someone can write for the public good disinterestedly.
kabaragoya / March 15, 2014
My apologies, Mr Hussien
Fathima Fukushima / March 8, 2014
By 2025 UK will be a Muslim majority country.
By 2025 USA will be a Latino majority country.
By 2025 France, Denmark, Germany, Canada, etc. will have at least 30% Muslims in their population.
By 2031 India’s Muslim percentage will be 25%.
By 2031 Srilanka’s Muslim percentage will be 23%.
All SECULAR countries will be destroyed by demographic genocide by 2030. Islam will rule most of Europe.
So don’t worry too much about present day problems. They will change in 11 years from now.
Only non secular countries will survive.
noel-jones / March 8, 2014
Fathima Fukushima, Your prediction may become a reality in all the other countries you mention here. But not for SL. In 2025 Sinhalese with the support of Tamils going to declare a war against muslims and after the war, muslims curtail to 3% of total population[according to 2031 Census].
kabaragoya / March 8, 2014
And Mr Hussein will say, let us forgive and forget the carnage of the Muslims and get on with it.
Shakeela / March 8, 2014
Wow the hatred for muslims;inspite of all the harrassments by you guys are we fighting;misbehaving;spittin;using foul words;raping ;slandering ;jesting and mocking;you want to get rid of ;good thought ;start acting we are waiting
Fathima Fukushima / March 8, 2014
UNHRC draft resolution is a MASSIVE DEFEAT for Tamils.
NO international, NO genocide, NO referendum, etc.
A massive massive DEFEAT for Tamils.
Tamils can go back to cracking coco-NUTS, howling, weeping and squirting again.
Mallaiyuran / March 9, 2014
This is not a defeat for Tamils. Their defeat was in 2009. India and America gave their free things to defeat the Tamils. Tamil do not go to challenge anybody after that. Sampanathan, Sumanthiran, CV- everybody talk about some kind of negotiation only. This too was a negotiation they tried to have with Western Countries. It seem they don’t want to go with Tamils. There is very little hope left to the final Draft.
After 2009 war, GOSL throw away India. India has been begging and giving more frees like railway, houses, Air Port Repair, 2009 UNHRC resolution, in Australia getting the CHOGM to GOSL, Watering the 2012,2013 resolution… Congress has been even wiped out of the TN. Even at that cost Indian government trying to please GOSL.
Later Government started the same thing with America. They all small scale things. The first one was talking back the forest land allocated to Dole. Last one was, denying Visa to Women rights ambassador. Sri Lanka did like Susan Rice becoming the state secretary. They paid to republicans and got it done. Kerry always has a soft heart to Sri Lanka.
Third one was England. Cameron challenged GOSL at CHOGM. But government did not do anything he asked.
So, when this resolution lose teeth, losers are mainly America and England.
On 29th the Kings Family will celebrate the occasion with double the fire work of the May 19 of 2009, it is then the Tamils faced their ultimate loss. First part of the fire work will be to celebrate America’s and England’s loss. Second to celebrate having fooled the Modayas one more time. I am not sure, if UNP losing anything special, as somebody would like to say, on this resolution. They did not really ask for this.
Mallaiyuran / March 9, 2014
Please Read as
“Sri Lanka did not like Susan Rice becoming the Secretary of State.
Vibhushana / March 8, 2014
Who is Badi-ud-din Mahmud? He is the Education minister of 1972 cabinet who introduced Standardisation.
The reason The Tamil problem was aggravated and radical Nazi TULF was born as a result.
Analysts point out Badi-ud-din Mahmud policy helped Moslem students as well as Sinhala students.
park / March 9, 2014
Izeth, you have not clearly stated which part of the resolution you do not agree with or do not like and the reason for it. Now I ask you the question, are you a true Muslim? If you are a true Muslim, don’t you see the attack on your mosques by Buddhist Monk Thugs, don’t you see the kidnapping of Muslims by the white van thugs, don’t you see the Muslim school going children being involved in drugs which is imported and distributed by the Politicians, don’t you see the illegal impeachment of the Chief Justice, don’t you see the armed forces doing civilian jobs when civilian unemployment is all time high? Considering all this would you clearly state which part or section of the resolution you do not agree with. Learn to be honest to your self and do as Al Kurhan has taught you. Do not sign for your next plate of rice,Ops! sorry next plate of Buriyani.
Agnos / March 9, 2014
Well, there is nothing wrong with wanting to contain Putin’s Russia, which attacked Georgia and annexed parts of Georgia and now trying to annex Crimea. It is advocated not just by Kissinger and Brzezinski, but by the entire West.
Ukraine is an interesting case. The Western and Central parts are pro-West and want to live with all freedoms and prosperity like Western Europeans. The Eastern population close to the Russian border is Russian speaking and wants to be part of Russia.
So even Kissinger is of the opinion now, as he wrote in The Washington Post, that the West should try to help both regions of Ukraine reconcile and reach a balance without causing a split of Ukraine.
Russia still depends greatly on natural gas exports to the West, and if it invades Ukraine it will face crippling sanctions. You exaggerate Russia’s power as well as the story of American decline. For many reasons, the US may let Russian annexation of Crimea go, but will take serious action, including crippling sanctions, if Russia attempts to do more.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea should teach some things to the SL regime; that a new Indian regime could one day do the same to the North-East of Sri Lanka. But the dominant strain of Tamil nationalism, though wanting federalism with police powers and guarantee of physical security, still wants to live within a united Sri Lanka; most Tamils have no desire to become part of India.
shankar / March 9, 2014
“There are several reasons why India could have very special clout with the Western bloc. It is a regional power and an emerging great power, for which reason the Western bloc would very probably be prepared to recognize that Sri Lanka is India’s turf.”
I don’t think India has any special clout with the western bloc.It is not economically powerful enough to do so.What it is at the moment is what matters,not what it could become in the future.In the future if power shifts take place then geopolitical shifts will also occur,but when looking at a present situation we should consider only current power structures in the world.
As for being a regional power india is indeed the dominant power in the south asia region.If all the other countries in south asia are put together they can’t match india’s current economic power,but the question arises whether being a regional power is sufficient to keep out global powers like the US,EU and china from muscling into South asia.I think not.Since India is still not a global power it need not be taken into consideration into the equation by the other three global powers.
What is worrying the western bloc is not india,but china.They must be worried that if they push Srilanka too hard it could be counterproductive by Srilanka being pushed by them closer into china’s orbit.Hence they keep the door open for srilanka to come back if it chooses to and therefore giving srilanka some breathing space.
It is china that has been srilanka’s savior so far,not india.The west though they pretend to listen to india,the real reason they take india’s advise to back off from srilanka is because of china.They don’t want srilanka to become a concubine of china.If not for china,the west would have stomped all over srilanka irrespective of india.
The only thin
Izeth Hussain / March 10, 2014
Shankar – thanks for your observations. India is far away from being a great power, but it is already as you recognize a regional power. For that reason the West will recognize that Sri- Lanka is “India’s turf”. India has special clout with the West for that reason. Another reason is that India, unlike any other country, has a vital interest in the SL Tamil problem. Therefore the West can be expected to defer to India’s wishes on SL’ Tamil problem. At the end of my article I also brought in Ukraine. The West would want to loosen the Indo-Russian bond.
The special clout that India can wield with the West is only in relation to the SL Tamil problem, nothing else.
shankar / March 10, 2014
but it is already as you recognize a regional power. For that reason the West will recognize that Sri- Lanka is “India’s turf”.
Izeth,then how do you explain china being a much bigger regional power of east asia it cannot call the shots in its turf in south korea,japan and taiwan as the recent events demonstrate.It must be very frustrating for china when it tries to show that it is the regional power and does a bit of bullying and the US says hands off or else—-.
The west has still not got over its colonial mentality fully and still thinks itself as the leader of the world.I don’t think they care for regional power structures as such and will intrude into regions far away from them just to show others their global reach and get the message across who is the boss.They are not going to parcel out what they consider as possible to control,to others just because they are closer than them distance wise.For that to happen it will take some more time when the west feels that they have too much on their plate and will have to let go some far off countries.If china does not precipitate a war now and is patient eventually the US will not be able to shield japan,s.korea and taiwan any more and accept they are in china’s turf.Same for india.it will have to be patient and build up and see the west grow old and weak before it can assert it self in this region and call it its turf.The culture in the west is a combative fighting spirit where nothing is give away freely without a fight and they are not going to give srilanka to india or china on a platter for nothing in return.
As for your contention of srilankan tamil problem is india’s too because of tamilnadu,that may have more validity than the regional power fact.However i don’t think that will eventually sway the west because they may woo tamilnadu also directly one day and that way start the break up of india. The indian leaders are not fools and i’am sure they don’t trust the west too much.However they will all hug and kiss on camera but it is survival of the fittest in this global jungle and if you lose the game or race you can’t blame the others for winning as long as brute force is not used but brains instead.
The enormous interest that the US is taking with resolution after resolution inspite of india showing clearly that it is not warranted,shows that washington is having some special interest in all this don’t you think?If they considered srilanka to be india’s turf why can’t they just ask india to bring in the resolution?
manisekaran / March 10, 2014
“Izeth,then how do you explain china being a much bigger regional power of east asia it cannot call the shots in its turf in south korea,japan and taiwan as the recent events demonstrate.It must be very frustrating for china when it tries to show that it is the regional power and does a bit of bullying and the US says hands off or else”
You are comparing Apples to oranges, Japan to China or South Korea to China or Taiwan to China is no match SL to India. Whatever you may be obsessed the reality is as you outlined, India’s neighbour are weaker to it, whereas China’s neighbour are relatively stronger and they too have back-up of USA. So India on account of this has special clout with west and west sees Indai’s role in resolving this problem, unfortunately Congress has betrayed w.r.t to Tamils.
shankar / March 13, 2014
“whereas China’s neighbour are relatively stronger and they too have back-up of USA’
mani,agree with you that china’s neighbours are relatively stronger.Good point.However with regard to the back up of USA,what do you say to the fact that Srilanka too has a back up,china + pakistan. Anyway whether india is 40 times more stronger than srilanka,or china is 15 times more stronger than taiwan,what does it matter,both taiwan and srilanka will lose economically much more than india and china if they clash with their powerful neighbours.Even knowing this fact does not deter taiwan from making it clear to china that taiwan is not its turf.same principle applies to s.korea and japan too,they have much more to lose economically than china in a clash.
What you seem to have overlooked is there is something called national pride and when the sovereignty is at stake people and governments bunker down and are prepared to cop it to preserve their independence and self respect.
Take the case of what has happened to your fishermen who are intruding into our territorial waters and poaching our fish.how many have been killed by the srilankan navy,beaten up,thrown overboard,nets and catch confiscated and many arrested,boats confiscated etc.Is this the actions of a country that is willing to consider itself as india’s turf?I think you should first try to save your fishermens arses from puny but gutty srilanka,before even thinking of making it your turf,don’t you think?
“So India on account of this has special clout with west”
That does not make sense to me. What has the strength of srilanka vis a vis india have got anything to do with any special clout?
what is w.r.t?
manisekaran / March 13, 2014
Shankar Dont mix up issues here. If there were 150 TN fishermen arretsed in last two months, equally 35 Srilankan fishermen too were arrested by Indian navy in Indian water. You may say it is 150 vs 35 but compare on Fishermen population basis , the ratio is same, meaning there is something acute shortge on entire Bio-diversity.And what you call those 35 SL fishermen who intruded? Saints? Also you dont the seriousness of firing fishermen at water by your navy. What will happen if India too starts firing back on your fishermen, ironically in this case both side fishermen are mostly of Tamils, this is where India is restraint unlike your sinhala navy.
coming to your question of what special clout India has with respect to (w.r.t), is logically US wants a China – containing force to defend all its relatively weaker allies viz Taiwan,Japan, S.Korea etc but at the same time it needed an relatively a stronger regional force. It sees India as comfortable ally for two reasons 1. More capitalist driven India 2.A country with relatively potential for growth.
You again living in false paradise that China will defend Srilanka, sorry you are wrong here. I had posted many examples in the past so i dont write samething. like it or not Srilanka’s only saving garce is India(Congress (I), the author is exteremly correct.
shankar / March 14, 2014
“Dont mix up issues here.”
mani,the example of fishermen was only given to show you clearly that you are so far away from having srilanka on your turf.Maybe you are the one getting mixed up with cricket turf and thinking that when you beat srilanka on your spin doctored slow turf,we are now in in your turf.Have you forgotten how many times we have thrashed you outside india,a country of 1225 million people getting thrashed by their small neighbour of 21 million.Even next week at the asia cup you are going to get a thrashing in bangladesh by us.
Remember the trashing prabha gave you and your ex primeminister.See you crawling and begging begging srilanka to implement a accord signed by him with the government of srilanka to save face in the eyes of the rest of the world which is laughing at you.Pleading with mahinda on bended knees to devolve the land and police powers as per the accord and getting a firm no as the answer.Regional power!pooh
I wonder whether you are on our turf.Memories of gajabahu comes.
“You again living in false paradise that China will defend Srilanka,”
Your mind is always working on military terms.In the 21st century big countries will try to subdue small ones economically using their much larger economies.Nobody will risk a third world war.
If one big economy like india rebuffs us then we a even bigger economy to turn to for relief.That is what i mean by having china on our side,not the military angle that you seem obsessed by.
As an example we are going to sign a free trade agreement with china.Chinese investors are pouring in too.There is a talk of having a new city here exclusively for chinese and even locals won’t be allowed to even step a foot into it.As for india even if it cold shoulders us we have nothing to lose economically because india has been only always trying to milk us like a cow,not giving any benefits,only india will lose because the trade is one way.
shankar / March 14, 2014
“Even next week at the asia cup you are going to get a thrashing in bangladesh by us.”
sorry,i made a mistake.Asia cup already given thrashing to india.next week it is the world cup T20 where another thrashing.
Izeth Hussain / March 12, 2014
Shankar – it is not an invariant law that the small neighbour of a great power or a regional power becomes the latter’s turf. All sorts of variables can enter into the equation. But in general – that is the fate of the small neighbour. In the nineteenth century the US enunciated the Monroe Doctrine: the US would not interfere in Europe, the corollary being that Europe would not interfere in Latin America. The result was that the whole of the latter became the US’s turf.
In the early sixties of the last century, the Soviet Union stationed missiles in Cuba, which almost ignited a full-scale nuclear war. The resolution was by the US withdrawing missiles from the Soviet’s neighbour, Turkey.
In the case of India there has been no hostility towards it of the sort that prevented China from establishing its sphere of influence. Other powerful countries would be willing to concede that SL is India’s turf. There is also an enormously important geographical factor. There are no immediate neighbours to the South of India apart from SL. It will be very difficult to defend SL against India.
Shankar concludes by asking a question about the special interest shown by Washington in Sri Lanka. I had precisely that in mind when I wrote in my article that war crimes investigations could serve the purposes of American imperialism, and that I would write about it later. I hope to do so in my next article.
Nettabomman / March 13, 2014
Sri Lanka is within India’s turf is a position calculated to create hatred of the Indians in the island – an effort at which men like Hussain are notorious for. In addition to the examples given by Shankar is the case of Finland that remained neutral from the Soviet Union even during the difficult days of Stalin, Khruschev and Brezhnev. They did not provide cause for the Soviet Union to consider them (Finland) a threat to Russian security or interests. I have personally known Indian High Commissioners here – who later went on to serve their country in much higher positions with great distinction. They went to lengths to insist India considers Sri Lanka as equal irrespective of their size and population. They have publicly repeated this to contradict trouble-makers and anti-Tamils like Hussain – thinly disguised as peaceniks.
Izeth Hussain / March 13, 2014
Nettobomman – I replied to the questions raised courteously by Shankar.You have not refuted one fact or argument given in my reply. Evidently you can’t because you know little or nothing about international relations.
Your drivel about Finland is comic. Practically everyone knows that the Soviet Union never allowed its full freedom to Finland in its international relations. On the other hand, India never tried to control Sri Lanka’s foreign relations. We could have the friendliest relations with both India and China at the same time while Indo-China relations were very bad.
I don’t think anyone takes your drivel seriously. Why do I deign to take notice of your drivel? Because I am trying to deepen my understanding of racism, particularly of the tendency to lunacy that goes with it.
Nettabomman / March 13, 2014
In his own interest it is good Izzeth Hussain is trying to understand the connection between racism and lunacy, inter alia. He should extend this to other areas as well because he will note as the moment he writes something many readers shout him down for his irrationalities. His usual reply is to call them racists, anti-Muslim and other names.
In this crude response to me, he assumes omniscience in international relations. He has much to learn here. One day he writes India considers
Sri Lanka in its turf and now agrees India “India never tried to control Sri Lanka’s foreign relations”??? Someone must remind this modern Socrates about the spat between Nehru and Sir John in Bandung.
“Soviet Union never allowed its full freedom to Finland in its international relations” says our expert in blissful oblivion. If Finnish diplomats read this they are likely to sue this idiot for libel and defamation. Is he aware Finland has been a member of EEC, Europen Union and the EuroZone – all on the other side of Soviet Foreign Policy. It is not for being a Soviet client-State – that Hussain implies – the Finnish President Martti Athisari was unanimously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008. Will Hussain in his new study also research why he goes to pieces when he hears a Tamil name – a man another commentator here made us aware suggested Tamils should be starved of food by GoSL to break the backbone of their resistance in the 1980-2000 period.