16 December, 2018

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Given Imperfections Makes Nonsense Of Calls For Perfect Solutions 

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

“In politics, let us not search for absolutes.”

Cambodia

Let’s realize our blessings: Sri Lankan politics isn’t yet quite like the Cambodian. It nearly became so, when attempters were stopped in their track in the year 2015. Cambodian elections have just completed and  the country’s information minister said the ruling party won Sunday’s (29/11) election, ensuring Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has led the country for 33 years, will serve another five year-term.

Cambodia’s Opposition leader, Sam Rainsy, remains exiled in France. Speaking in Freteval, France, where he lives, Rainsy told The Associated Press that “it is a meaningless victory because [Hun Sen] won without any real challenger … prior to the election he dissolved the only credible opposition party.” Although 20 parties contested the election, the only one with the popularity and organisation to mount a credible challenge, Sam Rainsy’s Cambodian National Rescue Party, was dissolved last year by the Supreme Court.

Apparently, Hun Sen rules in style.He will virtually be CEO for life, following China’s model. Like our own Mahinda Rajapaksa, he has got a head of judiciary who will deliver the verdict that is wanted. He loves the figure ‘twenty in Opposition,’ because it tells the world what a vibrant democracy he leads!

Extreme Example

Cambodia, and even Erdogan’s Turkey where recent elections were “fought,” with  five opposition leaders contesting from jail are but extreme illustrations of how government dynamics go into action in a human society that is essentially not ready for democracy. 

It is wrong to hold the impression that societal imperfections  are devoid in the more advanced, modernised and literate societies of the West. If they were, we would not have witnessed Brexit or Donald Trump. In politics, let us not search for absolutes.

Myth of Diyasena

Only a messianic leader can turn around a country to somewhat overcome imperfections. There is a myth lying in our collective consciousness that Sri Lanka will soon get its Messiah or Diyasena. We thought it was SWRD Bandaranaike to be, but that man blew it all up and set alive much of the social pathogens that have seriously afflicted our nation since: ethnic and religious conflict, destruction of the English medium, paralysing the economy with unworkable socialism and so on.

JR Jayewardene wasn’t ever thought of as a messiah although he did achieve something substantial for the economy by bringing in the open economy. He blew up nevertheless by launching the Executive Presidency that has spelt evil to the country, attracting narcissistic leaders to don the mantle and go about displaying gold rings and charms on their fingers

Yes, that reference was to our High King, Mahinda. Not regarded as a messiah to begin with, Mahinda however, suddenly metamorphised into one after he was lucky enough to have Prabhakaran and his terrorist separatist outfit destroyed at Nandikadal during his regime. Despite the media hype that was more a coincidence that occurred as a result of a conglomeratoion of forces both internal and external. Yet, Mahinda and his powerful bro Gota managed the situation putting Machiavelli into the shade. And didn’t the whole family and their cohorts go wild after that?  

The downing of the LTTE presented a Kalinga Moment for Mahinda but the latter let the country down and unleashed a regime that survived by franchising corruption right down the line-through individul Ministers, officials, and right down to Pradeshiya Sabha bigwigs. Hun Sen is not known to have done that much. 

New Messaiahs?

People are sataiated and disgusted with the duopoly of the two big party components. Sri Lankan politics is looking to be fractured. Party loyalties are fluid. People keep looking for a messiahas again. We have some individuals trying to fit into the messiah role. Mr Rohan Pelewatte is one and Mr Nagananda Kodituwakku another. Pelawatte has somewhat lost the plot already because his association with Basil stands exposed. Will Nagananda make it? Like the man in France-Macron?

I doubt. The Sri Lanakan scenario is different from that of France. Any putative leader needs a stabel and established political base. The exception is if a divine-like bloke is able to emerge. Maybe Kumar Sangakkara? Yet, even Sanga will need a base at ground level. The possibility of his joining the UNP is there. Imran Khan took 22 years to build his base and even then he would not have made it this far if not for military support.

Our Lesson

Human societies are riddled with contradictions and imperfections. In struggling countries like Sri Lanka, such faults and fractures get compounded. We are in pretty much a muddle. With  mounting debts of over 51 billion built over the last ten years, with ethnic tensions, low per capita income and high cost of living, the pressures on policy makers are immense. Rationality and stream lining in public management is difficult. Above all the shortage of a workable majority for the major partner in government,the United National Party, had led its leader and his party men to compromise with creepy MPs of the Opposition. The common candidate experiment is barely working.

The above are only a few of the major deformities. In such a context, it seems poitnless to lecture on how better to manage this or that. In the circumstances, my own preference is to try and move even incrementally within the framework of a political terrain that is hard to negotiate.

Building on what we have achieved

The above implies a political wisdom of building on what has been already achieved. Critics of the yahapalanaya government,including the mindless media, have been unfair  about the government’s progress. The concept of yahapalanaya or good governance contains a core element and an extended element. The core substance of the goal of yahapalanaya is to install systems and practices that enthrone the operation of the law of the land above the heads of those in power and authority. The law must rule first;the governing leaders and officials next. Yahapalanaya is averse to any leader grandstanding above the law;it has no room for narcisssitic men who throw about their weight over everybody and every institution. Leaders are servers and not lords. The regime that the people dumped did represent the diametrical opposite of this practice. We had a President going about like a Russian Tsar and his brothers behaving as lesser Tsars, with sons following suit assaulting rugger coachers and violating the sacred space of the Dalada Maligawa with arrogance and unconcern to the snesitivities of the temple trustees and the Buddhist public. Eighty per cent of the naional budget was run by the President and his family. The portfolio of Finance was kept under the President himself. While Yahapalanaya is underscored by checks and balances to power, the previous regime wasn’t any concerned about checks. Accountability and transparency were thrown to the wind.

Within the last three plus years this government has succeeded in overturing that corrupt and outrageous governance system. The fact that the serious cases against many of the previous regime are still not adjudicated is itself an evidence that government meddling in the judicial process isn’t there. We no longer have a Chief Justice who, like Barkis in the Dickensian novel, is willing. The law takes its course. There have been no cases of dissenters being murdered or driven out into exile. We have had elections sans any compalints of violence and manoeuvring. Independent Commissions are at work. The promised Audit Act is through and that confirms the independence of the Auditor General who, during the previous regime had been virtually captive. The Freedom of Information Act has been passed giving any humble citizen the right to ask for infromation from a government agency. These and others are outstading triumphs of the yahapalanaya government. Nobody in his good sense can deny these.

The wider meaning of yahapalanaya

It is the wider meaning of yahapalanaya that has to be achieved. Essentially, this area of activity involves work-in-progress. Among these, the economy takes first place. Sri Lanka has to transform the structure of its economy from a debt-led one to an investment-led export economy. The Prime Minister talks often of economics and of his plans. However, the people want to see them real. The other day, he announced plans to boost the economy of the Eastern Province. He rightly emphasised the need of airconnectivity to transform the eastern region to an active tourist destination throughout the year. He has vision for such things. On the other hand, little progress on ground is observed.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    Imran Khan …make up your own mind.
    India Kinght wrote a good piece in the Sunday Times UK exposing IK

    https://www.facebook.com/CharlesDevasagayam/videos/10155482547267073/UzpfSTg3OTI3ODQzODg0NjkxMDoxODEzMTY3NDA4NzkxMzM3/

  • 3
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    Shyamon Jayasinghe: You are out of mind. Peoole can join UNP or SLFP but those who succeed should obey the OLD BOYS club’s rules.that is you should consider corruptions, bribes, commis and thefts are part of the game. Every politicians allow that.

    • 0
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      JD:
      “obey the OLD BOYS club’s rules.that is you should consider corruptions, bribes, commis and thefts are part of the game.”

      And you have no problem with SLPP led by Mr. 30% and all the day time looters of the last govt are falling over each other to get into position the loot again.

      BTW there is no SLFP the rest of the RATS will jump ship just before the election.

      After next election SLFP will be placed in fourth place.

  • 3
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    Mr . Jayasinghe
    Have you heard of “runs on the board” ? Your hero has zilch , despite almost four decades at the crease .

  • 1
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    Will continue . . .

    Kumar S. is an outstanding guy in every way – and, essentially, an honest one. With a sense of humour, may I add.
    .
    That thing I said about the word “junction”. I expected somebody to pounce on it. Even “non-English speaking Sri Lankans” know it, although the Sinhalese word, “handiya” has managed to hold its own. The point is that we all know the Sri Lankan meaning of the word. British usage is different. Like “bungalow”, which in Britain has a special usage – denoting that the large house is only single-storied. “Bangalawa” has become such a common Sinhala word word – used when wanting to say that a house is big and free-standing, most likely having two storeys – building higher than that will amount to going in to apartments. I’ve never been out of Asia myself; I know some of these things only because I’ve been teaching English – the hated “Kaduwa” of those who are doomed never to acquire it. That is one of the tragedies of our country: that a foreign language has been elevated to the status it now holds – with no possibility of teaching it to everybody. I could substantiate that last gloomy statement.
    .
    I’m a great admirer of Kumar S, with some personal knowledge of him. He could indeed lead the country, but must first have about ten years’ experience at Ministerial level. I don’t know how the various political factions are aligned, but we probably need an anti-corruption man, who is not communal-minded. That last is a sort of negative virtue, isn’t it? Nagananda Kodituwakku seems the best to me.
    .

    • 3
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 1
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      Sinhala_Man

      I don’t agree with your choice in Sangakkara. He may be a good cricketer & a gentleman (depending on how you define a gentleman) but as far as I am aware, he is just another opportunist who has done well for him self by exploiting his cricketing accolades. I doubt if he has the level of education & integrity to make him another Macron but if he does throw his hat into the political arena, he will be joining other shameless yobs like Ranthunga & Jayasuriya who have prostituted their souls for money, not content with their god given talent.

      On the other hand, I do agree with your choice of Nagananda. At least he is an experienced professional who had the guts to take on the establishment single handedly in his attempt to abolish the unfair perk of duty free vehicles & has proved he is a man with social conscience..

      • 2
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        Dear Raj,
        .
        Grusha Andrews has confirmed you right:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/carcinogenic-kumar-thanks-but-no-thanks/
        .
        It’s a well researched article. It has demolished him. On the previous page I had acknowledged that ‘although some hate him for being “upper class” ‘. Yes, that ‘s the bottom line. Himself successful, he wouldn’t be able to relate to the less fortunate.
        .
        I may even have affected somewhat the Nagananda campaign by mentioning Sangakkara campaign. So, what I’m saying Raj, is that on all scores, I think that you’re right.

  • 5
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    If I live till 2019 or 2020 when the Presidential election is held, I will seriously think of standing for election as an Independent candidate. Sri Lanka need a President who does not play politics.

    • 3
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      Good to read this resolution from another famous sportsman of yesteryear. He must be well over 90 years, and has an earned PhD.
      .
      So long ago it was, that most readers would by now have forgotten in which year you won an Asian games gold medal for the high jump.
      .
      It will be good to have you contesting, Sir; but you surely know that you cannot win. Dividing the vote may allow the Rajapaksas to come back – which no thinking person wants to hear is happening.
      .
      However, your contesting would do absolutely no harm if you ensured that every person voting for you casts a second or a third preference for the better of the two leading candidates. You will have to explicitly say so. Very few know that at the Presidential Election THREE preferences.

    • 0
      0

      Why waste your money and time.

      On another note:
      “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ek-Axlx_waI”

    • 1
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      Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam ~ “………think of standing for election as an Independent candidate…………”.

      Do not entertain such thoughts Ethir. People hold you in high esteem. Some may think that you were planted just to split votes and so may get under ten votes!.

  • 3
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
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    I think it was Napoleon who said it: It is better for a lion to lead a bunch of sheep than by a fellow sheep. Srilanka must get a foreigner a technocrat like Lord Chris Patton who made Hong Kong an everlasting success.

    • 1
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      hp:
      “It is better for a lion to lead a bunch of sheep than by a fellow sheep.”
      Based on the above and Sri Lanka’s majority mindset: Why Not Ganasara?

  • 3
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    Ranil led the only opposition in the world which openly wished the defeat of its own armed forces. The first opportunity, he initiated a mechanism to punish the soldiers. Carried out a virulent anti China propaganda in order to ensure that China will never again come the aid of Sri Lanka.

    Singed an agreement with Prabakaran without the knowledge of the siting president to handover 1/3 of the country including 2/3 of the coastal belt. Gods saved us from that.

    Ranil was an active proponent of Executive Presidency, Referendum for extention of parliament, abolition of civil rights of Sirimavo, Indo Lanka agreement, etc.,etc..

    Ranil was a powerful minister during 1982 Jaffna library, 1983 black July, 1989 Bheeshanaya which were instigated by UNP hierarchy and executed by UNP goons.

    Batalanda alegations are far more serious than fake white van alegatins against Rajapaksa.

    Holds the record for largest number of defeats in history of any demographic country in the world. Depends on political coups to grab power.

    Sums involved in Bond scam are far bigger than any other financial crime in history.

    Presently activity engaged in dismantling the unitary status and installing a federal structure. (At deep subconscious level he is anti Buddhist)

    Etc.,etc.,

    The most cunning rascal in the present political landscape. ( Anton Balasingham called him the Twentieth Century Fox)

    I will vote for Gotabaya Rajapaksa who immeasurably cotributed for elimination of terrorism and subsequent infrastructure develoment. We may have some respite before federalism sets in and the beginning of the end.

    Soma

    • 2
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      somass

      “Ranil was a powerful minister during 1982 Jaffna library”

      This is not the first time you are making this deliberate disinformation. The Library was burnt down between 31 May 1981 and 2 Jun 1981. I am unable to guess your hidden agenda for mis-stating the dates. In the past I have repeatedly pointed out your stupid game.

      Ranil apologizes for burning of Jaffna library
      2016-12-06 21:10:10
      http://www.dailymirror.lk/
      article/Ranil-apologizes-for-
      burning-of-Jaffna-library-120317.html

      Ranil had b***s on that day to own up and apologize for the crime committed by his party men during .

      When will SLFP members/leaders/hangers on apologise for what had happened through out this island caused by their stupid and deliberate action and inaction? Will SLFP apologise for deliberate and targeted mass killing in 1971 and 1994 and 2015?

      Prove to this forum you have b***s by demanding a long apology from Dr Mahinda and Dr Gota for all the human killing caused while their party is in power including 1956, 1958, 1960, 1971, 1974, ……………..

      By the way Dr Gota is demanding Tamils both domestic and diaspora support for his election in 2019. I think the Tamils including the diaspora should support his candidature, openly and financially if they don’t want him as the next president.

    • 2
      2

      Vote for Gotabaya? Get a life, Soma. Look at the facts, you are living in denial & not accepting reality. Do you want a Mugabe ruling the country?

      Mugabe, another glorified ‘freedom fighter’, was finally ousted by his own party, something he never thought would happen to him but Gota, once in power, will make sure he will rule for life & his family thereafter, unless Karma takes its course.

  • 1
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    Native Vedda,

    thank you

  • 2
    0

    What about Dr Ranil ,Messiah of the Money Bags !!!!!!
    He is no Diyasena or Datusena . He hasn’t got a Kassiappa either..
    But Dr Ranil is the undisputed Leader and is sitting on the UNP. with TNA Sampathar in his Right Pocket and the JVP Kumara in the Left Pocket…..

    How can you beat that…

    • 1
      2

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “How can you beat that…”

      Why do you want to beat that?
      Remember he is the protector of every war criminal, every cheat, every crook, …………… If he is beaten who is going to protect the war criminals and crooks from international accountability, foreign judges, money laundering, ……………. Rajapaksa clan and their b***s carriers have no one to turn to.

      Don’t rock the boat even you will be jeopardizing your own borrowed freedom.

  • 3
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 3
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
    2

    To those who criticise kumara sangakkara I say this. Knowing him so well he is a decent guy, very particular about his status. Money pours into to him from unexpected sources. Filthy rich. Actuallly one of the richest men in Lanka today. But don’t give away a red cent as charity. Did spend money in Tamilnadu for charity to boost his status in India. His wife is his main strength. Actually speaking she is better than Sanga to become the President. A charming, unassuming lady who is one of my very best friends. We wine and dine a lot.

    • 4
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      Niluka Damayanthi

      By any chance you are a close friend or relative of Yehali Sangakkara?
      Are you planning to manage her election campaign if and when she decides?

  • 2
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    Yes Native Veddah let’s promote her. PLEASE.

    • 3
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      I have seen Kumar play in my country, Australia. He is a darling! Nice to see some good product from Trinity College after producing reprobates like some of my uncles who still live over there!

      However, if you want bank robbers, you can keep the backbone-less Ranil as Shimon says.

      • 1
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        Dear Nat Winter,
        .
        It is the very terms of your commendation of Kumar S. that tend to alienate him from the majority of Sri Lankans. At one level you might say that it is an inferiority complex that makes a huge segment of Sri Lankan society hostile towards what he stands for. While being enthusiastic about him to start with, I had noted that there are those who, incredibly it seems to us, hate him.
        .
        I’m not so fickle that I change my mind every other day, but I think that Grusha Andrews has, here, performed a devastating demolition job – mostly in terms of unethical advertising. I knew all this, but had been finding excuses.
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/carcinogenic-kumar-thanks-but-no-thanks/
        .
        The article appears in Sinhalese as well:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/grusha-andrews31-july-2018/
        .
        I know these people reasonably well. Yehali Peiris was sandwiched in a class between my two daughters in school. At one level, these are eminently respectable people, but at another they are consciously exercising control over “the common man”.
        .
        Have you seen the heroic efforts of an old man pleading with us to be more humane, and working at it himself?
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/heartbeat-of-a-palmyra-grove/
        .
        The complexity that he sees as our necessary response to colonialism is to be seen here:
        .
        http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=174369
        .
        It was not for nothing that My3pala Sirisena was presented to us about 40 months ago. Unfortunately he has disappointed us.

  • 2
    1

    Shyamon mentioned “Maybe Kumar Sangakkara?” in the context of Imran Khan. This is not meant to be taken literally.
    Imran is a willing hostage of the Pakistan Armed Services. Kumar is a different cup of tea – Ceylon Tea version?

    • 1
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      Shaimon is clearly against Kumar. I am saying he is not a hostage of anyone and he is a good manager. He is clearly suitable.

      Shaimon’s problem is that he wants his master Ranil and no one else! He is dreaming only because Ranil has never won an election and he will never win one.

  • 1
    1

    Nothing special is in this essay, other than the usual UNP propaganda from Shyamon Jayasinge.

    Jayasinge cautiously left not touching Ranil’s extremely close & Secretive relationship with China. China is the only recognizable community country in the world, now. Then he gets into “two party” talks. Real situation of Lankawe is far away from Jayasinge’ s talk. When 2015 election started, there were many enthusiastic to defeat Old Royals, though many were feared of them too. That is not the case now. The 45% support they mustered in the LG is capable of bring 2/3 in the parliament for Old Royals. Any doubt can remain is only in EP election. So Ranil will not back up 20 A, hoping if UNP loose Parliament, he still can hold on to his new EP position, hoping to get in 2020. On EP election, neither Tamils nor Muslims have shown their green flag to Old Royals, though Muslims are very close to does that. If the Secret Solution game of Yahapalanaya is busted, Sampanthar will not have control over Tamils votes. Old Royals, then will have share on Tamils votes too. They know that and they are doing what in their reach to detail Secret Solution. The majority of the UNPyers, under leadership of Ranil is still sabotaging the secret Solution. Ranil has not appointed one single UNP person (If not a group) to campaign in South for Constitutional change. But in contrast, Shyamon Jayasinge seeing that putting back Lankawe to Normal have been almost done and once the Audit Act is passed it’s over. Is that really ture?

    Jayasinge is talking about two party systems. Apparently he is not in Lankawe. In the classical sense, he means UNP & SLFP. The ground reality, based on popular support, it is Slap Party, UNP & SLFP.

  • 0
    1

    Theoretically, strictly there are two groups (two parties) come into play. In long term policy, they stand for election only on Tamil bashing. The nuance here is whoever the highest bidder (, the harshest Anti-Tamil Talker) gets elected. So, this time, the Slap Party with its “You Want One Country or You Want Two Country” slogan won the LG election, beating both UNP & SLFP in one shot. There is no change of modality at all in this as Shyamon Jayasinge pretending as Ranil has brought in. Ranil has said he is following Don Stephen’s path and so, on this aspect, the things still at the functional level of what UNP started with in 1948, i.e plucking their homes out Tamils and deporting refugee out of Lankawe.
    In 2015 West wanted a candidate to power change. They wanted a candidate to superimpose over Ranil, because Ranil Anglian image doesn’t sell in the South. They thought the superimposed candidate will radiate Ranil’s Pro Western Policies. But Ranil is not sincerely pro-western. He was adamantly against the Western ideology based UN or UNHRC taking action on Old Royals’ crime. He went to New York and had a serious fight with UN SG on that. So he has been keeping an eye on the West if they turning to be obstacle to consolidate the war victory over Tamils. He was using the West only as a stepping stone in Jan & Sep 2015 election. By going to Temple Tree House on the Morning of Jan 9th and Promising full protection to Old King against West, he showed his future plans. Ranil took until Nov 2017 to sign the contracts with China. Then in December, he openly kicked on the butt of the American Ambassador and chased him out of his office.

  • 0
    1

    But from that onward, he faced different problems. He had to renew his friendship with India to thaw the violent retaliation that was coming from his ruling partner. Once he had cooled that side, new ones appeared. He had signed contract with China hoping it to uses veto if ever West take Lankawe to ICC. But now China has hiked up its price on that deal. Though Ranil had repeated said Hangbangtota free from China’s military use, it was only a figurative talk, in strict sense it is not so. China is merging the manmade (China Made) island of in Hangbangtota for contractual purpose, but separating it for military use. In other words China is claiming that isle is owned by it, but the current contractual term doesn’t prevent China from using that isle to Military purpose. Though all Ranil’s dealing with China broke all the promises he gave to West, but using Hangbangtota for military purpose with a frivolous explanation will certainly drive India and West mad. So, Ranil’s best deal is realign with West, put the blame on China, and thus make the Ilse protected by the West. If they don’t protect, as he did in 2016 and 2017, he will sell more assets to China to teach more lesson to India and the West.
    Ranil used well Western’s desperate need to deter China from Lankawe. To butter the West, he promised that he would close all the Chinese Projects in Lankawe. Based on this blank paper promise alone, Ex. Secretary Kerry spent a fortune from MMC fund to bring Ranil in Sep 2015.

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