26 September, 2020

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Has The World Been Taken Over By Reactionary Politicians?

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

With The Donald seemingly bestriding the world and the entire universe observing him with bemused wonder, it certainly is time to look around the leadership of countries – democratic and otherwise – and place them in an appropriate place in the spectrum of political policy and practice.

The very mention of the name “Putin” should be enough to invoke the vision of the leader of what is left of the Soviet Union. The man does not even pretend to follow any of the rules usually governing democratic societies and, while selectively picking off Russian oligarchs if they don’t actively contribute to the system of corruption over which he presides, runs the biggest country in the world like the Russian Mafioso he is.

In neighbouring Ukraine which has come off second best in contests, armed and otherwise, with its giant neighbor over which Mr. Putin reigns, it appears that each government is more repressive and corrupt than the one that preceded it.

France has, after a series of corrupt politicians parading as “socialists,” produced a leader who is a suave version of dictators parading as democrats in other western jurisdictions. The light at the end of that particular tunnel is the fact that, whenever France seems to be teetering on the edge of total Fascism, there has been an upsurge of indignation at the threat to traditions that grew out of its revolution being destroyed which lead to the government in power having to backpedal. One can but hope that that tradition survives.

Britain, long considered the cradle of democratic tradition and practice, has its “compromise Tory” Theresa May, with Boris Johnson, the brilliant but totally unscrupulous man who deliberately refused any suggestion that he should accept the leadership of the Tories after Brexit, lurking in the shadows and calling the shots. Scary stuff!

The Scandinavian countries, particularly over the latter part of the 20th Century, were considered bastions of humane governance where the financial bottom line was not the ultimate arbiter of what should or should not be done in a nation. However, the emergence of an increasing number of what are, euphemistically, referred to as “centre-right” governments has eroded that tradition very seriously. The warning signs have come in the form of racist and anti-immigrant groups, many displaying a capacity for extreme violence on the street.

The fact that Angela Merkel who once carried the banner for political conservatism in Western Europe is now viewed as the last best defender of humanist governance in that part of the world should say it all to anyone suffering under the illusion (delusion?) that democratic practice, as close to the ideal as possible, was alive and well in countries that were considered to adhere to such norms.

As for Southern Asia in which the countries that had emerged from the yoke of Imperial exploitation, initially, at least attempted to adopt the best of the governance system that had been practiced by their oppressors on their home turf unfortunately that story has been a sad one.

Pakistan has had a series of fiscally corrupt leaders that have followed what has unhappily become the tradition of preaching social democracy to the masses while practicing capitalism in its most abhorrent form in the management of those nations. The fact that the Bhutto family has met with sticky ends should in no way undercut this historical reality. Those who’ve succeeded them haven’t been much better and seem to survive on the basis of some form of conservative tribalism rather than as reward for good governance.

India, now probably the most populous nation on earth, has at its head a man banned – until he reached the pinnacle of power in that country – from so much as entering the USA because of his record of leading murder and mayhem on his home turf. Mark the fact that even by the standards of the USA which has a justified reputation of being tolerant of murderous tin pot dictators, particularly in South and Central America, this man was considered “untouchable” until his ascendance to power.

Myanmar, which had a rather spotty reputation in the matter of “one man, one vote” kind of democracy, has descended into a violent, anti-minority and militaristic state after a brief romance with Aung San Suu Kyi and her humanism. Even a cursory study of Myanmar’s/Burma’s  post-World War II history will reveal the fact that the Nobel Laureate’s father was an army general and the fact that he was gunned down within the walls of that country’s legislature does not, in any way, alter the nature of his own politics which could be described as crypto-communist populism.

As for the Phillipines and its, fortunately, unique President Duterte, what can one say more than simply point to the summary justice he dispenses in his country, claiming that those being “terminated with extreme prejudice,” as the CIA characterized that process, were all drug dealers (“with a few exceptions”). Even given the fact that the collection of thousands of islands that claims to be one country never had anything close to democratic governance, Duterte’s behaviour is not only bizarre, it is murderously so.

And now to our “home front.”

Beginning with the Presidency of Sri Lanka’s Yankee Dick Jayewardene, the so-called “democratic world” has accepted leaders who have been responsible for murder and mayhem at an escalating rate, no matter how well they succeeded in concealing themselves behind nominal democratic practices. This acceptance by those nations that had, in fact, developed democratic systems within their own boundaries was particularly reprehensible because, in the larger scheme of things, Sri Lanka didn’t have to be pandered to for strategic or other reasons. Western intelligence could not but have been aware of the ramifications of the militarization of governance that flowed from its armed forces being as large as the Russian army! The only explanation for that tolerance is probably the fact that those alleged “bastions of democracy” simply couldn’t be bothered with imposing the kinds of sanctions that would have been appropriate in the circumstances, with the singular exception of the removal of a preferential tariff on our garment exports. The pious proclamations that our prosperous trading partners made from time to time appeared to be as a response to the political power of diaspora groups that owed their origins to the fact that they had fled persecution in Sri Lanka and wielded some electoral clout in their new home countries because of their numbers and militancy.

The simple fact is, though a western world dominated by The Donald might be going to hell in a handbasket, little Sri Lanka, particularly because of its dense population, cannot afford to tread the same path. Our inability to adopt anything resembling a confrontational stance vis-a-vis the economic giants of this world does not prevent us from putting our own house in order and conducting our affairs in a just manner, where the rule of law prevails. The difficulty we have in establishing the “Third Force” that we desperately need to put our nation back on the rails shouldn’t deter Sri Lankans because, after all, we do have a tradition, admittedly somewhat frayed, of operating as a functioning democracy.

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    Mr. Pooten: with respect to Sri lankan Politics, Catholic/Christian Diocese? of Priests met around a Round Table and discussed the Bond Scam and the inviduals involed in it. Finally, they decided thgat Almighty’s wish would be to forgive them all. So they would convey the message to Maithripala Sirisena. But, the President says a diofferent story. That is, they told that priests told their incomes are very low now.because of that give some portion of that to them too.

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      Jim softy:
      Rather than seek to confuse readers of this publication with your gibberish, your time might be better spent poring over an English primer. Oh, but then you’d probably need someone to help you understand something like that and I don’t expect such support staff will be available in the institution to which you must be confined.

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        Emil van der Poorten

        Lankies intent to rediscover wheel, fire, Zero, ……

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    Mr. Pooten: My mother tongue is not English. Besides, I live for a few decades among English speaking people of diffrerent ethnic origins. So, I do not care about what you say. IT is big deal to you but not to me. You have only English. YOu need to have a little bit of brain to see the different sides of the same story, I mean world politics. YOu read, I am pretty sure, only one side of the story. Anyway, Calm down. I just had some sarcastic fun. I do not know Dutch Ctholics though. I heard something like this happened. Some catholic priests? from Polonnaruwa came. Anyway, I did not mean to be Offensive, just fun.

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      Jim softy:
      You obviously lived among people who were only marginally illiterate in English and I’m sure you didn’t improve their skills in that language judging by the GIBBERISH you continue to spout.
      Apropos of your blatantly racist comment, ” I do not know Dutch Ctholics though.” I have neither Dutch nor Catholic antecedents and while speaking of whether or not one is a uncertain heritage, I suspect that your exploring that area would be kind of touchy!
      P.S.
      What do you do when you are not practicing your gibberish on CT?

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    Regardless of the party the national policy should be on self-sustaining food production, reducing unemployment, evolving the education system to produce productive citizens , and national Health ( mental and Physical ) . Imports should be minimized and Exports maximized.

    Our economic theory seems to be import everything on loans that will be have to be paid when the politician that signed the deal is long done.

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      niro:
      What you are suggesting is common sense prevailing and that is not going to have any resonance with our politicians whose one and only question is, “What’s in it for me?”

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    Sadly, there is a ring of truth in your assertions. Europe is struggling to deal with alien refugees from the Middle-East and subsequent strain on their resources and culture. Poland, Hungary are both right wing now. Poland even passed laws to ban people talking about Polish collusion with Nazi Germany now(yes it is now illegal to say Polish death camps or talk about Poles who worked with Nazis). Italy is going to change a bit on March 4th.

    Angela Merkel finally admitted to there being “No-Go” zones in Germany after her policies of accepting refugees fleeing Syria and other war zones caused huge law and order problems. Greece is tired of refugees on Lesbos. Greek is already the armpit of EU and struggling with a bad economy.

    See this story.

    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/925727/Angela-Merkel-Germany-latest-news-no-go-zone-reality-refugee-crisis

    US? well we all know Trump won on the whitelash(I coin that word to mean white backlash) vote and nationalism and rightwing politics. Illegal immigrant problems are causing huge problems in lots of nation. On one hand liberal tolerant western nations have accepted them (in Europe) but now are facing serious issues. World is becoming more exclusive. In SL I hear(I do not live there; so my claim is subject to verification) of illegal immigrants from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Burma etc working there now as labourers.

    World is topsy turvy. Angela Merkel is was a great leader; but her compassionate policies have boomeranged. Notice the ultra nationalist party AfD won 88 seats in Bundestag. People are facing law and order problems with new refugees. Sad.

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      MAno Ratwathta: read about what they are doing to Ukraine. they changed the pro-russian president to a pro -american businessman. they alotted him a 4 17 billion IMF loan but Ukraine go tnothing, all went back to the lender country for something. Now, I read, Ukraine is buying GE trains worth One billion dollar. Ukraine is also getting so many weapons with the capability to be offensive and they used one and the weapon seller found that Russia has the counter part for it. So, a shock. There are many other things going on.
      I don’t know whether Mr. Pooten wrote about Syria and the possibility of IRan getting into a war. and russia is waiting to involve in anything.

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    I fear a turn for the worst. Trump is an example of someone who used demagoguery. He might actually even win re-election in 2020 by making things worse and generating hatred towards select groups. Like I said, look at Poland. Look at Hungary. Look at how AfD won so many seats. More and more xenophobia or ethno-phobia is actively being encouraged by vested interests. Look at how RSS is behaving in Modi-stan!. Hinduvta Supremacists are on t he rise. Need anyone comment on the stupidity in Ampara by ignorant people who are spreading lies about “wanda pethi”. What a sad situation when Sirisena-Ranil failed to immediately comment on this and condemn this by using science and medical experts. Once a lie is repeated oft, it will become truth; specially in the social media age of so called “News” dissemination. Russians used that effectively in the USA. Tweets and Facebook posts are now considered facts by idiots who cannot discern lies from truth everywhere. I can only shudder and think Quo Vadis?

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      Mano Ratwatte:
      And I thought I was THE prophet of doom and gloom in CT!
      It is truly a sad state of affairs internationally and Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans after rejecting authoritarianism, violence and monumental corruption in 2015 , appear to have saddled themselves with yet another corrupt bunch of politicians led by backbone-less “leaders” as witness the inaction with regard to the very volatile “wanda pethi” issue in the Ampara area.

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        Mr.Van der Poorten There are a few professional rabble rousers. Neither MS nor RW has the guts to put them in their place – in jail.

        Mrs B would have done that.I appreciate the way she told Devamottawe Amarawanse off and packed him off from his adobe at Thunmulla. This duo will never dare.They do not have the guts to tell the Asgiriya crowd to piss off and open the road.Asgiriya crowd should be warned that the day the people living in Kandy come down with lung disease, they will have to bear the cost of treatment at their expense not at the expense of the Dalada Maligawa.

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      Mano Ratwatte: Both Mr Sirisena and Ranil Wickramasinghe lack a back bone.They have spoilt everything that they touched. Starting with the production of paddy to SAITM they have blundered.On the SAITM issue the arguments of the GMOA could have been countered. I wonder whether the negative action of RW had anything to do with the fact that Dr.Neville Fdo defied JRJ.Well DR.Ranjith Attapattu did not get a vote of condolence passed by the Parliament. He also defied JRJ.

      Funny world funny leaders.

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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/

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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/

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        Jimsofty:
        The only time anything intelligible appears under your pseudonym is when the these words appear:

        “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/follosing/rgw

        We don’t know what your original composition was but what I’ve just reproduced is INTELLIGIBLE! Therefore, you need to replicate the material that provoked this editorial censure, but please keep doing it in the interests of literacy.

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