25 January, 2021

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Let’s Be Diplomatic

By Kalyananda Godage

Kalyananda Godage

Diplomacy is all about persuasion. The thrust of our diplomacy in terms of our national interests should, without doubt, be directed at winning over the western countries, their close friends and India.

At a time when the country needs the best of efforts to counter the huge propaganda campaign mounted against the country, we appear to be going out of our way to make enemies of friends, particularly the powerful countries whose friendship we do most badly need in this new ‘war’ against the pro-LTTE Diaspora and their foreign friends.

Need for big powers

We need the big powers of the modern world more than they need us. We also need them for the following reasons; we need their support and understanding, in the first instance to rein in the Tamil Diaspora which, it is reported, helped the LTTE to the tune of US$ 300 million during the separatist war, no terrorist group in the world other than perhaps the al Qaeda and the Hamas enjoyed greater support. Even though the war is over the LTTE supporters who have entrenched themselves in the countries of the West and have secured citizenship, influence politicians and political parties and still continue their campaign against this country using the millions they continue to collect from their people. The only way to counter them is to win over these western countries. It should be remembered that Lakshman Kadirgamar, with the assistance of career Foreign Service officers serving in these countries at the time, got the West to proscribe the LTTE.

GSP plus

We also need the West for it is in those markets that we sell our tea and garments (we should be able to get back the GSP Plus concession if we handle them correctly), the West is not only where the markets exist but also the source of capital (the World Bank and the IMF are virtually controlled by them) and technology, besides of course the influence they wield in the affairs of the world; we should also not forget from where the tourists come. We certainly need them more than they need us, we must face the fact that this country has become worthless among countries of the international community; the influence we wield is near zero. If this situation is not bad enough we appear to be unnecessarily antagonizing India as well, which we can ill afford to do.

India’s confrontation with US

We need to take note of the fact of India’s foreign policy shift; the relationship with the US has been consolidated by a new defence relationship. The nuclear cooperation deal heralded the shift. The nuclear powered US Aircraft carrier Nimitz docked into the Chennai harbour not so long ago; such a symbol of US military power in Indian waters would have been unthinkable a few years ago. This is indicative of a strategic alliance between the two countries. The one time US Under-Secretary of State, Burns, described the relationship as a “Global partnership”! The Indo-US relationship has undergone a sea change and we need to take account of this.

We do need to enter into a new Treaty of Peace Friendship and Cooperation with India; since the world has changed dramatically from what it was in 1987 we need to replace the Indo Lanka Agreement which, after twenty five years, and non-performance being the order of the day, is now passé.

Attitude unhelpful

The perception of many knowledgeable people in this country is that our attitude towards the west has not been helpful and needs to be changed in our own interest. Why do we say “in our own interest”? Besides the imperative need to cultivate close relations because of the fact that markets for our products are in the west, in recent times we have seen the crack down on LTTE leaders and their operations from the US, through Europe to Australia, this must be appreciated by the government. The LTTE was penalized globally and that crippling of the LTTE in the ‘west’ had in no small measure assisted the government to succeed in this war against the LTTE here at home. Let us for a moment pause to think of what the consequences would have been had the LTTE been able to secure ‘Surface to Air’ missiles. The US has charged five including a leader of the LTTE in the US in this regard. We need also to recall that in another operation the authorities had tracked suspects from Baltimore on the east coast to the South Pacific (Guam) and arrested six for attempting to export arms to the Tigers. The US authorities also arrested Karunakaran the chief of LTTE operations in the US. The arrests in France and elsewhere have been as significant for they caused irreparable damage to the LTTE and it efforts to prosecute the war in Sri Lanka. The government should show its appreciation of these efforts and reach out to the west and convince them that it is seeking to win back the hearts and minds of the Tamil people and bring them into the mainstream and that they would also have a say in deciding on the future of this country which belongs to us all. The government must without any further delay come up with credible constitutional proposals, even implement the 13th Amendment without land and police powers. Let us also have second chamber; If the proposals are fair and just the international community and India will without doubt help us to proceed on the path of development of our country.

K Godage is a former Ambassador, Courtesy The Island

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Latest comments

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    Kalyananda Godage:
    Oh! Go away [Edited out] You are just a part of the old Rajapaksa horde that he has spat out like the proverbial Karapincha leaf!

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      Apochchi, Apochchi, kohenda awe? Tell me one thing that is wrong in what has been written by Kalyananda Godage. Prior to 1983 and even after that for may be another five to eight years until the diaspora Sri Lankans became citizen in their new countries they were struggling to survive. Since then they have educated their children and have built equity in their homes and are now in some cases receiving pension and other support from the respective governments in their old age. In short the earning capacity of the diaspora had multiplied and if they have to collect money now for their cause the amount of money that would be contributed will be multiples of what they contributed in the past. This may be one reason why some interested parties are keeping the LTTE dreams alive. At the same time just pause to think what would they be able to do with all the money or most of the money they collect, if they were to use it for another freedom fighting activity. Its time for all of us to wake up and smell the reality.

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        Park:
        I don’t know what kind of “reality” you are smelling (and how it smells) But the fact that you leap to the defence of this man who has had a return of conscience only since the Rajapaksas spat him out, speaks for itself! (Opportunistic) birds of a feather flock together, I suppose.
        “Gamini” speaks to the details of this old fraud’s behaviour eloquently enough!

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    When the crumbs fell from the table there was no Diplomacy in berating Ranil Wickremasinghe in filth trying to project him as a Traitor. Then came the reward of being recalled to the Foreign Service once again. Like what is going to happen to PBJ, the appointment did not last long. Why look for evidence in the West for LTTE arms procuring, when the chief KP is sitting by his side with full protection from the Govt. Forces itself to save him, for betraying VP and all the LTTE surrenderees who got massacred. An International Inquiry will expose all govts across the Globe who have their business interests over Human Rights in this country.

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    This man is singing from the same hymn sheet as the Rajapaksa supporters who are trying to save the regime from severe stricture at the forthcoming UNHRC meeting. There is mounting evidence of war crimes in the open and more are coming out. Most outsiders don’t buy the regime’s mantra that the LTTE diaspora is the cause of Sri Lanka’s troubles.

    However, Godage is not going to be able to preach to the Rajapaksas as they are already well on a collision course with the West foolishly hoping that the Chinese will bail them out economically and politically. Godage is another sheep in Sinhala chauvinist wolfe’s clothing.

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    The affable Nanda Godage is a good man; an experienced senior State official; a fine diplomat senior and more experienced than Prof. GLP.
    Although few in the country can match GLP’s learning and scholarship.
    Above all, Nanda does not have the communal virus in him. I understand during 7/83 his and members of his family helped Tamil neighbours in a “big” way. Such a man is an asset to the country at this point of time.

    When Nanda says “.. still continue their (Diaspora) campaign against this country using the millions they continue to collect from their people….” he needs to be corrected. The diaspora Tamils are not working against the Sinhala Govt or Nation but are working tirelessly
    to help protect the lives, livelihood, land, opportunities and future of the Tamil Nation in the Island. He speaks wisely and justly when he
    says “the government must, without any further delay, come up with credible constitutional proposals, even implement the 13th Amendment…. This is what the USA, UK/EU, Japan and India strongly feel will result in the much awaited reconciliation. But the Rajapakse Family says “they are prisoners to the Buddhist Sinhala chauvinists within the coalition – and, therefore, plead inability??? Police and Land Powers were agreed to in the beginning. Now to say the 13th Amendment will be honoured but without these two features is like a
    body without a head and a violation of originally agreed to pledges.

    “…The only way to counter them is to win over these western countries..” Be it Western countries, India or any other the regime has showed neither consistency or diplomacy in dealing with all of these. They unnecessarily lost the GSP; faced embarrassment in Geneva
    and lost the Commonwealth Games because of the cocksureness of GLP and the conflicts within the Foreign Ministry plus the Samarasinghe-GLP on-going war.

    Like many of us Nanda Godage, a true son of Sri Lanka, is fated to see the country sliding downwards rudderless, lacking direction in almost every field that matters. NG, the Writer and well-read man knows the old English saying “You need thoroughbreds to win the Derby. Asses simply won’t do”

    Senguttuvan

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      I was reminded of an earlier correspondence in CT while reading Indian Frontline columnist Noorani’s review: ‘How a mosque became a temple,’ and wondered if it (or the book) would interest you. Probably not, but here’s the site, anyway.
      http://frontlineonnet.com/stories/20130308300408300.htm

      It begins: ‘The Sangh Parivar is all set to revive the Ayodhya issue and for the same reason for which it is seeking to make Narendra Modi its frontman in 2014. It is desperate because it has no vote getter.’

      manel

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      Are you sure he was in Sri Lanka to help the Tamils during the Pogrom. What clues you have had about his family? ?

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    It is a well known fact that the whole task of “Diplomacy” was ruined and made to “stink” by this regime. The whole world was well briefed and made aware of the “behavioural patterns” of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and he made an “ass” of himself and the country. The world powers were making comparisions with illustrious personalty like Ho’ble Kadiragamar. Who and what have the others follwed him done to this country? They brought nothig but “DISGRACE” to the country and the Nation. Just imagine an upstart like Sjin Vas Gunawardane being made a supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs. We all know how and where he started and got into mainstream politics. He is a character well known to the International Community. What respect and regard this country will get when these types of cronies are sitting in high charis. The biggest problem is even the Executive President has not indentified this type of personnel in his close circle team and accompanys them at all foreign “tours” without any shame. The Heads of Foreign Governments and other highly placed State officials must be suffering indignation silently, but reacting in a “punitive mode” after the meetings and discussions. Added to the “Karma” are the appointments made to the Foreign Missions. There is nothing “dignitary” about those men who are manning our foreign missions.

    The most recent scandle was the “Impeachment Circus” very well orchestrated by the “siblings” of the HE hand in hand with the Opposition “Fox” Leader. They knew the timing was very “OPPORTUNE” in view of the forthcoming UNHRC and the Commonwealth meetings. The very process of the “Inquiry” was staged as a “Mockery” in order to showcase it to the world that there is nothing called Law and Order and Rules of Law in the country. By this very timely action, the whole country was targeted to be a “Pariaha” State. This very well timed action on the part of HE’s own siblings, the Governing Team and the Opposition gave much needed “amunition” to waiting hawks of the “Seperatist Movement” based abroad.

    So now it looks HE is “buried” alive in both withing the country and the International Arena.

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    To persuade others we have to be morally clean ourselves. When the govt is involved in various scandals and HR violations it loses the moral right to speak for its own people as well as it loses credibility before the international community. Engaging in pariah acts and not complying with international standards and convenants ends up in being a pariah state with zero standing.

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    Why talk about diaspora?
    Talk about treating the Tamils in Sri Lanka fairly.

  • 0
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    Karapincha syndrome!

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    I think poster’s on the web are getting increasingly desperate and a few people are getting tarred with same brush as the brainless donkeys who blindly support Rajapaksa.

    This may be a case in point.

    The time for venting your spleen on the internet is over, folks it is time for action NOW !

  • 0
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    Mr. Kalyananda Godage took the MR line after his retirement from FS. His thinking (and articles written) were according to MR thinking. As a result he was given a political appointment as HC Malaysia. After getting kicked out from that now he has changed his stance. This West-bashing did not start after he lost his position. He should have given this advise longtime back. We would have believed him then. As Lincoln said he can’t fool all the people all the time.

  • 0
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    PLEASE ANY BODY TELL us,

    WHEN we will get a learned Minister of Foreign Affairs like Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar,.[ having with attached tail with few capital letters may not give results.]

    WHO is going to fill the gap of that post ??????. [ jet setter G L is not worth and his literature is nothing worth to Sri lanka.].

    How they are going reestablish the burning image of sri lanka As the governance with killers,Thugs, Buffoons and comedians .

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