25 May, 2022


Reward Enemy And Lose Friend

By Malinda Seneviratne 

Malinda Seneviratne

There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. We could be talking about Ronnie De Mel’s athleticism, Karu Jayasuriya’s pragmatism laced or coated with ‘national interest’, the prudence of the Thondamans and Hakeems, the self-interest of the 60 plus UNPers who crossed over or corporates covering bases in parliament and in so-called professional associations.  Our concern here, however, is the applicability of the adage to global power politics.

The operative principle is simple enough: if you are not one of the big players, then you side with one of them or play them against each other.  It is true that groupings such as the Non-Aligned Movement can swing the occasional vote in one’s favor.  And yet, typically, what keeps antipathies under check this side of thinly disguised invasion is and always will depend on the ability and willingness of smaller or weaker states to take cognizance of the global power reality.

In the year 2013, there is one set of belligerent, trigger-happy states, i.e. the various coalitions led by the United States of America that rain death and destruction on entities that are not willing to toe the Washington line.  In none of the wars that the USA has launched against innocent peoples has democracy, peace and civilization featured outside of legitimating frill; it has always been about strategic and commercial interests, the extraction of resources, securing of markets and exploitation of people.  Things were easy in the 1990s when Russia was still emerging out of post-Soviet debris and China was not yet the economic giant it is now.  It is all different now.

The USA will scream and froth at the mouth, arm-twist weaker states to support resolutions seeking approval for unleashing bombs and bullets and launching drones and missiles, but as long as China and Russia stand firm, full-scale, no holds barred invasion gets trumped.  This is why, it is important to counter the global thug by making sure China and Russia remain friends.  Muammar Gaddafi of Libya thought he could keep the USA at bay by being nice to Washington.  He irked China and Russia to the point that when the rubber hit the tar, they looked the other way.  In these things, goodwill does not count; thugs pounce on the unprotected, they have no ears for courtesy or plea.  Gaddafi is dead now.  Libyans are poorer for the fact.

President Assad of Syria is not out of the woods, but he is still alive.  He did not do a Gaddafi.  He appears to know what and who would stop Washington.

There’s a lesson here for Sri Lanka.

While it is important to maintain cordial relations with all countries, including those such as the USA, some European nations, Canada and India that are clearly gunning for Sri Lanka, it has to be recognized that Sri Lanka does not have the wherewithal to purchase their friendship.  Nice words are good, but they cannot be banked; they have no currency in the commerce of strategic politics.

It is abundantly clear that India, under Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and the Congress Party are operating against Sri Lankan interests in global forums.  If everything was hunky-dory, then India would have been the first to accept the invitation to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Instead, Singh is stalling and clearly playing a brinkmanship game to extract whatever he can in a context of a growing Chinese footprint in Sri Lanka.  This is why the visit of External Affairs Minster Salman Khurshid has to be seen as part of a plot.

Khurshid will no doubt showcase punditry regarding the Northern Provincial Council elections and the 13th Amendment, but the key issue is not the grievances or aspirations of Tamils (Delhi never cared, this is known) but Sampur.  Sampur is not just another project envisaged in the framework of bi-lateral partnership. Quite apart from the economics of the matter (and here too questions remain unanswered) and the conspicuous silence on agreement details (a notable, suspicious and troubling absence of transparency), the implications for national security warrants extreme caution.  Manmohan Singh will not allow any foreign company within spitting distance of any Indian military facility, President Mahinda Rajapaksa would do well to note.

If ‘Sampur’ is the price to pay for Manmohan Singh’s participation-nod, it is not worth it, not for the country and not for the President.  Pampering the enemy will not persuade enemy to stay away, we saw this in Libya.

The rule of thumb is simple enough: stand with friends, don’t irk them.  India is not a friend, China and Russia are.  What will save Sri Lanka from being another Libya is not India’s friendship, but making sure that China and Russia are not turned into ‘neutrals’ due to poor friendship-choices.

There’s nothing wrong in entertaining Kurshed. Tea or coffee laced with good chit-chat and a smile makes an authentic Sri Lankan signature.  Indecent proposals, on the other hand, should be turned down with a polite, ‘thank you, but no’.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 0

    India an enemy, is that the official viewpoint? Certainly not. Declaring war on India is certainly not an option we should consider or could afford.

    It is ok for the rabble JHU, NPF, Ranawakas, Gammanpillas and Modawanses to blow hot about India but nothing more. The shadow of India looms large over our doorstep and we need to be diplomatic when dealing with our powerful neighbour.

    • 0

      Mr.SeneviRotten, any ideas on how counter your pay masters the RajaPoxsa thugs? :-D
      So according to your logic, when China invades Tibet and Russia invades Afghanistan and Chechniya they are not thugs…its only the Americans who are thugs eh? Did you also forget Russias recent invasion of. Georgia?
      Reward enemy and lose friend, and give backside to RajaPoxsas’ and gain laptop and other perks. This should have been your title for this apple polishing article of yours. :-D

    • 0

      Malinda’s approach is tempting given the role India has been playing in Sri Lanka in our recent history. His foreign policy towards India and China has mass appeal in the Sri Lankan gallery.

      However, that is all. A typical Hambantota “Frogs In The Well” kind of policy.

      As a Sri Lankan and a patriot, I hope our relations with powerful regional players are managed by skillful professional diplomats. With a far more nuanced apporach towards India, China, Russia, Europe & USA.

      PS: We must not shoot ourselves in the foot when the going gets tough with India.

  • 0


    You forget an even more fundamental principle in human relations…beggars cannot be choosers. China is happy to play footsy with the Rajapakses, as long as they keep giving Chinese nationals essentially first priority on all national contract, in exchange for lucrative bribes of course!

    India will play the waiting game because they are not about to get into a bidding game with the Chinese. Remember the Trinco tank farm lease uncle JR thought he was going to do without Indira’s approval? We just finished a 25 year conflict that was seeded in that stupidity.

    In those years the Americans have become buddies with the Indians, to thwart the Chinese.

    They say when the Elephants play, the poor Ants get trampled.

    So, Mahinda can think he is hoodwinking the world, just the way he does with the SL public. When the UNHRC or the ICJ at the Hague suddenly starts issuing warrants, we will know, time is up aney!

    That will be the surest sign that the planets are not aligned!

  • 0

    Catch the Bull by the Horn. This is what the CW will do to Rajapakses when they come here for CHOGM. The bull ran havoc to local citizens and CW was watching them. Get ready to be tamed.

    The whole world witnessed Rajapakse’s comedy tricks and thug behavior on Sri Lankans and this is not acceptable in respectable world.

    Ever since end of the war Rajapakses played Hambanthota “Kawadi” dance palying Macho Man role to the citizens and to the world, hoodwinking them on LLRC, human rights, justice and 13A. Now they have lost the patience.

    Canada is the most popular Nation among CW member nations after GB where many of their Citizens are settled down in Canada.

    Also Canada has huge Trade Relations, Grants, Projects and development related activities with all these CW countries which Sri Lanka do not have. Same with India,Malaysia UK and South Africa. What do Sri Lanka has in common with CW countries compared to the above.

    Big mouth GLP trying to challenge Canada on CHOGM without putting own house in order will backfire on him.

    Also India, China and Russia are part of BRICS nations and Shanghai Corporation where India, China and Russia are members.

    India’s trade,development and security deals run into Billions of Dollars with both Russia and China, compared to peanuts with Sri Lanka.

    If GLP and Rajapakses think of creating animosity among CW member nations, trying to play his known Hambanthota puppet shows “Commonwealth Head” card, definitely they are going to back fire on him and on the country. He is been check mated.

    Beggars cannot be chooses and have to rely on others to sustain weather it’s Sampoor or Norochcholai…or even a two mile concrete road project.

    CHOGM will tame the Bull by the horn.

    • 0

      Yes, all three countries…. India, Russia and China are part of G20 also.
      It’s enough our Politikkas humiliated us and our country in the International arena.

      It’s time to put a stop to their “Card board Sando” behavior and start down to earth behavior.

      Remember it’s the empty vessel that makes the loudest noise.

      Let’s be real and simple. Learn to appreciate and be thankful for others help and favors given to us.

  • 0

    Someone needs to take a lesson in international relations. And logic. There are no permanent friends or enemies. claiming that China is our friend is so childish. Young Malinda should note what happened to Burma. if there is adequate pressure China will drop us.due to our location we have to maintain a good relationship with India.

  • 0


    MS has at last woken up from his slumber in the bathtub, having discovered an irrefutable truth.

    What a genius!

  • 0

    An excellent realistic article.

    • 0

      Max Silva:
      Your psychophancy contract obviously includes singing the praises of this jackass as well. Your handlers are getting more than two for the price of one.
      Malinda Seneviratne better churn out more rubbish to pile on the pyre of his destruction when he joins his paymasters one of these days.

  • 0

    “Reward Enemy to Lose the friend”.

    Ms, this is what you have long been doing by your kind of articles :(

  • 0

    You write such drivel and complain readers of CT criticise you.
    The audacious and irresponsible language in the article makes it clear
    you have a very, very long way to go before being recognised as a journo of some note. You have still not removed the mask of the virulent Sinhala-Nationalist chauvinism you are still part of.
    “India is not a friend” is an unnecessarily provocative and irresponsible statement that can get the Rajapakses into trouble.
    The Rajapakses have told here, there and everywhere India is our closest and best friend – sincere or not being a matter of opinion.
    As an Editor and Columnist, you cannot be oblivious to this.


  • 0

    Malinda like Dayan is such an [Edited out], he always shows to the world that he’s spread Jam & Butter on the butt of MR and licks it.

    But, the positive side of these [Edited out] is that they will give enough rope to the dying regime to accelerate the process of political harakiri they’re committing now is actually a consequential effect of their sins.

    [Edited out]

  • 0

    “Gaddafi is dead now. Libyans are poorer for the fact.” What a fundamentally and profoundly moronic statement – shows the banality of MS’ evil!
    Dude MS, get with the PLOT – socio-political change takes time, is complex, sometimes, to go forward we MUST retreat!
    What a silly simplification of complex processes of socio-political transition and world historical change that the Arab Spring countries and indeed the world is going through at this time! MS you clearly have NO understanding of history, politics or social change..
    You need to go back to grade school and educate yourself – study some social science dude!
    Rajapassa is desperate to avoid a mass boycott of his Commonwealth of CLowns (CHOGM) show led my Manmohan – and will sell his grandmother to India at this stage! So Dude MS do stop crying over Sampur and Rajapassa opportunism – it is hapless Tamil villages who are displaced and homeless from Sampur – Rajapassa is just like your other villans – no the point is he is FAR worse than Obama, Sonia, Manmohan etc.!

  • 0

    “Indecent proposals, on the other hand, should be turned down with a polite, ‘thank you, but no’”. Is this about ‘the Police and land powers’ you are referring to? tell it directly without beating about the bush…we know JHU politics depend only this shit politics….let the Tamils find their way..as long as they are with us we don’t need any wars…You guys can’t sleep without thinking about MR…None of your arguments against global power politics justify racist power politics in Sri Lanka…Sri Lanka should behave as a small state and it’s reality, first make order in your own house,…how can you talk about US war crimes when it happened at your doorstep…Please Malinda be the real liberal you are without trying to be a racist nationalist for a living…..

  • 0

    LOL of your stupidity. Please please ask Mahind rajabacchaa and goatbaccha to declare India is enemy state of Srilanka.

  • 0

    This was almost embarrassing to read. Your knowledge of international affairs is childish. This isn’t a popularity contest in a schoolyard. This international intervention is real. It’s happening, and it’s happening right now.

    What should keep you up at night, is the fact that both China and Russia voted in favor of the independence of South Sudan at the UNSC. You should think about why, despite your perception of friendship, neither China nor Russia has ever given a promise that it will veto a resolution at the UNSC. Even during MR’s numerous visits to China there has never been an explicit undertaking to protect SL’s sovereignty at the UNSC. The agenda and joint statements released after these visits have only been about generic “development” and “cooperation”.

    If worrying about the above is not enough for you, please think about why China did not officially oppose the UN panel of experts or question the bona fides or suitability of its members (nor did any other country for that matter, including Sri Lanka). Why did they not oppose the visit of the UNHCHR?

    • 0

      Patriot alias ‘Leela’ enna machan trying flirt with India are you mate? perhaps hoping for a housing contract ;-)

      ohoma yang leela ohoma yang

    • 0

      Patriot (Leela)
      Not on many occasions i have agreed with your analysis. I do agree with this one though but may i add a few more observations.
      MR is playing the China card very well and India know that.
      India has taken a soft approach knowing MR will take it right to the wire.
      India equally has given a few “tokkas” to MR like sponsoring the last UN resolution and insisting on the NP elections.
      It’s noticeable that MR has soften the “raised sarong” diplomacy towards India in the past 9 months, but sure if this was due to the support given by India for the CHOGM to be held in SL.
      It’s a cat and mouse game- Its just a matter of time the sell by date on the China card will run out. Unfortunately Sri Lanka has not got the seasoned experienced diplomats that can take on the Indian counter parts.

  • 0

    This fool wants us to side with Russia and China against America! What an Idiot. We want to be like America. We want Macdonalds, We want Coke and Pepsi, we want American pop stars and celebrities.

    What is this fight with India? This is like the foolish son who fights with his mother. Sri Lanka lies within the territorial waters of India and India may see us just as China sees the Spratleys?

    Any fool knows that Sri Lanka is part of the western ghats of India. Just go and look at any physical map of the region! Sinhalese and Jaffanese are both from Kerala as any Indian can see.

  • 0

    If this guy is the mouth-piece of the MARA junta, the junta has gone mad; they want to bite the helping hand that saved them from the LTTE.

    Tamils told India this naked truth but they never believed: Now they know from the horse’s mouth-piece.

  • 0


    What do you think – any chance SL could have won the war against the LTTE without India’s help, even if it meant tacit only? In the real world of geopolitics India, like other dominant countries, is a double-edged sword. MR/BR/GR “prostrated at the feet of the Indian leadership to win the war and when Manmohan lifted them up, he looked deep into the eyes and said we want blah, blah, blah. Sampur was part of that deal. MR/BR didn’t stop there – he also blew the horn, put his right hand up and solemnly promised that he will implement the 13A to the letter and in his eagerness gripped tightly Manmohan’s palm and said he will go even beyond the 13A, just like the 13A plus we are talking about.

    You see, MR/BR/GR never meant to honour their word, including Sampur but the Indians knew that promises, akin to vows, to deities must be fulfilled, otherwise it will become one of between heaven and then hell. MR wants the Indians to forget but who do you think has the last laugh. They used Mahinda to finish of the LTTE and now they have a whip in their hands if Mahinda misbehaves.

    In his enthusiasm, Mahinda rubbed shoulders with Ban Ki Monn and OKayed everything. Nothing of what he said registered in his mind as he never had any intention of fulfilling them, but Ban saw the opening and now his Mahinda’s balls in his hands. You see how cleverly Ban has gone from step-to-step to give the knockout punch to Mahinda, when least expects it.

    You, and the likes of you, are also part of this dilemma MR faces. You should have pulled him by the collar and told him to wind the hearts and mind of the Tamils. If 300,000 left the LTTE and crossed over to the army area, what should you people have done? Victory parades and concentration camps are just some. How can you people be so foolish that you totally screwed the goodwill and nailed yourselves to the wall?

    So, instead of rewriting this part of history to now become an unsolicited advisor to MR, see where you have failed on your part.

  • 0

    @ Malinda,keep writing bull im sure there are low IQ fellows around you who will give you sla in the back for it (and maybe throw in a replacment laptop!)

  • 0

    “There’s nothing wrong in entertaining Kurshed. Tea or coffee laced with good chit-chat and a smile makes an authentic Sri Lankan signature. Indecent proposals, on the other hand, should be turned down with a polite, ‘thank you, but no’”.

    Please say this to Dr. Mervin but in Sudda sinhala so that he will understand. Pl do not use andara demala.


  • 0


    Your article on “Reward Enemy to Lose the friend” shows your immaturity in writing on Sri Lanka’s political affairs.

    Either you are a “Blind Rat” or a Rajapakse “Tea Party” member…..
    I cannot guess otherwise.

    Don’t you know that India still feeds and shelter over 150,000 Sri Lankan Tamil war refugees in their soil during the 30 year war and still continue to feed four years after end of the war.,.,..,.,

    Don’t you know that India is building 50,000 houses for Nothern Tamils who lost everything during the war including 90,000 war widows, when President Rajapakse Building Harbours in Hambanthota and Colombo without any ships berthing and Airports in the Jungles with no plans landing.

    Also now there are more people trying to flee Sri Lanka in Boats than during the height of the war. Why all these. Is this another Rajapakse’s way of solving Sri Lanka’s unemployment and economic problems and to get away from peoples burning issues.

    Of course India should concern of what’s going on in Sri Lanka’s Tamil community who have close relationship with South Indian Tamils and with 150,000 Tamil refugees there.

    India has all the rights to know what’s going on when Rajapakses don’t have answers and don’t solve the problems.

    Writing your ” Reward Enemy And Lose Friend” at this moment is mere crap and bullshit. This shows your immaturity in Political affairs.

    Come on Malinda Seneviratne. Please note that CT readers are not the Rajapakse owned “Daily News” or “Sunday Observer” newspaper crap readers which you contribute writing blindly.

    CT readers are more Intelligent, educated and Mature and you cannot fool or hoodwink them like the way you write to Sunday Observer or other weekend columns.

    Please be mature when you contribute in future op-eds. Be Analytical and be critical. Do more home work before you publish or…. Pleas…Please Go take some lessons from Tisaranee Gunasekara. She is the number one, a Professor, a Wizard and a scholar who will teach and guide you to write more balanced articles and op-eds.

    Finally I say that “It is Honey that one use to catch Butterflies” and not Knives. Same applies to People,customers,businessmen, UN, EU, Canada, India or any other country and the governing morons should know about these.

    Please tell this to your “Tea Party Pundits” and their “group members” that there are words like “compromise” “justice” “respect” “balance thinking” “gentlemen” “scholars” “understanding” “love” “humble” “honesty” “Promises” “share” “friends” “honey” etc,etc, are in the dictionary and they should use these words more when Governing the country.

    Good luck to you and your “Tea Party” club.

    Be honest, open, humble and truthful and people will follow you.

    Good luck to you on your future contributions, and let’s have your views on this.

  • 0

    This is why Rajafucksa is a fool. He always reward the enemy and lose the friend.

    Another example is building schools in Jaffna instead of Samanthurai.

    Know your friend MR. Know your enemies MR.

    Reward the friends, BUST the enemies.

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