29 September, 2021

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Throw The ‘Look Africa’ Policy Into The Waste Paper Basket And Adopt A ‘Look West’ Policy Instead – ST Editorial

Despite the uproar made by some of the leaders of the government, the recent expansion of the scope of the Commission on Disappearances the Rajapaksa regime has given the message that not only has it capitulated to international pressure, but that it will be forced to act only when there is international pressure, the Editorial of today’s Sunday Times – a prominent weekly English newspaper in Sri Lanka – remarks.

 Sinha Ratnatunga - Editor Sunday Times

Sinha Ratnatunga – Editor Sunday Times

Today’s editorial titled ‘Losing the Diplomatic War’ it has been pointed out that the Rajapksa regime misled by its foreign policy pundits, has ignored the good old saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ in responding to mounting allegations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law violations during the final phases of the war.

Recalling the foreign policy blunders, the Editorial notes

–          The first court martial of the former Army Commander

–          The deceptive inquiry by the military on allegations of ‘war crimes’

–          Prolonged delay in setting up the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)

–          Delay in implementing its recommendations despite the mechanism giving the Government an early window of opportunity have not boded well with Sri Lanka’s image.

The Editorial further notes that there is much to do in mending fences with the West – an area that has been completely abandoned by the External Affairs Ministry under the Rajapaksa regime, pointing out that even through back channel initiatives, it would take steadfast efforts for a long period for mend relations with the White House and Capitol Hill.

“The Government will have to set its priorities right in the first place. For instance, the insane ‘Look Africa’ foreign policy must be just thrown into the WPB and a more useful ‘Look West’ approach adopted, surely,” the piece notes pointing out Sri Lanka and its people have much more in common with the West than with Africa.

Furthermore, it asserts that if Sri Lanka is to succeed in this modern world, it cannot afford to shun the West or be shunned by it.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    1

    The Sunday Times has consistently maintained the old traditions of independent – and fearless journalism, one must add, in view of the culture prevailing in the country. The money, time and effort spent in investing in many African countries have and will in no way help the country – except, perhaps, now and then help save the Rajapakses in global fora during times of crucial voting. Particularly, in the UNO. This is so in some of our misadventures in some East European countries as well.

    The next administration – hopefully not one of the present Rajapakse circus – will do well to take all and necessary steps to completely overhaul the External Affairs Ministry – its appointments, its total wasteful expenditure and its total lack of focus.

    Backlash

    • 3
      2

      Sinha Ratnatunga, is one of those evil warriors who waged a relentless war on Islam. Today what we are seeing the bloodshed which is perpetrated by the SINHALA BUDDHISM is the result of Sinha Rathnatunga’s dream efforts.

      Thank you for the efforts for if not Sinhala Buddhism’s failure will not be seen by the present generation.

      • 4
        0

        What other country spends so much on lobby firms in the US?!
        Of the funds spent by the Ministry of External Affairs on lobbying by Beltway firms in Washington DC. how much went into the pockets of Mahidna Rajapaksa’s corrupt and uneducated cousin Jaliya Wickramasuriya the TEA TASTER who has NO EDUCATION OR BRAIN, but made lots of money while Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Washington – on corrupt deals and failed policy?

        Who appointed a Mahinda Jarapassa’s cousin with NO EDUCATION – Jaliya – to the most important post in the SL embassy in Washington DC and then spent lots of money on lobbying firms?
        The US Dept. of State does its research systematically in third world countries and cuts thought the spin of lobbying groups… In any case lobby firms for foreign govts. are disregarded by the State Dept. unlike lobby firms for US domestic issues. This simple fact has been overlooked in deciding to hire lobby firms.

        There are no short cuts to the truth, no substitutes for skilled and qualified people in top posts. Lobbying firms are merely a way for the corrupt crook at MEA to make more money – most of them Sajin Vas G and Jarapassa’s cronies and relatives..

        • 0
          0

          There is no provision in our Parliamentary Votes to meet expenses for Lobbying. Using super-expensive mouthpieces notwithstanding. Fortunately for the Rajapakses and, unfortunately, for the people and our former system of good governance – we now have a mute Parliament with a steam roller majority. At least for the record, the UNP and the Opposition must place in Hansard their opposition to these illegal payments. There must be the warning everyone of these payments will be gone into in the future the guilty punished.

          Why do you need Lobbyists if you do your work well and efficiently. India, from whom we rightly draw many precedents and lessons, has no place for them.

          Backlash

  • 9
    1

    .
    All western developed nations have no unitary governance, they are all decentralized into regions, states, provinces,……… from very small Switzerland to very large US.

    :-)

  • 1
    3

    Velee funny meeste seengha. Even the vest is looking to aflica now. Vee can meet the vest in aflica no? The amelicans aaah there in full folce. They will soon build a black house thiya..

    • 0
      0

      My comments on Africa were based on the countries Rajapakse visits and establishes new diplomatic Missions – that, I venture to suggest, will not bring us return on our investments. The developing and industrialised countries – including China, Japan and S.Korea – have, quite rightly, figured investing in African countries like S. Africa, Ghana, Angola, Mozambique, Kenya and others – where there is abundant raw material and in which countries there is relatively better political stability and leadership – is the way to go.

      Backlash

  • 2
    0

    May “Look West” instead of “Look Africa” policy may be better for Mahinda Rajapaksha Government.

    However, This News Paper for some strange reason wants to see Sajin de Vass Gunawardena as Foreign Minister and not G.L Peiris. So this newspaper heavily criticises GL Peiris and Foreign Affairs Ministry.

    God knows the reason behind this!

    • 1
      1

      “However, This News Paper for some strange reason wants to see Sajin de Vass Gunawardena as Foreign Minister and not G.L Peiris. “

      can you please back up your claim with some evidence ?

  • 9
    1

    The terms of reference of the expanded investigation into possible commission of humanitarian crimes that MR now wants is so biased that there is a clear indication to pin down only the LTTE and absolve the regime of any criminal acts. While it mentions the LTTE’s “child soldiers” and “human shields”, it (the terms of reference) is totally silent on “shelling of hospitals, indiscriminate firing on civilians in designated no-fire zones, the deliberate understatement of civilians figure to deny food and medicine, etc”.

    A sham and shameful attempt and just like MR’s appointing the army to conduct investigations against its own acts, this would be despised too. This is nothing but a desperate attempt to hide their culpability.

  • 8
    1

    Every now and then something sensible is written that gives us hope. For some time our foreign policy has been dictated by our search for votes at the UN. We ditched principles to get into bed with some unsavoury countries for the simple and often only reason that they will vote for us – and we were expected to reciprocate and support them in turn without question.

    The bone-heads who currently run the EAM cannot see beyond their noses. To them the long and historic relationships we have enjoyed with many countries in the west, were jettisoned in a fit of pique; countries where we had old, established and mostly respected expatriate communities of Sri Lankans – of all hues, and with whom we enjoyed long trading and cultural association.

    The challenge of the moment is to clear the EAM stables of the large numbers of donkeys, sycophants and nepotist appointments that have bedeviled business over the last several years.

    One final point: Gotabaya may have his uses, but he should never ever be allowed to ever display his flappable responses on anything to with foreign affairs.

  • 4
    1

    Above all impeachment of the legitimate Chief Justice Shirani. With the new Cheap Justice the law and order of the country is in the hip pocket of Rajapakse brothers.

  • 1
    1

    Thank you Sinha, at least you have gut to express fearlessly ,critizise the present government.The Sunday Times has consistently maintained the old traditions of independent – and fearless journalism.Thank you again.I feel very sorry about present foreigne policy adopted by this government.Except UK ,Geneva all the other European countries filled by politically connectedpeople or some others as mission head staff members etc.Some of them are openly their business ,not bothered to protect our country.It is a SHAME.why these people selected without following proper procedure.JR,Premadasa ,Chandrika all of them.are followed the same path.Now,MR also following this dirty procedure more efficiantly.Some of them are not only suitable to appoint to head of any foreign mission but I don’t think they are not fit to appoint, even any post as head of institions in Sri Lanka.How or why such a low level,third rate people appointed as head of our mission in Europe.Opening new missions in Africa or Eastern European countries is good steps.But more reletive or henchiya’s may appoint this mission. we never except this type of politically motivated work from our head of state..Because they are representing our country any occation on behalf of our country.Dear Mr.President, if you you are not buildup your good relationship with Western countries.We have no future in our country in this part of the world.Small nation we need but main countries are always decesion makers of this world.They are the main donors of UN for any event.Most of the head of this mission are following their insructions.We cannot depent all the time with China Russia,if you fowllow that way we are isolated in this world very soon.We have to take all and necessary steps to completely overhaul the External Affairs Ministry – its appointments, its total wasteful expenditure and its total lack of focus.Please appoint more forigne Service train senior people as head of our missions of western and devoloping countries.

  • 1
    0

    Responsible for all the blunders in Sri Lankan foreign policy is an idiot called Sajin Vaas. Also a blue eyed boy of the King MR

    • 0
      0

      What is so special about this ex-convict, Dubai wharf clerk that MR
      keeps so close to him and gifts him with so many positions and possessions??? Any bets???

      Hooker

      • 0
        0

        Answer lies in your pen name itself , slightly adjust it to the plural form !

  • 0
    0

    The Sunday Times is the last independent Sinhalese owned media outlet left in Sri Lanka. Since change in ownership The Sunday Leader has abandoned its investigative journalism of government wrongdoing, focusing instead on finding the Tiger bogeyman in every dark corner. The ST’s sister newspaper, The Daily Mirror, has also abandoned its independence and now slavishly follows the government line.

    • 2
      0

      Andy

      “The Sunday Times is the last independent Sinhalese owned media outlet left in Sri Lanka.”

      You could say that.

      However it is not a secular paper in the sense its core values are neither liberal nor democratic.

      It supports unitary state, opposes 13th A and further devolution, believes in majoritarian rule, never whole heartedly argued for a war crime investigation, ……………

      It is an independent Sinhala/Buddhist paper published to serve majoritarian Sinhala/Buddhist interests.

      Read excepts from Sunday Times Editorial:

      Editorial
      Development before Devolution

      Sunday January 18, 2009

      Today, times have changed and tables turned. India is economically in full thrust while Sri Lanka falters. And while India desires peace and stability, the country is faced with the curse of cross-border terrorism unleashed by its own government a quarter of a century ago. But enough of the past. Though India has a moral obligation to end what it started in Sri Lanka, there is a need to look to the future from today – not the past. Unfortunately, one of the remaining hang-ups of the past is for the incumbent Congress Government in New Delhi to stick to the Sri Lanka Constitution’s 13th Amendment which it force-fed on this country through the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987.

      Caught in a time warp of sorts, India insists that the 13th Amendment is the panacea to Sri Lanka’s northern insurgency and the way to a political solution. The Sri Lanka Government is saying “yes”, quite clearly knowing that this is not the answer, but simply wanting to keep this Indian (Congress) Government happy until the LTTE is completely liquidated from the battlefield.
      What the people of the North need now is reconstruction: jobs; to ply their trade, profession and livelihood; schools, universities and technical colleges; infrastructure; petrol; soap; betel leaves; their rice and dhal – not the 13th Amendment.
      Going by what we have seen of the 13th Amendment and its offspring, the Provincial Councils in the South, the people have had enough of it. It has created thoroughly useless councils serving neither the people nor the province. Why should it be any different in the North and East?

      Yes, Mr. Menon has asked for a ‘democratisation’ of the North and East post-LTTE, but this does not mean it need be through the 13th Amendment. There must be fresh thinking of devolution that will help the people administratively, economically and socially, not for political parties to appoint their hangers-on and relatives.

      http://www.sundaytimes.lk/090118/Editorial.html

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