Sarath Gamani De Silva, in The Sunday Island, 26 February 2021, where the title runs “Problems in Geneva: Facts that brought us here””
The annual patriotic taunts and the laments of the majority are heard as the day of reckoning approaches in Geneva. We are shouting ourselves hoarse, complaining that the whole world is ganging up against the brave Sri Lankans, to punish them for eliminating the most brutal terrorist outfit the world has ever seen. It is true that what was achieved in 2009 is something that no other country could do in eliminating terrorism. But does that guarantee peace when the basic grievances that led to civil unrest over the years have not been addressed?
This article is not an attempt to justify violence, untruth or deplorable and unprincipled activities of other countries. Nor is it to devalue the achievements up to 2009. The intention is to open the eyes of my own countrymen to the reality of the hopeless situation facing the nation.
The present-day sky is crowded. Airways crisscross above continents and oceans and are severely congested with all kinds of aeroplanes carrying passengers and cargo. Then someone crashes, people die, and we say “What a shame!” The manufacturers start defending their aeroplane, the insurance companies look for loopholes to creep through and save their bacon. Of course, there is always the ever-present ‘pilot error’ verdict to take the final blame. That is what happens in air crashes and crash causes. The dying or the surviving is seldom man-made. It is all done upstairs and has little to do with what we deduce from what we know or hear. I’ve seen enough of the sky and what happens in it to figure that out.
Raj Gonslkoralein Daily FT, 25 February 2021, where the title runs thus: ÜNHRC What is the real agenda?”tH
The US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken seems to give an indication as to what the real agenda behind his and his country’s support for this resolution. [the UNHRC one]. He speaks of “lack of accountability for past atrocities”. This statement implies that atrocities were committed if there is to be accountability for them.
An Email Memorandum from Gus Mathews in London, c. 24 February 2021[i]
Michael, I am afraid there are no niceties in war. War is brutal as is the detritus of war. Unlike in a conventional war where the behaviours of troops are defined by the ‘Geneva Convention,’ it is not applicable in a civil insurrection especially one that attacks a legitimately elected democratic government. No country is bound to tolerate a secessionist group especially one that utilises terror to achieve its ends. History is replete with examples of civil wars that were prompted by secession. The most glaring example is the United States civil war. We also have an example from Vietnam and currently ongoing is the Korean debacle.
Tiger dead collected by the SL Army …. and Tamil civlians incl Tigers in civies leaving the final battle arena east of Nandhikadal Lagoon
see Roberts, Tamil Person & State. Pictorial, Colombo, 2014 for details and more Pix
Teddy Ng,South China Morning Post, 24 February 2021: “China and Singapore start joint naval drills
Military cooperation with its neighbours to counter US pressure
Beijing aims to counter growing challenge from Washington to its claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea
Singapore naval servicemen wave to a departing Chinese frigate after a previous joint exercise. Photo: Xinhua
Beijing is moving to get its efforts to boost defence ties with its Southeast Asian neighbours back on track, with the start of a joint exercise on Wednesday between the Chinese and Singapore navies. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted some of China’s plans for greater military engagement in the region, aimed at countering the growing US challenge to Beijing’s claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea.
In a short statement, the Chinese defence ministry said the drill with the Singapore navy would include joint search and rescue, as well as communication, exercises. “This exercise is a consensus reached by the two navies, aimed at enhancing mutual trust, deepening friendship, promoting cooperation, and jointly promoting the construction of a maritime community with a shared future,” navy spokesman Gao Xiucheng said in the statement.
The drill is part of a 2019 agreement to deepen military ties between the two countries, which last conducted a joint naval drill in 2016. The agreement includes more high-level dialogue, academic and think tank exchanges, as well as an increase in the scale of existing bilateral exercises.
Beijing has been boosting its defence ties with its neighbours in response to stepped-up freedom of navigation operations by the US in the South China Sea. But the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted some of its planned manoeuvres.
About 3,000 Cambodian and Chinese soldiers were to take part in a two-week exercise with live ammunition next month. The drill was reportedly suspended by Cambodia, which blamed the pandemic and heavy flooding that damaged the country’s infrastructure.
Collin Koh,a maritime security analyst with Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said China was making up ground with the latest joint exercise after its defence diplomacy in the region was affected by the pandemic. He pointed out that forces in most Southeast Asian countries had been heavily involved in pandemic control, reducing the potential for joint military exercises with China.
“Even if China is keen to engage in more intense defence diplomacy, the Southeast Asian partners have to be similarly willing and enthused about it,” Koh said.“Much of the governments’ attention has been on pandemic control – for w hich their militaries are also quite heavily involved in routine day-to-day operations, especially border security – which has consequently reduced their bandwidth to engage in as much defence diplomacy as they would have desired,” he said.
The South China Sea dispute explained
Koh said the latest exercise between China and Singapore covered only the basic elements common in drills with the US and other partners such as Thailand, but was a sign that Beijing was consolidating its ties with Southeast Asia.
The Biden administration has vowed to strengthen US alliances in the region, pledging to support
in case of an attack in the South China Sea, where Manila and Beijing have competing territorial claims.
In a call with Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in early February, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US-Singapore security and economic relationship was important, and affirmed the desire to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Definitely, given there’s little change expected in the Biden administration’s policy towards China, except in the approach to be undertaken, we can expect Beijing to continue to seek to improve defence diplomacy in Southeast Asia,” Koh said. “But again, the pandemic does hamper how much of an inroad can be made for now,” he added.
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Jevans Nyabiage, in South China Morning Post, 21 February 2021, with this title ‘Debt-trap diplomacy’ a myth: no evidence China pushes poor nations to seize their assets, says academic
There is no evidence China aims to deliberately push poor countries into debt as a way of seizing their assets or gaining a greater say in their internal affairs, researchers and analysts said – countering Washington’s narrative that China was engaging in “debt-trap diplomacy”. Deborah Brautigam, a professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University and founding director of the China Africa Research Initiative (Cari), considers the “debt-trap” narrative a myth.
Mathias Keitle, a German scholar from Statalendorf ++
Sri Lanka eliminated a dreaded terrorist group, with intricate global links, but receives little credit for it! Unlike elsewhere in the world, Sri Lanka has succeeded in resettling 300,000 IDPs (Internal Displaced Persons). There are no starving children for the NGOs to feed but this gets ignored!
Sri Lanka has avoided mass misery, epidemics and starvation, but the West takes no notice of this. Sri Lanka has attained enviable socio-economic standards for a developing country while eliminating terrorism but gets no
Writing in the Daily Newsin March 2019 and deploying the affirmation of a South African diplomat, Jeevan Thiagarajah has lamented the alleged fact that the VOC Black African used slave labourto build the imposing Fort of Galle – even asserting that “an estimated 15,000 Africans brought from Portuguese and Dutch colonies” worked on this project. Thiagarajah is a political scientist and not a historian. His essay is clearly riding on the back of the movement “Black Lives Matter.” But in this populist move to earn kudos (as I speculate), he displays abysmal historical background and has failed to consult the many personnel next door to him in Colombo who would have served up solid data on the topic – notably Ashley De Vos (who has subsequently, albeit briefly, questioned Jeevan’s claim).
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.