Rebutting Brigadier Ranjan De Silva’s Pro-American Line of Advocac

Fair Dinkum has sent a memorandum in vehement criticism of my Aloysian schoolmate, Brigadier Ranjan De Silva’s Arguments (see below) …… Michael Roberts

The unjustified slurs and smears the Brigadier brings on China cannot go by unchallenged.

First, China didn’t “grab” a harbour of land in Sri Lanka. The word “grab” is a loaded term designed to smear China. There is a history and a context to this [project] which the Brigadier fails to explain. I won’t do so here because all of this has been well documented in many credible sources.

Second, the IMF was founded with the goals of promoting economic cooperation between states to support and grow the world economy. Unfortunately, the IMF has strayed from that objective by intervening into political processes of states by putting disproportionate pressure, especially in lesser developed countries. Their policies have worsened the economic situations for many countries and failed to open the way for economic growth. Also, the US voting percentage in the IMF allows the USA to put veto on all decisions considered against US interests. It is fair to raise these aspects of the IMF to remind us we shouldn’t have high hopes by regarding the IMF as a saviour to the Sri Lankan crisis or believe that it will act in the best interests of Sri Lanka. In fact, it is very likely the economic crisis will worsen in Sri Lanka as a result of IMF intervention.

It’s laughable to claim China “grabs” land, [and then remark that] when the IMF forces countries to sell state assets that is a good solution. If you look at the history of countries in South America, Africa, and even some Western countries like NZ, this kind of restructuring has not improved services or benefited local people. Many of NZ’s state assets were sold in the 1980s into the hands of foreign ownership when the NZ Treasury was heavily influenced by US economic thinking. This included Airways services. At the time of the Airways sale, the New Zealand government realized they would lose control of the airspace above the country and my understanding is that an amendment was required so New Zealand wouldn’t lose sovereignty over its own airspace.

Argentina recently decided to join the BRI rather than take a further IMF loan, mainly because the country is still suffering from IMF loans taken in the past.

About 140 countries have joined the BRI because they see the BRI as a more equitable system, fairer, than anything created by the West. It is an economic system that benefits all countries. The US plans to counter the BRI with their BBB system, but they can’t get it off the ground and probably never will because they are addicted to war and pouring their money into wars all over the world.

China only accounts for 10% of Sri Lanka’s debt. Where is the evidence that money loaned by China has gone directly into the pockets of politicians?

It is wrong to claim China is colonialising Sri Lanka. That is another American lie. This sort of disinformation presents an American worldview, not the truth.

It is also wrong to compare China’s rise to Western colonialism of the 18th and 19th century. The claims the Brigadier has made go well beyond what is fair and reasonable. He is arguing that it will be good for Sri Lanka to sell its state assets to the West. Do you think SL will benefit? No. It’s a loss of sovereignty and it is unnecessary. The current crisis in Sri Lanka is NOT due to China or their loans. An IMF “structural adjustment” known as ESAF (Enhanced Structural Adjustment Programs) isn’t going to solve corruption in Sri Lanka. It will just change its form. An IMF “structural adjustment” will be used to best serve American commercial interests, to enhance financial opportunities for US investors, and to encourage US bankers to invest their surplus dollars in Sri Lanka to serve the strategic interests of the US.

In terms of international relations, China is a far more humane country than any Western power. It doesn’t overthrow governments like the US. It doesn’t plunder the resources of other nations as the West did for centuries. China didn’t go into Africa and Asia with troops, destroying the country and killing millions of people like the West did for hundreds of years. In Ethiopia, for instance, a Chinese delegation visited Addis Ababa in 2004 and offered to build new airports, upgrade the rail system, create a telephone system, and rebuild their roads – and China would do this all for free with no strings attached. And that is what happened.  China did this as soft power as they believed oil would be discovered there and that Ethiopia would be open to China investing in it, but there was no plundering, no Imperialist ambitions. It was purely an economic venture, as it is with any other country China invests.

The Brigadier presents a misleading view of the Sri Lankan crisis attempting to blame it on China tainted with corruption and believes the US-IMF will fix it. Corruption has existed in Sri Lanka long before China became involved there in recent times.

The US is now trying to divide the world between China, Russia, India, South Africa and most other non-western countries on one side; and the West and a few non-Western countries on the other side. If the US succeeds in this plan, it will plunge the world into a recession, bringing the kind of economic chaos that war and sanctions have brought to Pakistan, Peru, and Sri Lanka. In those countries – already battered (a) by the IMF; (b) by the greed of the elites and (c) by foreign embassies – rising fuel prices have transformed an economic crisis into a political crisis.

This is why most Asian countries are staying neutral — because if China’s economy is destroyed, which is what the US is trying to do, then their prosperity will be destroyed too. It is the Chinese economy that is keeping the world afloat, not the US and EU economies. While China is bringing prosperity to many countries across the world, all the US has brought since WW2 is war, destruction and killing millions of people “in the name of democracy and freedom”, “for a good cause”, or “for the greater good” as the US so often uses as reasons to justify it. Other countries prefer to work with China because they see the tangible benefits. The US hates it and that’s why they are bringing chaos all over the world.

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Brigadier Ranjan De Silva’s comment on ARTICLE by Darini Rajasingham Senanayake entitled “Lanka Can De-dollarize? …”, 15 April 2022, ………..

https://thuppahis.com/2022/04/15/lanka-can-de-dollarize-beyond-bananas-beaches-bases-and-dependent-development/#more-60791

This analysis by Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake (DRS) fails to take into account the fact of China grabbing a harbour  and 15,000 acres of Sri Lanka’s land when Sri Lanka was unable to pay back the loan taken. Have you heard IMF doing that anywhere? In fact IMF has even forgiven loans given to some countries. IMF will advise Eg: Sri Lanka to take measures to eliminate corruption. Is that bad advice? IMF will advise Eg Sri Lanka to restructure/privatise state owned enterprises, the second major reason for the country’s financial collapse. Is that bad advice too? IMF helps a country to govern itself better, not to colonise. Whereas China lends money to a country like a money lender.She does not care whether that money is spent for the good of the people or whether the taker pockets it. Corrupt politicians are very fond of China, even calls China Sri Lanka’s best friend.In the 18th century the weapon of imperialism was the gun. Today the weapon of imperialism is MONEY. China is weilding  this weapon most efficiently today — better than US, UK or any country in the wWest. This kind of analysis, if not refuted, will result in Sri Lanka being colonised again – this time by China.

A NOTE: 

Brigadier Ranjan De Silva’s comment on ARTICLE by Darini Rajasingham Senanayake entitled “Lanka Can De-dollarize? …”, 15 April 2022, ………. https://thuppahis.com/2022/04/15/lanka-can-de-dollarize-beyond-bananas-beaches-bases-and-dependent-development/#more-60791

This analysis by Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake (DRS) fails to take into account the fact of China grabbing a harbour  and 15,000 acres of Sri Lanka’s land when Sri Lanka was unable to pay back the loan taken. Have you heard IMF doing that anywhere? In fact IMF has even forgiven loans given to some countries. IMF will advise Eg: Sri Lanka to take measures to eliminate corruption. Is that bad advice? IMF will advise Eg Sri Lanka to restructure/privatise state owned enterprises, the second major reason for the country’s financial collapse. Is that bad advice too? IMF helps a country to govern itself better, not to colonise. Whereas China lends money to a country like a money lender.She does not care whether that money is spent for the good of the people or whether the taker pockets it. Corrupt politicians are very fond of China, even calls China Sri Lanka’s best friend.In the 18th century the weapon of imperialism was the gun. Today the weapon of imperialism is MONEY. China is weilding  this weapon most efficiently today — better than US, UK or any country in the wWest. This kind of analysis, if not refuted, will result in Sri Lanka being colonised again – this time by China.

A BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

RANJAN DE SILVA was at St Aloysius College in the 1950s in my time and was also an undergrad at Peradeniya University in the late 1950s in my time. I was surprised when he became an Army officer because he did not participate in sports as far as I could recall.

His profile in Linked In …. https://lk.linkedin.com/in/brigadier-ranjan-de-silva-2933174a ………………… reveals that he became a mercantile executive after retiring from the SL Army …. And that he held the post of “Company Director” at the Prestige Automobile Co (Pvt) Ltd from 1995-2012.His present intervention in the debate on the parlous situation n Sri Lanka is from Canada.

8 Comments

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8 responses to “Rebutting Brigadier Ranjan De Silva’s Pro-American Line of Advocac

  1. N W Goonewardena

    Sadly, Brig De Silva is blindly singing prayers for the IMF. He says privatization is good. What is his evidence for that statement? We don’t rebuke privatization completely. But very often, government entities are sold well below the actual market value to political cronies, who, themselves, are not capable of running these enterprises efficiently. If public ownership is bad, Brigadier De Silva, how is it that Singapore Airlines ran profitably and efficiently for over 20 years as a government entity?
    Also, why are you only talking of China’s involvement in the Sri Lankan economy? Aren’t the Indians equally involved? And what about the US involvement in Keravalapitiya? Are you going to tell us in your childish ways, that the US and India are good boys, whereas the Chinese are naughty boys?
    It is not Chinese imperialism that we have to be worried about. It is the imperialism, that is repeatedly unleashed on countries like ours by the IMF and its cowboys, that we have to protect ourselves from.
    Brigadier, it is obvious, that you have a biased, and unsubstantiated view of many things, institutions, and countries. So, please read from the vast literature available on these issues, and read all sides of the stories. I am confident that if you do so, you will change your views on many things, particularly, the IMF.

  2. Brigadier (Rtd) Ranjan de Silva

    I entered my comment just now – Reply to NW Goonewardena and posted.But it did not appear. I am disappointed.I hope tHUPPAHI can explain. Thanks

  3. Brigadier (Rtd) Ranjan de Silva

    I kindly request Thuppahi’s Blog to help me retrieve my reply to NW Goonewardena.

  4. This COMMENT has just been approved. Your REPLY to NW Goonewardena did not enter the site –for reasons I know not. The WORD PRESS system enables The Editor Thuppahi to monitor “COMMENTS” …But The Editor does not have a 24 hour working day …so TIME elapses between “comments’ …and their entry into digital space. Dp please enter your COMMENT once again within the space above.

    It is 2.00 am now and i am going to bed so it will eventually appear at some point tomorrow evening or night.

  5. Brigadier (Rtd) Ranjan de Silva

    Here’s my reply to NW Goonewardena (NWG) once again.Hope it will appear this time.
    (1) Evidence of privatization being better than the state sector: The single biggest reason for Sri Lanka’s (SL) bankruptcy today are the state owned enterprises. (SOEs) (The other is mega corruption.) It was through capitalism that SL’s colonial ruler Britain built SL’s economy to be among the foremost in the region.SL had no debts when Britain handed over the country for self rule.Socialist economics and with it nationalisations started in 1956 and with it the country’s economic descent began. Marxism/Communism/socialism failed in it’s mother country, Russia. In Communist China,in 1978, Deng Ziao Peng said “A cat is good if it catches mice even if it is made of clay,” and turned communism on its head and opened the door to private enterprise and invited foreign investments into China.It is only thereafter that the Chinese economy began to rise and become the economic super power China is today. China has the most number of millionaires today. In India, PM Modi said “The government has no business in business,” and told the world’s entrepreneurs to come over and “make in India.” He privatised Indian Airlines, selling it to TATAs. Communist Vietnam discarded centrally planned economy and opened the door to private enterprise and FDIs. Samsung (S Korea) has three factories in VIetnam employing over 50,000.Vietnam sought and obtained IMF help. Vietnam is a great ally of the US today,her former enemy.Her relations with China, the country that helped immensely to drive away US from the south and unify north and south, have cooled.Vietnam is on the road to becoming an Asian Tiger.
    (2) Indian and US “involvement” in the the SL economy. These are joint ventures (JVs) JVs and FDIs are well established strategies today for economic development. China was perhaps the greatest beneficiary today. (NWG: Read para 1 once again.). China’s investments are indicative of a different motive. Eg: China funded the construction of the Hambantota Harbour. SL could not pay back. China took over the harbour in lieu. China did not want to renegotiate the terms. What did China do to Djibouti? Please read what some African countries have to say about China’s investments in their countries.
    (3) Imperialism. Western imperialism is history. They learnt their lessons and they have changed their ways. Now they are helping countries they ruled over. Please quantify the amount of aid Britain has given us. Nay more. They helped both Japan and Germany they vanquished in WWII to rise again. Today both these countries have overtaken Britain and France,two of the three victorious powers. The new imperialists are to be found elsewhere. See what Russia is doing in Ukraine;and Crimea before that..(I wont be surprised if NWG finds reasons to defend Russia’s actions.) Then see China’s policy towards Taiwan. Her policy towards maritime boundaries she shares with neighbouring countries like Philippines for example.Her border dispute with India.China’s annexation of Tibet.China’s intransigence relating to loans given to SL.I am absolutely certain,if IMF had given those loans, IMF would never have taken over the H/Harbour.
    (4) Brigadier is “biased” holds “unsubstantiated views” and must “read all sides of the stories….”
    Ha ha ha aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  6. Roni Abey

    Michael Roberts- Ranjan de Silva when at St Aloysius was the college table tennis champion. Also he entered the quarter final stage in the National Table Tennis Championship tournament and this was headlined in the Daily News Sports page as ”Galle school boy enters quarter finals”. Sadly the college
    prevented him from continuing with the tournament.

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