Big Power Manoeuvres in and around Sri Lanka: The Bandarage Essay

Mr C .… an orignal piece for Thuppahi** … with highlighting being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

I found Asoka Bandarage’s essay was okay, but it suffers from a few argumentative flaws I will discuss in this article.  The writer has made many claims. Some of these I agree with. Her main argument comes towards the end of the article which may be summarized as follows: Sri Lanka must avoid being exploited by foreign powers or caught up in geopolitical adventures played out between India, China and the US – a goal which it can achieve by creating food and energy security for itself by exploiting natural resources, and she mentions an area of Sri Lanka containing oil and gas resources. We know Sri Lanka is a fertile land and can easily sustain rice and food crops, if managed properly.

 

While I agree Sri Lanka should strive for its own food and energy security, I am not sure this will be achievable in the case of energy security without significant foreign investment, which means the geopolitical problems she refers to are unlikely to go away.

I also disagree with some of the key assumptions which weaken Bandarage’s main argument which are discussed next.

Let me begin by saying a cold war does not exist between the US and China.  China is not fighting a cold war against any country. Indeed, China is trying its best to avoid a cold war. Its interests in countries around the world are economic, not military, or imperialistic. It is the US that is waging a war against China on two fronts: (1) an information war, and (2) an economic war. China is not waging an information or economic war against the US or any Western country. There is no evidence to substantiate such a claim.

The big question is why is the US waging a war on China? First, the US and its Western allies stubbornly refuse to accept China’s economic rise in the world largely because the US economy and its global power base is in rapid decline. The US is attempting to reverse this decline by trying to divide the world against China and Russia. What we are seeing in the 21st century is a repeat of 16th to 19th century Western thinking that White-European races in the US, UK, Europe and Australia still have the right to control the world. These White-European countries still have the same colonial mindset that their forefathers had in the 1800s and are completely incapable of changing their mindset to suit the conditions of the 21st century. We were led to believe Western colonialism ended at the conclusion of WW2, and in the decades after, but the world has been fooled and misled by the Western imperialists in Washington and NATO.

Second, the US and its QUAD partners are trying to contain China’s rise and sabotage its economy so as to regain its global dominant position. The US totally rejects the UN vision of creating a world in which all countries can participate on a level playing field. This is why the US created their own “International Rules Based Order” in which the US set the rules that other countries must follow, except the US and its allied partners in the EU and QUAD can freely change the rules to suit them.

If a cold war does exist, then it is a war fought on one side by the Americans. To suggest China is involved in a cold war is wrong. China is trying to avoid being drawn into a cold war. In fact, it has good relations with most of the world in the Middle East, Africa and the Global South, and that is why the US are now targeting countries in these areas in an attempt to sabotage China’s relationships around the world. But the US will not be successful.

Worse still, if the US continue down this path, then a global war is inevitable, which could turn into a nuclear war that will destroy all of us. But as one silly wit in Washington said, “It will be a pleasant destruction” perhaps because the 40 odd US billionaires will make a massive profit out of it.

The QUAD alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India is not directly seeking control over Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean, and neither is China. While much is made of the QUAD alliance, it is never mentioned in the media that China does not form military alliances. It opposes military alliances and supports an international system in which all countries can have a say, not just the US and its puppy dog nations like Australia and Japan who are trying the get their “Big Balls” over the rest of us.

China also objects to the way the US applies huge pressure on countries to conform to US foreign policy objectives by using weapons of fear in which countries failing to comply will face retribution and punishment from the US, which often includes creating the conditions for a coup – often disguised as “a popular uprising” – to topple governments that have a different worldview to the US government.

It is also never mentioned in the media that we do not see China trying to contain the US or sabotage its economy. Why should China try to do so? The US are well capable of achieving self-isolation and economic destruction on its own.

There is a huge difference between China and the US in how they partner with countries. I would agree the US, and its Western partners exploit countries like Sri Lanka and even seek to gain control over them. China doesn’t do this. If we study the way China operates, they have not interfered into Sri Lankan politics or sought control over any aspect of the country. China’s law forbids it from interfering or even giving financial advice to Sri Lanka, whereas US foreign policy is geared to always giving advice to exploit and gain control over other countries, often in the form of loans. It is wrong, if not dangerous, to assume China and the US are playing the same geopolitical game in Sri Lanka, or any other country. We know the game the US is playing because it has been well-documented in many credible sources, but most scholars and commentators are far from understanding China’s thinking and approaches in international relations. When Western academics and media commentators do try to explain China, their writings invariably turn into anti-China propaganda which is totally useless.

Sri Lankans should also remember that China was the first country to congratulate the Sri Lankan government on ending the war in 2009. As far as I know, the US and UK did not do the same.

Another issue about the Bandaage essay is that some of the facts and figures quoted require verification. For instance, the extent of Sri Lanka’s debt crisis, and exactly where the money is owed; and the statement that the US, China, and India have extended Sri Lanka a $1 billion credit line “to provide essential food and medicine”.  There have been reports India has provided $1 billion to Sri Lanka, while a Sri Lankan diplomat has been in Beijing negotiating a further $2 billion assistance which he believes will be approved. What has the US offered? It wants to establish a US military base in Sri Lanka to satisfy US foreign policy goals.

 

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One response to “Big Power Manoeuvres in and around Sri Lanka: The Bandarage Essay

  1. David Wei

    there are other differences between the US and China.
    For example, an US citizen, or anyone else living there, can openly criticize the US govt, take it to court. They can lampoon or poke fun at their president, even say he looks and walks like Winnie the Pooh. They can demonstrate against it. In essence those people are free. Ask the people of Hong Kong and Tibet. Totally unlike so many “admirers’ and ‘advocates’ of China who wouldnt even consider living there, but choose to live in the very Western countries they repeatedly criticise and appear to despise. Not entirely different to the multitude of Sri Lankan ‘patriots’ who couldnt wait to leave Sri Lanka.

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