Category Archives: foreign policy

China Sanctions Pompeo and Other Trump Wheeler-Dealers

Item in The Island, 22 January 2020, with this title China slaps sanctions on 28 Trump administration officials, including Pompeo”

China has imposed sanctions on 28 former Trump administration officials, including outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, agency reports said yesterday. In a statement released just minutes after President Biden took office, China’s foreign ministry said it had decided to sanction those “who have seriously violated China’s sovereignty and who have been mainly responsible for such U.S. moves on China-related issues.”

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Investment in Sri Lanka Today: Questionable Steps and Looming Influences

Dr. Sarala Fernando, in The Island, 10 January 2021, with this title Selling the Family Silver” and India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations

A remark attributed to the US Congress that “Sri Lanka is a valuable piece of real estate” had made the news here hinting at the strategic value of our island location. while some had connected the remark to the MCC, an economic project integral to the US pivot to the Indo Pacific. This sudden interest in Sri Lanka’s land assets made the headlines after Harvard economists in 2016 advised on the incorporation of a land project under the MCC to address constraints to national growth by a re-survey, re-valuation and deed grants on lands around the country. Local experts argued that such a programme would lead to pressure on smallholders to sell land to more powerful entities for commercial exploitation increasing rural poverty, environmental and wild life destruction and water scarcity.

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Diego Garcia: USA displayed Its Imperial Intentions in 1975

MERIP Report in 1975: where the title runs thus: “Diego Garcia: New Imperial Roost in the Indian Ocean”

At the end of July [1975], the US Congress decided to allocate funds to expand the present US communications base on Diego Garcia, a small island 1,000 miles south of India in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The decision to fund the expansion of the present installation, coming after a Presidential determination that it is “essential to the national interest,” resolves a long-standing controversy within the US government and military. It also promises to introduce the possibility of a military build-up by the US and the Soviet Union in the Indian Ocean, a development viewed with some concern by the states bordering that Ocean.

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Naseby decimates Tariq Ahmed’s Statement for Its Inaccuracies

Island, 7 December 2020, where the title reads “Lord Naseby: UK policy statement on Lanka riddled with factual inaccuracies”

Lord Naseby, the Honorary President of The All Party Parliamentary British Sri Lanka Group has, on the basis of assurances received from the heads of ICRC, Colombo, on three occasions; denied torture was taking place in post-war Sri Lanka. In a letter addressed to Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, [Naseby] reminded the Minister how some Tamils caused self-harm to gain entry into the UK.

 

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The Samaraweera-Yahapālana Induction of Tony Blair in support of their “Reconciliation Programme” in August 2015

Michael Roberts

A chance finding during my sojourn with Moninna and Ranjit Goonewardena in Galle Fort in July/August 2015 introduced me to the visit of Tony Blair’s family to Sri Lanka in August 2015 ….. See https://thuppahis.com/2020/11/22/tony-blair-and-family-in-galle-mid-august-2015/ As we all know, in 2015 the Yahapālana govt indulged in an about/turn (with US backing) and joined the HR lobbies by saying ‘mea culpa’ at the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva in March/April that year. This programme overturned the presentations pursued earlier by Dayan Jayatilleke and Tamara Kunanayakam under the Mahinda Rajapakse dispensation. Kunanayakam’s competent representations in 2011 earned the undiluted ire of Eileen Donahue (the American ambassador at the UNHCR) who even threatened Kunanayakam verbally on the phone: “we will get you!”.[1] Internal machinations within the Rajapaksa camp, apparently involving Sajjin Vaas Gunawardena and a Ministry staffer Kshenuka Seneviratne, led to Kunanayakam’s displacement a little later.

Donahoe  Samaraweera at UNHCR sessions in 2015

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USA vs China in the Indian Ocean, 1950s-2020

Tony Donaldson. with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi

In 1943, the US tried to establish a military base in Sri Lanka when OSS chief William Donovan invoked a ruse to railroad it into existence. The details of the ruse and how it was played out is a subject for another occasion. The point to be made here is Donovan’s ruse was quickly exposed by Colin Mackenzie, the Head of Force 136 – the name given to the Special Operations Executive organisation in Asia during World War II. As a result, the British rejected Donovan’s proposal for an OSS military base. Had the US established a military base in Sri Lanka in 1943, it would very likely still be there today, asserting US influence over Sri Lanka, its culture, and inflicting great social damage on local communities.

 Banda welcomes Zhou Enlai soon after he steps off the Air India flight at Ratmalana on 31 January 1957.

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Tony Blair and Family in Galle, Mid-August 2015

Michael Roberts

In August 2015 Tony Blair and family visited Sri Lanka  on a private holiday trip[1] and during their stay in Galle resided at the upmarket boutique hotel known as “Amangalla.”[2] When a Sunday dawned on 11th August 2015 they adhered to their Catholic faith and attended mass at the little low-key Catholic Chapel in Lighthouse Street around the corner from Amangalla. So, we now witness a picture of an informal gathering after the service where the Blairs are chatting with Moninna Goonewardena of Parawa Street, Fort Galle, Charmaine Fereira of Galle and Fr. Tharanga Saminathan of the Jesuit Order — a lovely moment etched in ecumenical space.

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Gallipoli, the Disastrous Attack on the Ottomans – A BBC Review in 2015

On the 11th November 2020 BritaIn and its former colonies marked REMEMBRANCE DAY to honour the dead in their 20th century World Wars. On 25th April every year AUSTRALIA and Britiain too remember the dead at Gallipoli … Anzac Day as it is called in Ausralia and New Zealand. In the year 2015, one hundred yeas after the event, the BBC clarified the course of events at Gallipoli with a documentary: ….. including this NOTE =

“Casualties are hard to estimate due to conflicting reports, but here are some approximate numbers …..

    • Around 21,000 British empire troops were killed
    • Some 8,000 Australians
    • 2,500 New Zealanders
    • 55,000 to 85,000 Ottomans

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Mahindapala on Trump and USA after Trump with Kamala Harris in the Biden Team

H. L. D. Mahindapala, in LankaWeb, November 2020, where the title reads: “Post-Trump America with Biden – not to mention Kamala Harris”  …. highlighting by Editor, Thuppahi

Say what you like against Donald Trump, the man was a phenomenon. Whether the legacy he leaves behind is good or bad is a judgement that will be determined finally by those who will feel the impact of his regime in the years to come. Win or lose, (he is losing at the time of writing) he will be remembered as the leader who articulated and released the underlying undercurrents that had been dormant in the political landscape, awaiting a leader to take up the challenge. Trump is the leader that represented the subterranean forces which the pundit class had never expected to rise to levels raised by Trump. Though Trump seems to be doomed at the polls (now its midday – Friday) the Trumpism he generated has the force to haunt US politics in the foreseeable future. One of his ambitions has been to make his  mark in history. He would achieve that place as the most  unorthodox, controversial and unpredictable president ever who bucked the system and won. In short, he has changed the style, the substance and the contours of American politics with  the arrogance of an outsider spitting into the inside.

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Biden’s Challenges –New and Old

SWR De A Samarasinghe, aka “Sam”, in Daily Mirror, 10 November 2020, where the title reads  “Biden Presidency Faces Old Problems and New Challenges”

Joe Biden will assume office as the 46th president of USA on January 20, 2021. He defeated the incumbent Donald Trump in a bitterly fought contest. Biden polled 75.2m (50.7%) votes and has secured 290 of the 538 electoral college votes that are allocated among the states roughly in proportion to the size of the population in each state. Trump polled 70.8m (47.7%) and has 214 electoral college votes. The final vote tallies will be a little higher because some votes are yet to be counted.  But those votes will not affect the result because Biden already has 290, that is above the minimum 270 needed to win.

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