Placing Sri Lanka’s Woes in the International Context: Critical Comments on the Marga Readings

Jean Pierre-Page, an original essay in a friendly critique of the Marga Think Tank’s Review of the UNPoE and International Order’s Interventions over Sri Lanka — specifically the booklet entitled Issues of Truth and Accountability. The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka (2014) …. with the title of this presentation and the highlighting in blue being liberties imposed by the Editor, Thuppahi.

jean-pierre-page    aamarga

I would like to share with you a few ideas in relation to the 3rd narrative of the last stage of the war in Sri Lanka. I will try to make myself as clear as possible! I don’t believe in this notion that it is the influence of the Tamil Diaspora that determines Washington’s foreign policy and that of its Western allies! And I think it is very wrong and dangerous to put all the Tamil Diaspora in one basket. Most Tamils I know outside this country do not support a separate State. They are not separatists, and they are not Terrorists.[i] If Sri Lanka is to formulate an offensive strategy rather than a defensive one, it should take my reflections here  into consideration!

Of course, the Tamil separatist forces outside do have relations with Washington and its allies, but these relations are determined by the national and geostrategic objectives of the US and its allies, as we have seen in Afghanistan, or now in Iraq, Syria and the Ukraine. For the West, when it suits their objectives, they are good Tamil Tigers and when it doesn’t, they are bad Tamil Tigers, like the good jihadists and bad jihadists. It all depends on the circumstances. Today, the LTTE has been defeated, but tomorrow it can become useful again![ii]

aa-marga-team-in-geneva-2014 Marga team in Geneva, September 2014 aajeevan Jeevan Thiagarajah of the CHA

That is why I find most of the political comments and reflections in Sri Lanka very introspective. They are not concrete observations of the reality.

1– When I speak of reality, I mean today’s global reality, with its tensions, its geopolitical, economic, security and military challenges. How can we speak of a third narrative on the last period of the war without taking into account the reality of the world, its balance of forces as it was then, and as it is today?

Once a very senior French Ambassador told me in Beijing, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union: “to understand the meaning of international and diplomatic relations, you must look at a map and understand the relation between geography and strategy.” He was quite right. Years later, when I read Zbignew Brejinski’s book “The Grand Chessboard,”[iii] where he affirms “we must always fear Russia, even a capitalist Russia, and an anti-hegemonic alliance between China, Russia and India,” I understood even better what this very senior French Ambassador had meant.

Therefore, if you look at a map of today’s global chessboard, characterized by the [USA’s] strategy of encirclement to roll back the space of Russia, China, India,[iv] or when you see where the conflicts are taking place, or where NATO’s ballistic defense system is placed and the disposition of US and NATO forces in this region, especially naval forces,[v]  you will understand why the war in Sri Lanka lasted 30 years and why today the US needs to get a foothold here! That’s why they need a regime change, and they can do it with or without sections of the Tamil diaspora. However, regime change is not a final goal, only a means to facilitate their global objectives.

I think, if a narrative is to make any sense, we must take a closer look at this fundamental aspect of the international situation and how it has influenced the conflict in Sri Lanka!

To understand the international aspects of what has happened and what is happening now in Sri Lanka, we must understand the UN as a reflection of this global reality. In fact, the UN, which is a multilateral system and belongs to all of us, is totally dependent and manipulated by civil society mercenaries that are financed by the US and the EU, as shown in the implementation of R2P.[vi] It is the use of “soft power” that Joseph Nye talks about.[vii]

When you play chess, every move has an importance! The problem here is that not enough people think globally.

Your adversary is the US, but the name of the US is never pronounced, it has become a taboo and very few speak about Obama’s “Asia pivot strategy”.[viii] How do we analyze the objectives of Washington in Sri Lanka and the methods used compared to those used in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, the Gaza, or to destabilize progressive regimes in Latin America

These conflicts and tensions are the consequences of a global strategy and have to do with gaining access to energy resources and control over production and transport of oil, gas and water through domination of economic corridors, especially maritime corridors. The acceleration of conflicts and tensions is the result of the sharpening of the systemic crisis of the capitalist system. Today, with the declining means to guarantee its global supremacy, Washington is faced with a crisis of leadership.[ix] The desperate attempts of a dying super power to maintain global supremacy was one of the main reasons for the dismantling of former Yugoslavia and more recently Libya. Today, the same is true for Ukraine and the challenge represented by its enormous reserves of shale gas.[x]

2– Now, this is my second remark. I have try to show why the US and its western allies are involved in Sri Lanka. Now I would like to look at the type of soft power they are likely to use. [xi]

In 500 years BC, Sun Tzu wrote in his book The Art of War: “supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”[xii]

A strategic ‘Balkanisation’ of societies everywhere is being utilized to destabilize entire continents.[xiii] This is done through provoking tidal waves of ethnic, religious, and political anarchy that can dismember countries and civilizations. The idea is to create ‘black holes of chaos’.

The US has historically undertaken regime change operations as a method of advancing continental destabilization and pushing Western power deeper into Eurasia. But I repeat, regime change is not the finality, it is only the means by which Washington seeks to achieve its ‘black holes of chaos’ strategy.

People here [in Sri Lanka] often speak of regime change in a very simplistic way as if the West was jealous of Sri Lanka’s achievements and its ability to defeat the most ruthless terrorist organization, the LTTE. But no one explains why this little island of Sri Lanka, even should it one day become the Wonder of Asia, arouses so much attention in Washington and Brussels! Regime change has always been a characteristic of American foreign policy. Since Syria in 1949, it is estimated that the CIA has overthrown or attempted to overthrow over 50 governments, although it has only admitted to seven.[xiv] Today covert regime change operations are preferred when the interests of Great Powers are at stake.

Colour Revolutions[xv] are externally supported pro-Western “coups d’états”. They specifically use social media and NGOs as tools to infiltrate societies, increase their ranks, and to expand their efficiency once the regime change operation has commenced. By manipulating large groups of people, the illusion is created of a broad grassroots movement of disaffected masses rising up against a tyrannical dictatorship.

This misleading perception enables the coup attempt to gain wide support and acceptance among the Western community and civil society, and also denigrates the legitimate authorities that are trying to put down the illegal overthrow.

This new Obama method of soft warfare is extremely effective. It presents the affected State or government with the dilemma – to use force against the civilian protesters or resign! Therefore, it is not difficult to see why they have been deployed all over. They have replaced ‘traditional’ CIA coup action and have become the modus operandi of covert regime change.

A global shift in US strategy is currently underway, with the US shifting from being the “global policeman” to the “Lead from Behind” mastermind providing support to Colour Revolutions.[xvi] Washington prefers a strategy of indirect approaches to projecting power rather than massive invasions and bombing runs.

3– In conclusion, as shown by the vote for the US resolution in Geneva, today the balance of forces has grown in favor of the West and against Sri Lanka!  Why? How do we explain this dangerous trend? The US buys the votes of certain countries, but that is not new, and the argument is not sufficient! More important they have been allowed to hijack the UN institution and this is widely underestimated.[xvii] Sri Lanka is going in a wrong direction by privileging bilateral negotiations with an unequal “partner”! The UN was created in favor of small countries, guaranteeing sovereign equality among all States. Therefore, for countries such as Sri Lanka, the only political choice is to negotiate within a multilateral framework, where it can build a balance of forces in its favour.

Sri Lanka, during the war and since, has had to confront these geostrategic challenges. If Sri Lanka is to formulate an offensive strategy rather than a defensive one, it should take all these into considerations.

CENTRAL TEXTS

Marga 2011 An Analysis and Evaluation of The Report of the Advisory Panel to the UNSG nn the Final Stages of the War in Sri Lanka, https://www.dropbox.com/s/0eybj1ynej6spaa/The%20Darusman%20Report-%20Final%20doc-2.doc

Marga 2014 Issues of Truth and Accountability. The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka, https://www.dropbox.com/s/tdxwntf7wu5andq/The%20Last%20Stages%20of%20the%20war%20in%20Sri%20Lanka.pdf?n=66191473

Island, “MARGA-CHA third narrative,” 16 August 2014, http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=108627

Jeevan Thiagarajah:  “The “Third Narrative”About the Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka and Related Issues of Truth and Accountability,” 13 August 2014, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/32461

SUBSIDIARY TEXTS

Jeevan Thiagarajah: Confronting the OCHR Investigation in Geneva, September 2014: Memorandum from Jeevan Thiagarajah,” 19 November 2015,https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/confronting-the-ochr-investigation-in-geneva-september-2014-memorandum-from-jeevan-thiagarajah/#more-18481

Sunday Times: “Marga/CHA confront the OISL Investigation in Geneva, September 2014: Godfrey Gunatilleke in Q and A with Lasanda Kurukulasuriya,” 19 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/margacha-confront-the-oisl-investigation-in-geneva-september-2014-godfrey-gunatilleke-in-q-and-a-with-lasanda-kurukulasuriya/#more-18492

Jeevan Thiagarajah: “Marga/CHA in Advocacy with BRIC Nations at Geneva, September 2014,” 19 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/margacha-in-advocacy-with-bric-nations-at-geneva-september-2014/#more-18498

“Marga & CHA Press Their Views in the Washington Den,” via Jeevan Thiagarajah: “Memo on Visit to Washington, 16-23rd October 2014: Resetting the Discourse on Post-War Issues of Accountability,” 19 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=18505&action=edit&postpost=v2

Gerald H. Peiris: “The Doctrine of Responsibility to Protect: Impulses, Implications and Impact,” 30 June 2010, http://www.slguardian.org/2010/06/the-doctrine-of-responsibility-to-protect-impulses-implications-and-impact/  AND https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/from%3A(geraldpeiris%40yahoo.com)+OR+to%3A(geraldpeiris%40yahoo.com)/1510fc7141751033?projector=1

Michael Roberts:Lilliputs in a World of Giants: Marga and CHA bat for Lanka in the Propaganda War, 2009-14,” 18 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/lilliputs-in-a-world-of-giants-marga-and-cha-bat-for-lanka-in-the-propaganda-war-2009-14/#more-18467

Michael Roberts: “Sturdy Advocacy: Marga’s Questioning of the UNPoE’s Assassination Job,” 25 November 2009, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=18544&action=edit&postpost=v2

[David Blacker]: The War Situation in a Nutshell, 12th April 2009, as David Blacker destroys Arundhati Roy’s Emotional Fantasies,” 15 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/the-war-situation-in-a-nutshell-12th-april-2009-as-david-blacker-destroys-arundhati-roys-emotional-fantasies/#more-18411

International Pressures & Island Fissures: Gunatilleke faces Ratnawalli,”  5 November 2015  https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/international-pressures-island-fissures-gunatilleke-faces-ratnawalli/

Greg Sheridan 2015a “No Sermons from the Ludicrous UNHCR Please,” 12 November 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/no-sermons-from-the-ludicrous-unhcr-please/

Greg Sheridan 2015b “Disasters from Western Action and R2P in the Middle East,”   19november 2015, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/disasters-from-western-action-and-r2p-in-the-middle-east-when-will-we-ever-learn/

***     ***

ENDNOTES

[i] In La pensée libre n° 23/24 « Sri lanka Qui sont nos ennemis, qui sont nos amis » by Jean-Pierre Page, 17/07/2011, http://www.lapenseelibre.org

[ii] In La pensée libre n° 42 « entretien avec Jean-Pierre Page », 18/07/2011

[iii] In Zbignew Brejinski « The grand chessboard » 1997

[iv] Idem.

[v]  In «Foreign Affairs », Robert kaplan 03/04/2009

[vi] In “Responsibility to protect Vs sovereignty of the people,” Tamara Kunanayakam, 17/04”2013

[vii]  In « Soft power, the means to success in world politics » Joseph Nye Public Affairs, 2004

[viii] In « Asia pivot strategy » Barack Obama, 2014

[ix] In Miguel d’escotto Brockman, Managua, 28/02/2011.

[x] In “National Security Strategy” USA 2015

[xi] See Joseph Nye, Public Affairs 2004

[xii] In “the Art of War” Sun Tzu.

[xiii] See « Project prophecy » Jim Rickards.

[xiv] In « Rogue State » William Blum, 2005 In « Rogue State » William Blum, 2005

[xv] In « The politics of non violent action », Gene Sharp, 1973

[xvi]  See Gene Sharp

[xvii] [xvii] In « La reforme des Nations Unies telle qu’elle a été proposée par le secrétaire général Kofi Annan, Jean-Pierre Page and Tamara Kunanayakam, La Pensée libre n°32, 18/11/2011

 

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Filed under accountability, american imperialism, australian media, authoritarian regimes, centre-periphery relations, China and Chinese influences, economic processes, energy resources, island economy, landscape wondrous, LTTE, military strategy, modernity & modernization, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, Responsibility to Protect or R2P, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, truth as casualty of war, UN reports, world events & processes

4 responses to “Placing Sri Lanka’s Woes in the International Context: Critical Comments on the Marga Readings

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