Category Archives: authoritarian regimes

The Many Strands of the Chinese Dragon in Asia and the Pacific: Debt Trap, etc etc

Tara Francis Chan, in Business Insider, 21 June 2018, with this title “How China tried to shut down Australian media coverage of its debt-trap diplomacy in the Pacific”

The wind blows a red flag onto the face of an honour guard before a welcome ceremony for Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard outside the Great Hall of the People on April 9, 2013 in Beijing, China.
  • A Chinese Embassy official yelled and made demands of an Australian producer to try and censor an episode of “60 Minutes” that would be critical of China.
  • The Chinese Communist Party regularly tries to interfere with foreign Chinese-language media, a former consular diplomat who defected to Australia told Business Insider, but targeting English-language media is rare.
  • The “60 Minutes” report covered China’s debt-trap diplomacy in the Pacific, including a loan to Vanuatu for a wharf which experts are concerned could be used by the Chinese military.
  • Vanuatu’s foreign minister also said China, and Australia, expects support at the UN in return for financing.

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Infantry Warfare and the Final Phase of Eelam War IV: Where Laymen Blunder into Infantile Assessments

Michael Roberts

 In his typically feisty style Mark Salter has taken issue with the characterization of a statement in his To End a Civil War as “infantile”  (within an article based on the Lt Col Gash files[1]). [This protest is now reproduced at the end of this essay as well]. Salter’s assertion is from an UTHR report which in turn is based on appraisals provided by Tamil civilians who survived the last stages of the war. Here I address both Salter and Rajan Hoole, a friend of mine and the central figure behind the exhaustive 2009 UTHR reports.

Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the LTTE separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu…Sri Lankan Tamil civilians arrive to a government-controlled area after fleeing territory controlled by the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) separatist rebels in Puthukkudiyirippu, northeast Sri Lanka, March 26, 2009. Pictures taken March 26, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer (SRI LANKA POLITICS CONFLICT IMAGE OF THE DAY TOP PICTURE)

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Aussie News-Editor wants China kept out of the Pacific

Paul Maley, in The Australian,18 June 2018, where the title is China can’t be allowed to expand it’s influence in Pacific”

Australia cannot make the same mistakes in the Pacific that it made in the South China Sea, where Beijing militarised the area quickly and without serious challenge. China was successful because it moved incrementally and with a finely judged sense of risk. Sand was dredged, islands were created, runways were built, and, lastly, weapon systems were deployed. Individually none of these measures warranted much more than mild protest, but collectively they changed the strategic balance in the region.

Beijing has militarised a lot of the South China Sea

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Facing Palihakkara: Foreign Judges on Homeland Soil?

Darshanie Ratnawallie in Daily Mirror, 13 June 2018, with the title reading “Diplomacy and Foreign Judges”

Could there be a keener pleasure than to sit around a fire and discuss diplomacy with a diplomat? Of course, there is no fire; just coffee, and that only in plastic cups, which nevertheless provides the fire, inside, instead of outside, but with the same cheering and relaxing power.

  
It’s after the coffee break at the ‘Education Institute’ and Ambassador Palihakkara has invited questions. “You said we cannot operate in isolation. But we have opposed the intervention of foreign judges in HR issues. As a diplomat how do you view this?” a student asks. Palihakkara makes it clear that he views it with disfavour, and concern and has no doubts that the same degree of disfavour would be forthcoming from every country, were such a thing suggested to them.    Continue reading

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Western Neo-Colonialism Today: An Incisive Note from Tony Donaldson

Context: When the Editor of Thuppahi circulates articles, he sometimes includes attachments or adds bibliographical references. Tony Donaldson read some of the references listed with the article on the last phase of Eelam War IV presented recently by Lalith Weeratunga. He then responded spontaneously and privately to two of my efforts from August 2015 and July 2016 in an email note sent today 12th June 2018. His thoughts are as incisive as thought-provoking. They are a boost to thought and debate. I place them in the inter-net world and challenge readers to respond. The two references are listed after his capsule-statement

 

Tony Donaldson’s Capsule Comment

Michael, …. Two great articles in “Ambassador Blake in Never-Never Land…” and the imperious interventions of David Miliband….  I am not surprised by any of this.  US diplomats should study anthropology for a few years. It might teach them to recognize neo-colonialism in their own value system.   Continue reading

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At the Height of Eelam War IV: Mollifying India via Backdoor Threesomes

Lalith Weeratunga, courtesy of counterpoint and dailyft,… where the title runs thus  “The Troika: How crucial relations with India were managed in the last phase of the separatist war”

It is no secret that foreign ministries work in watertight compartments and often under immense pressure. As a result, they cannot be flexible, and quite obviously cannot think out of the box. Even the most experienced Foreign Service officers have to be cautious when dealing with their counterparts due to sensitivity of the work they handle.  In writing a memo, a letter or a communique’, foreign ministry officials take extraordinary precautions, and that’s quite understandable. Because of the visibility they get in the global scene, external affairs or Foreign Service personnel exercise tremendous caution and hence the stress they experience.

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Honouring Sir Desmond de Silva, A British Legal Luminary whose Incisive Report serves Lanka

Rajiva Wijesinha, courtesy of The Island, 8 June 2018, where the title isSir Desmond de Silva passes away” … with highlights being the intervention of The Editor, Thuppahi

The death of Sir Desmond de Silva last week is a tragedy for Sri Lanka. But what is perhaps more tragic is that none of our decision makers can understand the blow we have suffered. Sir Desmond came into the picture very late in the day. The last government completely ignored both the commitments it had entered into freely, to deal with accountability issues, and also the mounting dangers of international criticism. It started indeed by immediately throwing away its best defence against such criticism, by dismissing Dayan Jayatilleka from the position of our Permanent Representative in Geneva.

Sir Desmond de Silva

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