Category Archives: China and Chinese influences

SOFA — American Boots in Sri Lanka in ‘Soft Power’ Insertion

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune, 6 June 2018, with this title “U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy Report 2019: Military presence to secure ‘Homeland’.”

Coinciding the Asia Security Summit – the Shangri-la Dialogue – in Singapore in which US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was the major participant, on June 1 Washington released the 2019 the Trump-Defense Department-designed Indo-Pacific Strategy Report, labeling Asia the ‘priority Theater’, and explicitly declaring, the U.S. enhanced military presence in the region is to “protect the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life”.U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan speaks at the IISS Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, June 1, 2019 – All about Military and Defense issues..

Similarly, the first sentence of the report itself (“The Indo-Pacific is the single most consequential region for America’s future.”) could not be more explicit.

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Uncle Sam! Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty impaired by SOFA deal with USA

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya, in Island, 27 May 2019, where the title reads”

While the contents of the proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the governments of Sri Lanka and the US still remain hidden from the public eye, parliament was told last week that the government had not entered into such an agreement – yet.  The negotiations however are going on, and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana has reportedly indicated to the US that some of its provisions could not be implemented. One was the provision seeking exemption for visiting US personnel from criminal jurisdiction under Sri Lankan law, while in Sri Lanka. Another was a clause that would give effect to the agreement through an ‘exchange of notes.’

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Blake Foreshadows New American Approach to Sri Lanka … and the Rajapaksa Combo

Daya Gamage, in Asian Tribune, 12 May 2019, with this title “Robert Blake indicates Washington’s new approach to Sri Lanka”

Robert O’Blake, former (2006-2009) American ambassador to Sri Lanka and onetime assistant secretary for South and Central Asian Bureau (2009-2012) of the US Department of State indicated how Washington would approach Sri Lanka having seen the deteriorating security situation in this South Asian nation – which could affect Washington’s military design in the Indo-Pacific region – while assessing the rapidly changing political environment possibly favoring the return of the Rajapaksas.

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Sri Lanka as Lilliput Isle between Two Giants

Political Editor, Sunday Times, 19 May 2019, where the title runs “Sri Lanka caught in the big power conflicts”

When elephants fight, an African proverb says, it is the ants that get crushed. In essence that encapsulates how the small and weak become dangerously vulnerable when big powers fight for dominance and even hegemony. That is Sri Lanka now.

President Maithripala Sirisena returned from China on Thursday after adding another explosive chapter to this big nation power play. His Media Office head-lined a statement saying, “three significant agreements with China on national security and development were signed.” However, there was no mention of what these agreements were or the different titles.

Bilateral talks on security between China and Sri Lanka under way Continue reading

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A Major Overhaul of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy Called For

Nimal Edirisinghe, in Daily Ft, 11 April 2019, where the title runs “ Foreign policy: Need for a paradigm shift for Sri Lanka”

A country’s foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. Since the national interests are paramount, foreign policies are designed by the government through high-level decision making processes.

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Mythic Fantasies: Rāvana displaces Vijaya in the Sinhala Chauvinist Lexicon

Lakshman Gunasekara, courtesy of HORIZONS, 10 March 2019, where the title reads “From Vijaya to Ravana: Sinhala geo-politics as new cosmic war” with highlighting emphasis added by the Editor, Thuppahi

The trend in Sinhala ultra-nationalist discourse in the past decade clearly indicates a shift in mythic inspirational fundamentals – a fading of the ‘Arya’ Vijaya persona and a slow but vociferous (and already violent) rising of a Ravana persona. Is this an ideological shift that was required by the intensity of Sinhala supremacist war effort?

Readers of my ‘Horizons’ column last week may have sought an answer to the question in my title last week, ‘Was Ravana a Sinhalese?’ and been disappointed with the lack of one. Since my column last week discussed the rise of Ravana symbolism in terms of pure myth, the question of Ravana’s ‘ethnicity’ is clearly in the realm of myth as well – modern myth, that is. Continue reading

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Citizen Perera in Incisive Thoughts on China’s Global Outreach amidst USA’s Overwhelming World Machinations

A NOTE from Michael Roberts

With the wide sweep of social media today Ordinary Joes and Ordinary Sandras have been encouraged to express their views in ways that can sometimes be (A) incendiary or (B) silly or (C) meaningless. I happen to receive two sets of ongoing debates among Sri Lankans (some resident abroad and some at home) which are vibrant …. But also include views which seem to be off-course if not ridiculous in my estimation.

However, I was stimulated by the sagacity and common-sense embodied in a recent exchange arising from US pressure on Venezuela – which exchange brought to my notice an item on China’s role in constructing a railway between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in Peru. In the context of China’s One Belt policy in Asia and the hullabaloo about Hambantota port raised by American, Sri Lankan and others, this commentary was refreshing. Well -it IS refreshing and worth airing in Thuppahi.

Take a bow Gus, Rajeewa and Brendan.

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