Category Archives: foreign policy

Aussie Troops in Afghanistan deploy Nazi Emblem and generate Furore

Naaman Zhou, in The Guardian, 14 June 2018, where the title runs Nazi flag on Australian army vehicle ‘utterly unacceptable’, Turnbull says”

Malcolm Turnbull and the Department of Defence have condemned Australian soldiers who flew a Nazi flag above an Australian army vehicle in Afghanistan. Leaked photos taken in August 2007, obtained by the ABC, show the vehicle flying a flag emblazoned with a swastika during operations. Defence confirmed that the photos were genuine, and said they “rejected everything the flag represents”.

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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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Protecting Sri Lankan Rights: The Modern Saga of Shipwreck “Avondster”

Somasiri Devendra, in Island, 13 June 2018, where the title is “Under the Waters of Galle:  A Prelude to the “Avondster’ Project”

The curtain rises: One morning in 2002 I received a call from the Additional Director General, Central Cultural Fund (CCF), Mr. H. D. S. Hettipathirana, to discuss a glitch in the Avondster project which was due to get off the ground. I was, then, wearing several hats: Consultant (to the CCF) and Special Advisor (to the Director-General, Archaeology) on Maritime Archaeology; and member of the Advisory Committee to the Ministry. I was also a member of ICUCH (the ICOMOS International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage) and had been involved in the formulation of both the ICOMOS Charter and the UNESCO International Convention on the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Neither I – nor anyone else in the country – had had any maritime archaeological training: I was the proverbial one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind! But, in all these honorary positions I strove to balance national and international interests.

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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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Sri Lanka as Hub in China’s Expanding Silk Road Outreach

Mirror News Item 19 May 2019, with title  “China claims Sri Lanka hub in Silk Road strategy””

China hinted Sri Lanka’s growing importance in its ambitious US$500 billion One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative claiming Sri Lanka is a ‘hub’ in its OBOR strategy.  Sri Lanka meanwhile stressed of its own role in OBOR, and revealed that the Colombo Port City project despite the 25-year long timeline, is ‘progressing at great speed’.

Minister Bathiudeen (right) is joined by Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region’s (GZAR) Director of Department of Commerce  Diao Weihong (second from left) at the event. Pic by Kithsiri de Mel

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The Many Shadows from Black Hawk Down

Daniel Klaidman, in The Daily Beast, 10 September 2013, where the title is “The Lost Lessons of Black Hawk Down, https://www.thedailybeast.com/black-hawk-down

Twenty years later, the battle still echoes in America’s top policy circles. As the U.S. sets foot in Somalia again, men who fought in 1993 tell Daniel Klaidman what still haunts them.

Danny McKnight’s trip began in a tiny New England cemetery on Saturday, September 28, 2013—a crisp, clear fall morning. He kneeled by the gravestone of Corporal James Cavaco and placed a rock on top of it. McKnight’s wife, Linda, had painted the rock black, and on it, he had written with a silver Sharpie, “An American Hero” and “RLTW”—Rangers Lead the Way, the elite infantry unit’s motto. Continue reading

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