Category Archives: modernity & modernization

To Gotabaya: Wishes, Warnings and Thoughts from The Sunday Times

The Editor, Sunday Times, 1 December 2019

This is the ‘honeymoon’ period for a newly elected first term President, still riding the wave of popularity from the election victory of November 16. Even the media are expected to give the new President time to settle down, and some leeway to carry out his campaign promises and fulfil the expectations of his new office. This is not, however, to say that no comments ought to be made on the performance of the new administration during this period.

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Jehan Perera’s Appraisal of President Gotabaya’s First Steps

Jehan Perera, in Island, 3 December 2019, with this title: “President’s early parameters may require revision”

One of the weaknesses of the previous government was its failure to have cohesive policies that it implemented with determination. Instead there was a sense of free space and license to do as one pleased. It gave people a welcome sense of freedom, but it also led to strikes and pickets on an almost daily basis and frustration among the general population who did not see government at work. Along with the change of government that took place after the November 16 presidential election there is a sense of strong government and an uncertainty about what the parameters of free space will be. Recent pronouncements by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa are providing an initial indication of what some of the parameters will be. The President’s visit to India and the speeches and interviews he gave there provide a first indication of what some of the parameters might be.

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The Rajapaksas as Pillars of Populism and Authoritarianism

Kanishka Jayasuriya, in East Asia Forum, 27 November 2019, where the title reads The Sri Lankan election and authoritarian populism” … with highlights initiated by The Editor, Thuppahi

The election on 16 November 2019 of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa — the brother of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa — ushers in an authoritarian populist regime that upholds a form of ethno-religious nationalism. The foundation of such a regime is in the new bourgeoisie that has emerged over the last two decades.

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China’s BRI is a Multi-Polar Win-Win Trading Network

Peter Koenig, in Information Clearing House where the title reads “China–The Belt and road Initiative = The Bridge that spans the world” … at https://www.globalresearch.ca/china-belt-road-initiative-bridge-spans-world/5695727

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also called the New Silk Road, is based on a 2,100-year-old trade route between the Middle East and Eastern Asia, called the Silk Road. It wound its ways across the huge landmass Eurasia to the most eastern parts of China. It favored trading based on the Taoist philosophy of harmony and peaceful coexistence – trading in the original sense of the term, an exchange with “win-win” outcomes, both partners benefitting equally. Continue reading

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Assessing Modern China Today

Charles Edel, writing on “Four Theories of Modern China” on 21 November 2019  at https://www.the-american-interest.com/2019/11/21/four-theories-of-modern-china/?utm-access=rcw ….. with this striking opening pitch:What really drives China today—is it Xi Jinping himself, the Belt & Road Initiative, old habits of statecraft, or the regime’s authoritarian nature? Four recent books help us sort through the morass.”

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Facing Overt and Covert Pressure from USA

Asoka Bandarage in the  CovertAction Magazine, 19 November 2019, where the title reads “U.S. military presence and popular resistance in Sri Lanka”

The Indian Ocean is one of the most contested regions in the world today. China, the United States, India, and also Japan, Saudi Arabia and other rich and powerful states are struggling for influence over Sri Lanka, located in the geographical heart of the Indian Ocean. The sea lanes of the Indian Ocean are considered to be the busiest in the world with more than 80% of global seaborne oil trade estimated to be passing through them.

  Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka and the joint UK/U.S. Diego Garcia Naval and Military Base

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Alan Keenan of the ICG comments on the Presidential Election Results in Sri Lanka

Alan Keenan of the International Crisis Group, ….  deploying this title “Sri Lanka’s Presidential Election Brings Back a Polarising Wartime Figure”

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decisive victory in Sri Lanka’s presidential election reflects voters’ concerns over security, poor economic prospects and ineffective governance – but also indicates the country’s dangerous ethnic polarisation. Many worry that Rajapaksa, a Sinhalese nationalist, will energise anti-Muslim campaigning and further alienate the Tamil community.

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