Understanding American attitudes: International Relations and Security
Posted on May 27th, 2013

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP Courtesy The Daily News 

One of the sadder aspects of Tissa Jayatilaka’s celebration of American values and conduct with regard to Sri Lanka is his suppression of the change that took place in American policy with the change of government at the beginning of 2009. While many of us thought that, in the interests of the world as well as the majority of the American citizenry, a change would be good, we knew that things would be worse for Sri Lanka if the Republicans were defeated.

We were relieved, given the manner in which the diaspora with its ties to the LTTE had cultivated Hillary Clinton, that Obama was the Democrat candidate, but we still knew things would be tough. When Obama then appointed Hillary as his Secretary of State, we had to prepare for a very different approach.

European resolution

I am astonished though to find Tissa too of such a myopic mindset, and asserting that the United States along with India “ƒ”¹…”supported us to the hilt from 2002 onwards in our battle against the LTTE’. He has obviously not read Wikileaks, which makes it clear that in 2009 the US attitude had changed, and they were fully behind the European resolution against us.

Barack Obama Hillary Clinton Condoleezza Rice Robert Blake

The fact that the US had changed was obvious from the manner in which Bob Blake, in his last days, was no longer the pillar of support he had been earlier. In 2007 for instance, the US supported government actively in the East when the European Union was sulking because we had driven the LTTE out of there. In that year we found both the US ambassador in Geneva, a solid old school Republican, and his more left-leaning Deputy, extremely sympathetic. The latter was indeed one of Dayan Jayatilleka’s best friends in Geneva.

In 2009 however Blake had told a former State Department employee that his different approach was because he now served a different administration. I do not know whether Blake was one of the ambassadors Tissa got on with “”…” he was not at the party Blake had on the occasion of Obama’s inauguration, when he said he had got together Sri Lankans he saw as special friends of his country “”…” but Tissa must surely have realized that things had changed. Britain, which had been leading the attack on us, did so, and David Miliband got a far more sympathetic hearing from Hillary than he would have done from the intellectually more rigorous Condoleezza Rice.

Third World countries

Tissa is right in drawing attention to the fact that the US, when Bush was President, was more consistent in its response to terrorism and terrorists, and supported us in our efforts to get the LTTE proscribed. But LTTE supporters understood this, as well as the softer touch Hillary was going to be “”…” which unfortunately our Foreign Ministry could not see “”…” and changed their approach. Though the LTTE could not quite be presented as largely innocent freedom fighters, which the Americans have convinced themselves Contras and Chechens and the Taleban have been in their time, by 2009 Blake was involved in what might be termed a rescue operation. Thankfully, the Indians put a stop to this, helped also by the intransigence of the LTTE.

Where Tissa’s misleading interpretation of international relations comes through is in his assertion that “ƒ”¹…”Although the likes of Miliband and Kouchner tried their utmost to initiate international action against us, Sri Lanka was able to ensure that no government took a concerted diplomatic initiative at the UN Security Council to compel Sri Lanka to abort the final military push against the LTTE, something similar to that which India, acting unilaterally, had done in the 1980s by compelling us to halt the Vadamarachchi operation.’

Miliband’s objective

There were efforts to put Sri Lanka on the agenda in New York, but these were restrained because of the veto that our solid supporters could be relied upon to use. Tissa makes no mention of what happened in Geneva, because of his animosity to Dayan Jayatilleka, in line with that of the less civilized Americans he follows (unlike the intelligent Democrats who realize that Dayan is potentially their best ally if they can be satisfied with Non-alignment based on a solid understanding with India).

In effect he ignores the fact that the actual scene of action was Geneva, as it is now, where it is numbers that count.

He ignores the fact that the sort of professional diplomat he affects to admire had failed to restrain the British from tabling a motion against us in 2006, a motion they sought to reactivate in 2007. Fortunately by then we had Dayan there, and by skilful diplomacy, building up a solid coalition of Third World countries whilst also talking actively to the West (so that some European countries were telling him what the Brits were up to, even though formally they could not break ranks), he was able to ensure that the motion was dropped from the agenda.

That was when the British Representative there, who had been hoping to go on to New York (and might have been sent there, had he fulfilled Miliband’s objective with regard to Sri Lanka, which was and still is an ideal test case for changing the dynamics of the current international order), told me that our Ambassador thought we had won, but we should wait to see what would happen.

He moved on then, though, and I found his successor much less abrasive. But as we saw in 2009, Miliband was relentless.

5 Responses to “Understanding American attitudes: International Relations and Security”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    “LONDON (Reuters) – Around a thousand far-right protesters shouting “Muslim killers, off our streets” marched through central London on Monday against a backdrop of swelling anti-Muslim feeling following the killing of a British soldier last week.

    Lee Rigby, a 25-year-old soldier, was hacked to death in broad daylight in a south London street by two men who said they killed him in the name of Islam. The attack has shocked Britain and stirred an anti-Muslim backlash, including attacks on mosques.

    In a tense but largely peaceful demonstration, supporters of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) rallied in London outside Prime Minister David Cameron’s residence waving placards and shouting anti-Islamic obscenities.

    “Islamic extremism is probably the number one threat to Britain,” said one protester, Ben Gates. Other demonstrators chanted “Muslim bombers off our streets”.”

    It was NOT done by BBS!!

    Can you see the COMMON DENOMINATOR in SL and London (not to mention USA, Israel, Iraq, Syria, Bali, etc. etc.)?

  2. Marco Says:

    Inconsistencies in relations with India, America and the World
    27 May 2013


    Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.

    In discussing, as suggested, recent American moves on Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan reaction, I am struck most of all by the failure of those in theory responsible for foreign policy to understand those moves. After the recent visit by Bob Blake, who had been ambassador here during the conflict period, and had a relatively positive if patronizing approach, I was assured by a senior External Affairs official that relations between Sri Lanka and America were excellent. He claimed that the negative reports in the papers were exaggerated.

    Similarly, I was assured by those who claimed to have the ear of both the President and the Americans that there would be no American resolution against us in Geneva this year. Now it is conceivable that the Americans deliberately misled us, but I do not think that was the case. Not only from the pronouncements Blake made, but also from the comments made by both his successors, it was evident that criticism was the order of the day.

    Why was this not understood, and why were we lulled into complacency? After all, there were several things we could have done that would have dealt with the more reasonable criticisms that were made, while also ensuring that the Americans would not find it so easy to build up a coalition against us. But we did nothing, and then affected surprise when not just the Americans, but a large majority in the UN Human Rights Council, came down on us like a ton of bricks.
    Our failure to deal with this is primarily because we do not look at what has gone wrong in the past, and we fail to follow up on decisions taken. In short, we have both a failure of intellect and procedure. It may seem strange to say this since the Minister of External Affairs is supposed to be the brightest intellect in Parliament, but he does not seem to use his intellect at all in his current position. While it is possible that he decided that analytical skills had to be forgotten if he was to keep rising higher on the political ladder, and unpleasant advice would be unwelcome, a kinder explanation is that he knows follow up is not possible in the Ministry as it is currently constituted, so he might as well keep quiet and hope for the best.

    As a result, we have sudden and inconsistent reactions to American moves, and no efforts at all to anticipate those moves and forestall them. Thus this year, after the debacle in Geneva, we are told how wonderful relations with America should be, and we are now paying enormous amounts to an American public relations firm to promote them. It is forgotten that in fact we have been paying enormous amounts to different American public relations firms over the last few years, and that that strategy has failed completely.

    However, though wasting money is not something we should be doing given the worsening economic situation, at least this is not a vindictive and destructive reaction. In contrast, last year elements in the Foreign Ministry attacked anyone who had stood up previously to American pressure, and decided, in the memorable words of a Communist sparring partner at University, that since the Americans wanted to bugger us, we should roll over and let them. Therefore the Foreign Ministry sacked Tamara Kunanayagam from her ambassadorial position in Geneva, and ensured fore that we would not be able to build up any resistance to American moves.
    An analysis of what was motivating the Americans however would have suggested how we could have dealt with the situation with relative ease. One reason for American irritation was what was seen as increasing dependence on China. In addition to their own worries in this regard, they used this to apply pressure on India. But we could have dealt with this very simply by making very clear the special relationship with India which has been the foundation of any foreign policy successes we ever had.

    Unfortunately there are elements in the Ministry who are determined to destroy that relationship, based on the way J R Jayewardene ran foreign relations in the eighties, and the Minister is completely incapable of controlling them. So we are left with extremists, some of whom want us to run behind America, and others, who are not in the Ministry but still interfere in foreign policy, who think we can hide behind China. The simple fact that we should maintain a good understanding with India, and also cooperate actively with China while making it clear that this is not intended to be at the expense of anyone else, is not something our decision makers understand.

    Secondly, we have not dealt sensibly with the diaspora, an influential part of which is driving the American agenda. The answer to this is to deal systematically with their allegations, whilst also coopting the moderate members of the diaspora who simply want a better deal for Tamils. However the very sensible recommendations of the LLRC in this regard have been completely ignored. Though recently the LLRC Action Plan was revived with the appointment of Mrs Wijayatilaka, who had been sidelined previously, to head it, I do not think we will get action at the speed and efficiency we need until we have a fully empowered Ministry for Reconciliation.
    Finally, we need to improve our Human Rights record, since it is actual lapses in this regard that lend credence to allegations about lapses that did not take place. With regard to the war, where our Indian friends have made clear, even while supporting the resolution against us, that the question of war crimes is nonsense, we need simply to move quickly on the allegations that the LLRC has deemed credible. There are very few of these, and as in the case of the Trincomalee killings of seven years ago, we owe it to our own people to make it clear that cold blooded killing is not acceptable. Unfortunately we still have amongst us individuals who think – as the Americans do when their own security is involved – that anything is acceptable, and individuals should not be charged with actions against known enemies (or even their dependants, as happened with the poor child killed when Osama bin Laden was executed).

    But even more important is to ensure that we re-establish the Rule of Law. Though many incidents that have occurred recently do not relate to the conflict, they can be used to paint a picture of a lawless society. We must therefore move quickly to strengthen the police and ensure proper investigation and prosecution with regard to heinous crimes. We must also make sure that those determined to stir ethnic and religious tensions are dealt with firmly when the peace is breached. At present we seem to be entrenching double standards, and that must be changed, if we are to regain the moral ascendancy that allowed us to deal so successfully with Western moves against us in the conflict period, between 2007 and 2009 – and we had better make use of intelligent and principled people like Dayan Jayatilleka, instead of getting rid of them.

  3. hela patriot Says:

    logical analysis is not applicable to american policy nor western policy in general. The american policy is completely dictated by american interests. The main interests are the subservience to the present world economic system and general obedience to their geopolitical interests. From A SL point of view the relationship with anti american forces must be curtailed. Our close relationship with china probably is a major factor. The modus operandi is destabilisation be it by media propaganda, violence and financial threats and lately accusing govts of human rights abuse. To circumvent the americans one needs wisdom, diplomacy and good governance which means stable society. Corruption will only give them enough loop holes to destabilise until such time they can dominate and subjugate.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Dear old Billary Clinton is now positioning herself for a run for the US Presidency in 2016. She began in the time-honored traditional fashion of US Presidential candidates by announcing she had no interest whatever in running for the Presidency, which s of course pure HOGWASH!

    She declined to serve as the Secretary of State in Obama’s second term administration, so she could start disassociating herself from Obama’s policies, and have more freedom to pursue independent policies potentially critical of the Obama administration.

    Billary Clinton’s becoming the US President in 2016 presents HUGE problems for Sri Lanka. As we recall, Tamils for Clinton injected huge sums of illegal funds into Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign. Luckily, that illegal contribution of campaign funds was discovered, and the contributed funds were returned to the Tamils for Clinton front of the LTTE in a hurry by Billary’s campaign which feigned that she was not aware that the contribution was illegal.

    Billary, the woman of unbounded ambition that she is, did not lose sight of the fact that the Eelamist Tamil Diaspora represented a source of nearly UNLIMITED CAMPAIGN FUNDS if she runs for the US Presidency in 2016.
    As we all know, the US State Department under Billary’s control, took a very hardline against Sri Lanka … which continues to this day. Was there a connection between the promise of future funds in 2016 and the especially hardline she took against Sri Lanka during her tenure as Secretary of State, even going to the extent of pressuring the Government of Sri Lanka to allow the US to extract 50 of the top LTTE leaders, including Prabhakaran, out of the Mullaitivu pocket under the pretext of “saving lives of civilians”? We will never know really …. will we …. unless another Wikileaks spills the beans a decade from now!!

    Lo and behold, UNLIMITED CAMPAIGN FUNDS can NOW be contributed LEGALLY! The US Supreme Court decision that held that UNLIMITED AMOUNTS OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS can be LEGALLY donated to third-party political groups supporting political candidates in elections, but not directly to the candidates themselves, unleashed a FLOOD OF LOBBYISTS MONEY in the 2012 US Presidential election, undermining the very basis of American democracy. It is now Government OF the LOBBYISTS, BY the LOBBYISTS, FOR the LOBBYISTS in America.

    This law is unlikely to be repealed before the 2016 US Presidential elections, which means that Tamil Eelamists can contribute UNLIMITED FUNDS again to Billary Clinton’s campaign for the US Presidency in 2016. Having already demonstrated her undying support for the Eelamist cause, there is no doubt that a veritable FLOOD of Tamil Diaspora money will find its way into her campaign coffers. So much then for the PATRIOTISM OF US POLITICIANS serving the BEST INTEREST of their Nation; they are bought and sold like cattle at an auction.

    The bottomline is: the GOSL should ANTICIPATE & PREPARE for the possibility that Billary Clinton could become the next President of the United States, and if elected, could adopt policies EXTREMELY THREATENING to Sri Lanka’s survival as an Undivided Sovereign Nation.

    I recommend that the GOSL REPEAL the 13th Amendment, and DISMANTLE the Provincial Council System now leaving a few years to stabilize a new System of Governance, establish new DIPLOMATIC, ECONOMIC and Trade links to prepare for that event.

    Since CAMPAIGN FUNDS can now be contributed LEGALLY by any source to political lobbies, including foreign governments, it is possible, for example, for the GOSL to contribute more funds than the Tamil Diaspora can to the Republican Presidential candidate. Surely, a 250 Million USD campaign contribution would be well worth the money in return on the dollar to Sri Lanka’s security and survival!!

    If the RUMP of the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Movement (CIA assessment) can buy US politicians legally to serve their interests undermining the very fabric of American politics, why can’t a legal and legitimate FRIENDLY government do so to counter that move FUNDAMENTALLY INIMICAL to the long-term INTERESTS of the United States?

  5. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Most Americans, even the college educated, know next to nothing about their monetary system. They would be surprised to know that the U. S. Treasury makes 23 cents on each quarter it mints, as it only costs 2 cents to mint this coin. Similar profits are realized on every other coin (with the possible exception of the penny) simply because the U. S., when minting coins, is simply following its Constitutional responsibility–the government alone has the right to print or mint their money. This right cannot be delegated any more than the right to declare war or collect taxes.

    If this is how the Constitution was intended to operate, why then do Americans allow a private group of foreign bankers to issue their currency (which they create out of thin air) and then “loan” it to the U. S. at perpetual interest, an interest that cannot be extinguished? Two of US Presidents asked that same question and look what happened to them. President Lincoln dared to have the U. S. issue its own greenbacks, backed with the full faith of the government, and bypassed the central bankers, avoiding any interest payments to them. For this patriotic act he was killed by John Wilkes Booth, a Rothschilds agent and contract killer, who was later spirited away to England where he lived out his life comfortably on a pension provided by the Rothschilds bankers. The greenbacks were immediately stopped and called in and redeemed at a ridiculous low price set by the central bankers. One point should be made here: The Rothschild bank financed the North and the Paris branch of the same bank financed the South, which is the real reason the Civil War was ignited and allowed to follow its long, and bloody course. The more Americans that dies, the more money the Rothschild bankers made.

    In our times this control of the issuance of US currency is in the illegal hands of the Federal Reserve, called the Fed, and the principal owner of the Fed’s “Class A” stock is–you guessed it–the Rothschild family. The other president brave enough to oppose the banker barons, whose worth was now in the trillions, was President John F. Kennedy. This first Catholic president of US enjoyed a deep-roots popularity–a charisma not enjoyed by most presidents. The Kennedy administration was so confident that it had the support of most voters that it ignored the Jewish lobby as the Kennedy brothers (John and Robert, his Attorney General) knew it was unnecessary to have the complete backing of every Jew in the U. S.

    President Kennedy pledged himself to what was the best for America and cared not how the greedy bankers of the Fed felt. JFK, like Lincoln in the 1860’s. dared to have the U. S. Treasury issue U. S. Dollars, not Federal Reserve notes, and placed them into circulation without paying interest to any bankers, just as spelled out in the U. S. Constitution.

    This alarmed the owners of the Fed like a fifty point tremor on the Richter Scale. This must cease at once. The Fed bankers found themselves facing an intolerable situation, one which defied them and at the same time, one which they could not publicly complain without letting the cat out of the bag. Any complaint by the Fed would put it in a very bad light. The public would soon be aware of the gigantic scam the Fed has gotten away with since 1913. This scam allowed the Fed to avoid all income taxes and even audits.

    On June 4, 1963, a virtually unknown Presidential decree, Executive Order 11110, was signed with the authority to basically strip the Federal Reserve Bank of its power to loan money to the United States Federal Government at interest. With the stroke of a pen, President Kennedy declared that the privately owned Federal Reserve Bank would soon be out of business

    Their response was evident at Dealy Plaza in Dallas

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