Sicilian Defense
Posted on February 6th, 2015

Rudra Gamini de Zoysa

In a game of chess the Sicilian Defense typically leads to a convoluted and daring mêlée where both sides can play for a win.

Your Excellency Mr President Maithripala Sirisena, and Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe, Prime Minister.

I am writing to both of you because I do not know who has the real executive power in Sri Lanka at present. It really does not matter but I want to ask you to invite the USA for a game of chess. Chess is a fantastic game because there is only one strategy. That strategy is to win (success) the game. When I sang my college song for the first time (School of Our Fathers. Disce aut Discede et cetera) in 1951 I was already a reasonable chess player. Playing chess has taught me that the important thing is how to think rather than what to think!

Your Excellency and Mr Prime Minister I want you to play a game of chess with the USA (the leader of the Free World”). The prize for the winner is a sizable sum of US $ annually for Sri Lanka.  Your opponent in this game is the combination of the State Department in Washington and Whitehall in London.

After 9 January 2015 Sri Lanka’s external relations with the US and Britain have suddenly warmed up. President Obama has already praised our voting public for exercising their democratic rights. Mr Cameron (the most discourteous man on this planet) thought that a regime change in Sri Lanka is a jolly good thing”. Nisha Biswal (a Neocon) dropped everything in her office in-basket in the State Department to visit this small island of ours to set up the framework for something really big. Our External Affair’s Minister Mr Mangala Samaraweera rolled out the red carpet for Ms Biswal and announced that he will meet with the US Secretary of State John Kerry on February 12. Ms Biswal whose main focus is the security, stability, and prosperity of South and Central Asia. Under Biswal’s guidance the United States has supported economic development and encouraged increased regional connectivity within South and Central Asia as part of the U.S. re-balance to Asia”. Mr President and Mr Prime Minister here is the crux of the matter- Sri Lanka cannot have security without economic development. Then again we cannot have economic development without security. The strategy for us in this game is to have both security and economic development for all of Sri Lanka.

The US rebalance to Asia is another way of saying that China’s influence in Asia has to be trimmed down and China’s String of Pearls” has to be metaphorically and conceptually shattered. This is part of the US neoconservative philosophy.

What can a small country like Sri Lanka offer to the Free World”? No, we do not have oil. No, we do not have gold, copper or cobalt. Today we can offer the Free World with a large chunk of land that is of immense geopolitical and strategic importance. Our commanding position in the Indian Ocean (73,440,000 square km) from the very tip of South India to the continent of Antarctica and from Australia to Africa is of enormous importance to the Free World. The US and Britain want to establish a large military base in Sri Lanka and Nisha Biswal would have already hinted this to  Mr Samaraweera – that is their strategic goal in this game of chess. John Kerry will set his seal of approval on this concept when he meets up with Mr Samaraweera. We now know why Sri Lanka is so desirable but then what is the hurry? The answer to this question lies in the British Indian Ocean Territories – the Chagos Islands or specifically Diego Garcia (32.5 km²)! Residents of Diego Garcia’s population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the 1960s (when the islands were leased out for 50 years to the US) to make way for a key US Air Force base on the largest island in the archipelago, Diego Garcia. The lease expires in 2015. David Miliband (that arrogant man who visited Sri Lanka to lecture our President about the defeat of the LTTE) ignored the advice of diplomats in his final weeks as Foreign Secretary to rush through the establishment of a controversial marine park around the British-controlled Chagos Islands.

Diego Garcia, per se, is not related to Sri Lanka’s game of chess but by 2016 Britain may not have a legal right to control its destiny. If Britain loses control of the Chagos Islands and with it Diego Garcia the US will have to negotiate with a new owner. This means that by the end of this year the US will need to establish a new military base. One look at the world map will show why Sri Lanka is so enviably placed to host a military base for the US and Britain. All this is the middle game.

Not necessarily check mate but now for the end game: –

  • At the expense of jeopardising our non-aligned status Sri Lanka must seriously consider an attempt by the US to establish a military base in our country.
  • The lease may be for 25 years. Sri Lanka must seek a rental fee of US$ 15 billion per month. The lease should be re-negotiated every 5 years. These funds are to be paid to our Treasury so that we decide what we want to do with the funds.
  • The military base must be located in Hambantota because the infrastructure is already there. This is largely a security arrangement for Sri Lanka. A young, productive and intelligent workforce with all skills is readily available.
  • The Trincomalee harbour is not to be included in the end game. Powerful neighbours in our geopolitical region may want to use this facility – this is good to strengthen our commitment to the Non Aligned Movement. Losing short-term control of Trincomalee is not good for our security.

The end game can be fine-tuned and has some inherent negatives such as the impact on our cultural values. On the other hand the advantages are an injection of funds into the Sri Lankan economy currently at a GDP of US $76 billion or GDP (PPP) $136.0 billion. Remember that the strategy for us is to have both security and economic development for all of Sri Lanka.

Rudra Gamini de Zoysa

14 Responses to “Sicilian Defense”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    If you can’t beat them join them IF they care for our terms.

    Ham’tota is the right place. NOT Trinco. IF we give Trinco, USA can STILL have it with a possible TE. If our terms are NOT favorable, USA will help Tamils get TE with Trinco and get it on favorable terms.

    IF we give Ham’tota then USA will have to defend SL interests for things to continue smoothly.

    But the bigger question is WILL USA agree to our terms. I think NOT.

    1. USA will want TRINCO, not Ham’tota.

    2. USA will USE SL bases to attack Chinese ships, etc. which will result in RETALIATION ON SL.

    3. Islamic terrorists will also come to SL and attack because it is a VERY SOFT TARGET to avenge US action.

    4. USA will launch attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, etc. FROM SL bases. This is what they use the Diego Garcia base for!! SL will lose friends and become the TARGET of RETALIATION.

    5. USA will also store WMDs and NUKES around SL to defend the base and to attack others. This is what they use the Diego Garcia base for!! ANY accident or attack on them will leave SL in DEEP trouble.

    6. USA will NOT pay $15 billion a month!! MAXIMUM $10 billion a year. But still good money. Even $5 billion is OK. But USA will do what they did to Diego Garcia – DEPOPULATE the entire region! Local women will face sexual abuse as in OKINAWA, etc. Make sure to turn the region around the base to a prostitution den!

    7. SL will no longer be a non aligned country. Not that it matter very much anyway.

    8. While in SL, USA will promote TE so that it can have MANY MORE BASES in the island for FREE!

  2. aloy Says:

    We have survived for 2600 years without handouts from anybody. Let us be truly neutral and watch the elephants power play from a vantage point.

  3. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    RGdeZ ! Small Correction:- He is not “”Your Excellency”” nor “”Mr.””. He is President Maithreepala Sirisena.

    Just repeating what I learned in School:-

    Our English Master, Max Perera, taught us that, if the Professional Title of a person is used, there is no necessity to use the salutation *Mr*. Example, Dr. Carlo or Professor Carlo. We don’t say, Mr. Dr Carlo.

    So rightfully, President Maithreepala Sirisena, requested that he be addressed as **President Maithreepala Sirisena, and his wife be addressed as Mrs. Sirisena. Very modest humble request.

    If his name is not used, he can be addressed as MR.PRESIDENT. Certainly yes.

    I remember a Doctor addressed JR as *Your Highness* It was a slip of the tongue. JR in light humour said *not Yet* and laughed it off.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Susantha,

    You are correct, but I PROPOSE renaming our Maximum leader to: President Aiyoooo Sirisena!

  5. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    ANANDA !! We need humour in this forum. Thanks for concurring with me.

  6. ranjit Says:

    I will not call him anything just MY3 the backstabber.

  7. AnuD Says:

    After the presidential election, Russian president had told that Russia would like close relations with Sri lanka. Sri Lanka should keep that in mind.

  8. NAK Says:

    These stupid yankees are interested of course, they tried to creep in here even when they were booted out of the Philippines. Okninawa shows us what a nuisense they are. Money is not everything. We have made so far with out their dirty money and we certainly can get on with out it.
    Giving Hambanthota to the USA will be a slap on the face of the Chinese who have been good friends to us for a long long time.
    It will be down right ungrateful and not worth a second thought.

  9. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    TRINCOMALEE WILL BE THE PRIDE OF SRI LANKA. IT HAS MANY NATURAL HARBOURS> VERY BEAUTIFUL PLACE. IT SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN TO ANY COUNTRY, PERIOD.

  10. RohanJay Says:

    LOL! Britain and US are not interested in Hambantota. In fact they are not interested in Sri Lanka for a military base as they have military bases already in the indian ocean. If they are interested in Sri Lanka at all. It would be Trincomalee. Also Britain and US don’t hire locals to run their miltary bases. They hire their own personnel, that is American and British nationals. . Also Rudra Gamini de soyza suggesting to play chess with Britain and US is the dumbest idea of all time. If Sri Lanka plays Chess with Britain and United States. Sri Lanka will lose all the time. Sri Lankans have an inflated opinion about themselves!

  11. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    SRI LANKA IS ALWAYS “”CHECK MATE ”ING ALL THE TIME. THERE IS ALREADY A BEEEEG GAME OF CHESS BEING PLAYED. DIFFICULT TO PREDICT THE WINNER.

  12. Cerberus Says:

    There are a couple of problems in the argument. I agree with Lorenzo for once. He is absolutely right. USA will not pay $15 Billion. They will agree to remove the false war crimes accusations in return for the base. They will not want Hambantota since the port is too shallow. The big air craft carriers cannot come there. They will want Trincomallee. That is why Biswas made a beeline to meet with Hakeem who is the Minister for the Eastern province. However in this game U.K also wants Trinco, so wonder who will win. All the rest that Lorenzo has said will happen. It will become a prostitution den like Okinawa, we will get AIDS, the coast line will get polluted with oil, at the end the day we will get nothing as always. We should remain non-aligned if that is possible at this stage at all. Otherwise we will be embroiled in the next terrorist war of USA like the Middle Eastern countries.

  13. Independent Says:

    Cerberus,

    This proposal is another back door to Ealam. Forget about Sinhala Buddhist culture. Get ready to send your daughters aged 11 years onwards for money. Get ready for Casinos, Night Clubs and Strip Clubs. Get ready for Guns. Even with all those , can we say Thailand, Philippines developed ?

  14. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    CERBERUS !! Nobody in his sane mind should give Trincomalee to the USA or Britain or to any Country for that matter.. It is truly a Heritage site, with tame deer roaming on the hill top etc. There is no case of who is going to win. Both should be losers. These countries send Females to attract the un-patriotic Politicians. The moment they shake hands, the politician becomes servile, and becomes a yes madam, no madam, three bags full madam. Sri Lanka from then on, is for sale.

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