Diplomatic appeasement: The misconception of Sri Lanka losing international support
Posted on November 17th, 2017

Shenali D Waduge

In international relations there are no permanent friends only permanent interests. That explains why Germany & Japan are best of buddies with the very countries that bombed them! It also explains the manner politicians cross over and sing hosannas for those they previously were at loggerheads with. It should also explain that today’s world is run not by politicians but by think tanks, secret societies, transnational corporates & even invisible intelligence networks who are even capable of eliminating world leaders as JFK found out too late. Though diplomatic corps would have us believe that actions/inactions of our government have been responsible for the angst of the international community, in reality this perception is a farce as the strategies and plans are generally plotted and designed and diplomatic international relations is just a show – a charade to make the world believe that diplomats decide policy and strategy, which is in reality far from the truth. Diplomacy is not foreign policy but if there is no foreign policy there is certainly no diplomacy and diplomats become clueless to their exact role. Foreign policy is lacking when a country has no vision/mission for its future except to sustain those in power somehow while for their own career survival they follow an appeasement policy peddling the foreign policy of other nations!

It is important that we realize that all laws are Eurocentric and devised and designed to suit the advantage of Western hegemony. It is simply an advanced & sophisticated system of rule from the colonial murderous policies of the past. With R2P and military interventions as evidenced by bombing sprees that took place throughout Yugoslavia, Middle East and even parts of Africa, we can but wonder whether we are returning to that colonial era!

However, there is a major difference in the functions of Western diplomats and those of lesser powerful and smaller nations & the level of power they exert even diplomatically. The role played by the diplomats of the powerful countries is more like the Governor’s role during colonial rule. We can see how that has exceeded even decency and polite levels of diplomatic decorum in the manner some diplomats stationed in Sri Lanka have been behaving of late. So much so they have even been nicknamed ‘Viceroys’. A ‘new diplomacy’ is certainly taking shape. It is certainly not the Westphalian model of state to state relations that diplomats were originally taught.

There are plenty of non-diplomatic approaches too which get far more funding than embassies are allocated. New groups have emerged into the scene – Think Tanks, NGOs, lobby groups often government funded, lobby far more vigorously than the diplomats. They produce research, statistics, promote panel discussions, produce books & peddle public opinion in their favor. Making them powerful is the networks they have developed internationally & their ties to local entities.

An example is how Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave $5m to its partner in US to lobby top officials at the White House, Treasury Dept & Congress to double spending on a US aid program. Think tanks do not disclose terms of agreements with foreign governments and neither do they register with US Govt as representatives of donor countries. Similarly, at times even politicians and government policy makers get roped into adopting policies that are detrimental to foreign relations. This can be seen by the manner that pro-LTTE fronts through their international networks both legal & illegal encompassing charities, humanitarian organizations, cultural & religious bodies, ethnic ghetto areas, money & lobby groups have been able to influence foreign governments & politicians against the Sri Lankan state. What needs to be reiterated is that these foreign governments have not fallen blindly but have found it convenient to ride on these channels as it advances their own foreign policy framework which meets the four pillars of their own foreign policy – protection, profits, principles & pride.

All these are direct challenges to a country’s diplomatic framework especially when the diplomats themselves are non-career diplomats, often political appointees.

As we see the influence of terrorism affecting foreign policy decisions of countries we cannot ignore answering where these terrorists are coming from, who is training them, who is funding them and who is transporting them to all corners of the world to stir trouble and exert pressure on countries to change foreign policy. India’s role in Sri Lanka’s LTTE militancy has still not been accounted for. When Sri Lanka banned 16 LTTE fronts and individuals using the UNSC Resolution 1373 why did no foreign government take action by investigating the organizations and individuals who were stationed and functioning from their countries, some even holding foreign passports.

Similarly, trade and terrorism have also become interlocked to foreign policy and so has human rights as can be seen by the manner that the UN and international trade bodies heavily influenced by and to the advantage of the West have found it very convenient to plug human rights with trade agreements whereby countries are forced to remove restrictions and regulations that protect natural assets by threatening action against countries citing human rights violations. UNHRC resolutions on Sri Lanka go far as to even insist on changes to constitution and amendment to internal structures all violations of the UN Charter itself. This has become an ugly trend that Sri Lanka has fallen victim to.

Similarly, we cannot ignore the role played by the Church in Sri Lanka’s terror. However, much adherents of the faith may not like to have this issue highlighted the fact remains that Church fathers/nuns openly helped LTTE terrorists over the entire period of terror in Sri Lanka – some have openly attended LTTE rallies and protests, had kept children whom were later given to turn into child soldiers. Those that deny, we challenge to explain why no action has been taken by the Church against Father Emmanuel, Bishop Rayappu Joseph and many others who have not minced words about their support for LTTE terrorism. It is as a result of Church lobbying and Faith-based organizations / NGOs that the anti-conversion bill or the animal-welfare bill in Sri Lanka has not been passed.

However, we have some diplomats and former diplomats who peddle the notion that Sri Lanka’s inertia has resulted in the international community going against us – generally citing the previous government’s faults. This is a very naïve opinion to promote given the reality that whether Sri Lanka gives or does not give the wish list of those exerting pressure on Sri Lanka, their foreign policy manoevres are unlikely to change. Giving in or applying the appeasement approach is only advancing the realization of the foreign policy objectives of those countries and exposes Sri Lanka’s lack or inability to counter these policies with proper policies themselves. In the absence of think tanks and country-friendly lobbying groups, the failure of Sri Lanka’s diplomats to counter or at least match the one’s at work overseas exposes our diplomats who have not developed a strategy to present to the Government in power on how to respond and counter foreign policies of countries trying to strangulate Sri Lanka.

In short there is a great game or competition for who rules the world and that often is determined by the power that countries can yield economically, militarily, in terms of numbers shown from the power of people belonging to a religious faith, terror groups, cults, liberal groups etc. All these generate international lobbying and are able to steer policy and determine the already designed plan & strategy. It is often a clash of civilizations when efforts are afoot to bring changes after dislodging people’s ties to their histories, traditions, cultures, ideologies and mindsets for only then can the enemies remove the will of the people to defend their nation. How far even Sri Lanka’s diplomats realize this status quo and diplomatically resolve to protect the ethos that has built the nation is a big question mark. The importance in the answer lies not so much in the training or policy imparted to them but the will of diplomats to defend the heritage of the nation that has to be embedded in them requiring no special tuition to be given. This is why it is ever more important for the foreign ministry to appraise its diplomats and officials of the need to foster, promote and protect that historical heritage. It is the last defense line of a country.

There was a reason for Sri Lanka’s terrorism to last 30 years without the West or India assisting it to be eliminated. There is a reason for the West to enter with their yellow umpire card citing accountability, human rights reconciliation etc. All these align with both West & India’s foreign policy objectives. The question is what did Sri Lanka’s foreign policy makers and the diplomats do to counter it rather than agreeing to implement what the foreign powers wanted!

 

Shenali D Waduge

One Response to “Diplomatic appeasement: The misconception of Sri Lanka losing international support”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    “The question is what did Sri Lanka’s foreign policy makers and the diplomats do to counter it rather than agreeing to implement what the foreign powers wanted!”

    The Answer is simple. BE A CO-SPONSOR of the resolution!!

    No need of diplomacy briefing, No need of years of long study, No need to compose a tune… just dance to the tune of the masters…. We have a band of “Napunsakas” in the driving seat. God bless Mother Lanka,

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