Upcoming SOFA ,SL / US treaty negotiations
Posted on June 15th, 2019

Dr. Chuls Rajapakse MNZM Wellington NZ

In these, Sri Lanka needs to think carefully of what is best for Sri Lanka, it’s sovereignty, economy, it’s culture.

US is still our biggest trading partner. Now  it is courting a favour from us to enhance it’s global  political ambitions ( as China did when we went to them for economic and developmental assistance)

This time US is courting us as a country headed by it’s majority population .

It is not coming to teach us human rights like the awful Dems did and favored the minority against the majority led by their misconceptions formed succumbing to decades of minority misinformation.

The challenge now is to get the best bang for the buck that US seeks . Strike a hard bargain as President Mahinda did with China.

This should not be anathema to any , least of all to a former US citizens nor to the majority of the population that would run to live in the US given half a chance, provided SL’s interests are not compromised .

The Bang” SL would need for Uncle Sam’s Buck” should include :

Withdrawal of crooked Hilary ‘ s UNHCR  resolution.

BSP provisions, improved to BSP +

Active marketing of SL or support to do so in US for tourism, investments from US companies especially in the Knowledge economy highlighting the very high literacy in language and IT among SL’s.

Supporting the transformation of SL into the financial and IT hub for South Asia with theColombo Port City project

Sharing security information with SL especially when it’s interests are compromised.

Reciprocal visa free travel to US like with many western nations

Respecting and safeguarding SL sovereignit, it’s religion and culture and not doing anything against these interests.

Fascilitating the presentation of the nation’s religion Buddhism that is likely to have strong appeal among majority of educated Americans disillusioned with the vision provided by contemporary western religions whose fundamentals are inconsistent with modern scientific findings. Not so for Buddhism. 

Buddhism is not science but it,s philosophy is consistent with Science. Not so for most other religions, which is not to say that they do not provide good guidance to a moral and peaceful life , which is still to be recommended as a simple philosophy to a not so questioning mind.

Boots on ground” provisions be restricted and  includes local approval and be reciprocal. 

SL for a long was a country that no one looked at. President JR tried his best to get US  interested in SL but the best he got was visit to the Regan White House as a state guest .

Now the two greatest powers, US and China are falling over each other to court SL . 

The Hambantota port which everybody denounced especially the Y Palanaya”, 

Is now where both of these are vying to get a foot in. So also for the new developments in the Colombo Port, all President Mahinda’s work.

Soon they will also realize the vlue of the much castigated Mattala Airport” .

The trade war between US and China has exposed China’s still reliance on US rather than the reverse . This will be so till China’s technology becomes fully independent . That is some years ahead . Till then US will have the edge. 

In that scenario Trumps US offers much more potential for SL than a Dems US

The challenge for SL leaders is for them to strike the best bargain on the above terms .The important thing is for SL leaders to keep SL’ s interests uppermost in their minds.

I would have more confidence in the one who won the unwinnable war , kept SL ‘s security impeccably intact there after and transformed Colombo into the best travel destination in the world, (lonely planet twice and CNN once ) with his insights into how US ticks having once been it’s subject, to do so,

over 

the other who miserably failed to maintain SL’s  security , ran down it ‘s economy, growth rate, per capita income , ran down Hambantota and port city and then capitulated into falling back again to these very same under worse terms and is now singing their praises to the high heavens .

However, he did get the BSP + from EU and that is not to be scorned .

My only plea and hope is that in his remaining tenure he at least keeps SL’s interest uppermost in his heart , along the lines mentioned during the negotiations in the coming weeks.

Dr. Chuls Rajapakse MNZM

Wellington NZ

15.6.19

2 Responses to “Upcoming SOFA ,SL / US treaty negotiations”

  1. Christie Says:

    We have to strike a deal that suits both parties and help us in dealing with our adversaries like Indian hegemony.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Toward Post Terror Stability In Sri Lanka: OpEd

    EurasiaReview.com

    June 18 (ER) A few weeks ago, a security expert who has studied the so-called Islamic State (IS) rightly said to this author, that “Your country was ‘staged’.” While the IS attempted to take credit for the attacks, they do not appear to have been directed by the group.

    Those who perpetrated the attacks seem to have been influenced by the IS, but the precise manner and extent of it is unclear. Nonetheless, the claims of responsibility by the IS have had a significant impact on national morale in Sri Lanka due to their concurrence with geopolitical concerns the country faces. The Easter Sunday attacks worsen the prevailing crisis of national morale connected in significant ways to Sri Lanka’s position in relation to great power rivalry between the US and China.

    Geopolitical Context

    With the expansion of the geopolitical reach of global liberal hegemony, the Indian Ocean has been a vital highway of the global energy market. The US naval presence in the island of Diego Garcia, located equidistant from several littoral states of the Indian Ocean, has aided US liberal hegemonic foreign policy as a base for small and large missions carried out over the past few decades in the region. Many more future military expeditions may be carried out from this flexible strategic hub, projecting US military power in and beyond the Indian Ocean. However, in February 2019, the International Court of Justice ruled that Diego Garcia, which has insofar been administered by the UK, be transferred to Mauritius, signaling the need for the US to consider exploring alternative locations in the Indian Ocean.

    Meanwhile, located less than 2000 kilometres from Diego Garcia and at the center of Indian Ocean sea lines of communications is Sri Lanka. While Sri Lanka took a non-aligned position in its foreign policy during the Cold War period, today, its foreign policy is multi-aligned, struggling to strike a balance in the context of great power rivalries and internal political disunity. Akin to a tight-rope walker without a pole, any significant measure of stability remains elusive.

    Small nations have always owed their independence either to the international balance of power or rejection of imperial aspirations. For Sri Lanka, crucial is its position in the global balance of power between the US and a rising China, increasingly viewed by the US as a national security threat (as evidenced by recent US trade sanctions). Former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake, highlighted this in his recent interview in Colombo, where he said, “First, my advice to America is that it should not ask the countries to choose between China and the U.S. They do not want to choose. They want to have good relations with the US, China, India and others.” Yet this cannot be achieved with US liberal hegemonic aspirations in the Indian Ocean. In this context, any Sri Lankan foreign security agreement with global powers should be vetted by Sri Lanka’s parliamentary body with inputs from national security researchers, for otherwise Sri Lanka might be unprepared for unanticipated national security implications in the future.

    A rigorous process must avoid conjecture and unsubstantiated allegations, instead feeding careful observations and research inputs into the security establishment. The independence of Sri Lanka will be in jeopardy if the US or China take a decisive turn to pull Sri Lanka closer towards their respective orbits, such as in the past when China has sought to gain a decisive and permanent advantage. The recalibration towards achieving a balance by Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe was viewed as a threat by China, as certain policies made the island country vulnerable to US-led liberal hegemony. It is essential, then, for Sri Lanka to stabilise itself on the metaphorical tight-rope, especially given that the US has stated in its most recent National Security Strategy that its number one threat is China and Russia, and number two is the IS.

    The Need to Uplift National Morale

    National morale is the degree of determination with which a country supports the foreign policies of its government in times of peace or war. According to International Relations theorist Hans Morgenthau, it permeates all activities of a country including its military establishment and diplomatic service.

    In 2015, the Sri Lankan government divided its portfolios, leaving the president with national security, and the opposition with external affairs. After the 30/1 UNHRC resolution (on promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in post-war Sri Lanka) and subsequent constitutional crisis, there was deep polarisation within the political establishment which triggered a national security threat which perhaps went unnoticed for some time, but whose instability was felt by the entire country from time to time. More recently, after the Easter Sunday attacks, the president flew to China to meet his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, while his Foreign Minister travelled to the US to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Both left perhaps to bring in assistance from the two polarised camps.

    This polarisation in the establishment harms the national morale of Sri Lanka. It threatens and limits the country’s power to carry its agenda forward or stabilise internal politics. In this vulnerable environment, the risk of external threats creeping in to take advantage is extremely real.

    Read More:: ER (Source)

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