THE POHOTTUWA GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA Part 2 C4c
Posted on January 3rd, 2021

KAMALIKA PIERIS

The USA, we are told, has two governments, a visible government and an invisible one. The visible government is the one run by the US President and Congress.   But the real power which drives US policy is elsewhere, say analysts.

USA’s politics is masterminded by a small financial elite, they added, a kind of cabal,  who control just about everything in Washington. They are the invisible government. Many in this elite are Jewish. The coterie includes powerful international bankers.

This financial elite virtually runs the United States government. They operate independently of the elected representatives. They club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do their bidding.”  It does not matter who become the President of the USA, he will simply march to the tune of those who stand behind the scenes and pull the strings, said analysts.

The political ideology of this elite is labeled ‘neo conservatism’ and its practitioners were known as ‘neo cons’. The original neoconservatives, believe it or not, were former Trotskyites now turned anti-Trotsky, anti- socialist and ultra right. They were influenced by the ideas of Leo Straus, (1899-1973) a Jewish immigrant who became professor of Political Science at University of Chicago. Strauss said that masses were an inferior breed who needed to be ruled by an intelligent elite. It was the right of the superior elite to rule the inferior masses.

The neo cons were also influenced by the journalist, Irving Kristol (1920-2009).   Kristol is considered the father of neo-conservatism. He was against the welfare state and the African American civil rights movement in USA. He wanted both squashed.

The term, “neo-conservatism was coined in 1973. Neo conservative ideas began to enter the mainstream thinking in the USA in 1970s. The third generation of Neo-cons emerged in the mid 1990s. These neo-cons are active, aggressive and reactionary said critics. They wish to turn the clock back on the liberal gains and achievements.”  They said welfare programs were breeding a culture of dependency.

Many ‘Neo cons’ are leading personalities in the USA. They have exceptional intellectual ability. They hold key positions in the administration . They are well placed, otherwise too.  Neo cons dominate Washington’s think tanks and the news media.

The neo cons, are not conspiratorial. They prefer to write voluminously and act openly with respect to their philosophies and actions, said analysts. They host policy conferences that attract powerful politicians.

Neo-cons are skilled operatives. They know how to obtain steady funding  there is an unabating flow of such support. Their organizations and projects attract huge funding from donors and foundations.

Neo-cons have institutions that back them. They own publishing houses and television stations and through these they control the media.  They have publications that disseminate their views and shape public debate.

Neo cons are very skilled propagandists. They use their writings to give intellectual legitimacy to policies that are extreme and inacceptable. The neo cons are adept at writing articles that twist any set of facts to suit their ideological cause. They know how to spin facts” in ways that mislead the audience, said critics. The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate.

Neo con values have been accepted inside USA.  a  Pew survey  of 2011  found that 58%  of the Americans said freedom to pursue life’s goals without interference from the state is more important than the state guaranteeing nobody is in need. Neo cons encourage the strong individualistic tradition in the US. Americans favours liberty more than equality. To be free of governmental intervention is far more important than to have a benevolent state provide welfare to the population, they said.

Some neo cons have taken an interest in Sri Lanka .Geoge Soros is a leading ‘neo con’ and his Open Society Foundation is a major source of funding for the Neo-con movement. Soros turned up in Sri Lanka at the start of the Yahapalana government of 2015-2019.

Two other names which are familiar to Sri Lanka are U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Samantha Power. Samantha Power visited Sri Lanka in 2015 and 2019. She said that Sri Lanka has been a true partner of the United States. She considered Mangala Samaraweera one of the most remarkable people I encountered during my eight years serving in the US government”.

Susan Rice said in 2015 that Sri Lanka was a society in transition. She equated Sri Lanka with Myanmar and Tunisia. Susan Rice is said to have been particularly anti-Arab and anti-Islam, and was scathing and sneering at the Palestinians in the UN General Assembly when the UN granted Palestine observer status. Rice will serve as the director of the Domestic Policy Council in the incoming Biden administration.

The neo cons follow the economic policy of ‘Neoliberalism’.  AmericanNeoliberalism is a policy that affects both politics and economics. It seeks to transfer the control of economic factors from the public sector to the private sector.  Neoliberalism   firmly supports free market capitalism. It insists on privatization and free trade.  It frowns on public ownership.  It sets limits to government regulation and demands drastic cuts to government spending.

The USA’s foreign policy includes a neo liberal economic package. US foreign policy demands that developing countries follows the free market system which emphasis the maximization of profit and has no state intervention or control of industry. Corporate taxes must be reduced. The country must open itself to global markets.

There must be privatization of state enterprises and the removal of government subsidies. Government should sell off any industrial assets they own. There should be open entry of foreign firms into the local economy. Imports must be liberalized.

Social welfare schemes must be reduced. Governments should dramatically cut back funding of social programs and privatize pension systems. The tax base should be broadened, which meant taxing as many people as possible. Labor organizations and collective bargaining should be brought under control.

Neo liberal economics have concocted theories to support their tactics. They said that the market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve. The market” sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations. What the market wants” means what corporations and their bosses want, said critics.

In neo liberalism the rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it. In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind are simply losers. If you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising. The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

The Neoliberalist ideology has increasingly prevailed in large part of the world. This carried the notion that the market knows best, and the business of business is business” and government should not interfere. These dogmatic beliefs have been proved wrong. The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when, expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, a large fish, not for the minnows, the smaller fish, said critics.  It is a policy that benefited the wealthy.  Neo liberalism has no plans for helping the weak and impoverished groups.

Critics note that economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal   period in UK and USA, starting in 1980 than it was in the preceding decades. Like communism, Neoliberalism is a God that failed. But the zombie doctrine staggers on, complained critics.

The implementation of Neo-con foreign policy has created considerable upheavals in people’s lives which had been relatively safe and peaceful, poverty where relatively little of it had existed, or it increased the existing levels of poverty. Western societies which practice neo-liberal economics have epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia, analysts observed.

This neo liberal approach is challenged by other models which have proved to be more successful. China’s economic policies are the exact opposite of neo liberal policy. China went in for high levels of protectionism, no privatization, extensive industrial policies planning, and lax fiscal and financial policies through the 1990s.   This turned out to be successful.

The remarkable economic growth of the East Asian Tigers was due to the dominant role played by governments. East Asian governments   actively encouraged industry and also managed to increase domestic savings. These governments had highly protectionist policies that barred foreigners from owning land and from buying out national firms.  The East Asian Tigers showed that mixed, managed economies grew faster and more equitably than those following the neo liberal style, said analysts.

 Analysts also noted that countries like Norway, Singapore, and China have developed “infrastructure-savvy economies” where the government investing massively in infrastructure projects. These countries had large-scale, government-funded investments in strategic infrastructure projects, said analysts.

US   found that it was not easy to impose Neo liberal prescriptions on reluctant foreign countries, given the unpopularity of the neo liberal reforms. The determined US found that it had to impose military force, stealth  and political terror to get the neo liberal policies through.

They hit on a deadly tactic, the Shock tactic. The opposition to Neo liberal economics is so great that the neo cons decided that only a large-scale disaster (hurricane, tsunami, military coup) can   help get neo liberal reforms through, while people were distracted. Neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies. They also supported the actual creation of such a crisis.

Naomi Klein called this The Shock Doctrine. The shock doctrine suggests that unpopular free market” measures   could be pushed through in periods of chaos following wars, coups, natural disasters and economic panics. During a crisis, neo liberal moves will go unscrutinized, that is the moment when unpopular policies could be rushed through.

The first country in which the neo liberal economic programme was comprehensively applied was Chile under Pinochet. This was the first test case and Milton Friedman the leading neo liberal economist, was there in person. He saw the difficulties of imposing neo liberal policies and had called for shock treatment.  Similarly when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, USA, Milton Friedman, described it as an opportunity to radically reform the educational system” recorded Kline.

Those who wish to implement unpopular free market policies now routinely do so by taking advantage of certain features of the aftermath of major disasters, the disaster can be natural or artificial. Klein says that neo liberalists, such as Milton Friedman and his followers have been perfecting this very strategy. They wait for a major crisis, and then sell off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock, and then quickly make the “reforms” permanent.

These shocks are intentionally encouraged or even manufactured in foreign countries by the US. A major collective shock would help prepare the ground for an economic shock. The falling bombs, the bursts of terror, the pounding winds will soften up whole societies, they said in anticipation. The population goes limp at these times.  A strategist from Morgan Stanley actually told a conference, ‘what we need now in Asia is more bad news. Bad news to keep stimulating the adjustment process.’

The April 2018 bomb blasts in Catholic churches by Muslims, was immediately seen as a shock tactic supported by the USA. The ISIS story was brushed aside. The intelligentsia looked at the link between Muslim extremists in Sri Lanka, funds from Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia’s link to USA. Instead of going limp as expected, Sri Lanka reacted strongly, hunted out the next set of waiting bombers and prevented further carnage. (Continued)

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