Term limits and fake diplomatic punditry of the West
Posted on September 13th, 2010

By Philip Fernando –Writer is the former Deputy Editor of the Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka.

The anti-democratic slant imputed by the US State Department to the legislative process relative to presidential terms limits in Sri Lanka exceeded all limits of proprietorship.  US has not merely recommended or suggested what Sri Lanka should do about terms limits.  Debunking and denouncing is what is practiced: the signature dictum of the West.  Assigning blame without any provocation and use of fake diplomatic punditry is West’s favourite pastime.

 There is an ethical imperative in foreign affairs that debars any country from interfering in others’ internal affairs.  Open and free-wheeling exchange of information is not what the West likes but cajoling the unsuspecting developing countries whose economies seemed to be faring better than that of the bullying dogmatists.

 The remarks by the US State department that ending of term limits constituted a drift towards dictatorialism are a non-starter.  The grotesque and unjustifiable practices against enemy combatants during the Bush era now deemed gross violations of Geneva conventions are quite relevant to this discussion.  Double standards stare the US State department in the face.

 Uncalled for comments 

US State department’s statement on Sri Lanka’s 18th amendment is baffling in its hyperbole and simplemindedness. Denouncing the end of term limits was wrong and uncalled for. 

 Some would even call it immoral to take away the right of a person to contest elections as long as the electorate decides the winners and the loser.  Using faked political punditry is unworthy of any serious discussion of democratic ideals. 

 If examples closer home are needed the West can detect clear undemocratic trends emanating from the US Tea Party goons carrying guns to public meetings or those professing to burn Qurans in public in Florida.

 Not a defining political axiom

 The American over-reaction to President Franklyn Roosevelt getting elected three times was an aberration and not a defining political axiom.  There are no limits on the U S Congress and Senate members now.  Jerry Brown who was California governor twice is contesting again for the same post now.

 What role the United States can and should play in the world, from being a self-professed anti-totalitarian liberal colossus currently in decline economically would not be determined by the ridiculous act of poking fingers at the affairs of others.

 US that just withdrew its forces after a long and dismal war in Iraq seemed forced to turn its back on its adventures in imperial idealism, the so called nation-building syndrome.  It has no right to pontificate on Sri Lanka that just vanquished terrorism from its shores.  The days that US sprang to action under the pretext of being lured by plain optimism are history now.

 Modification of State form

 Sri Lanka’s evolutionary modification of state form is an example of the real or perceived external threat emanating from the West.  External threat or intrusion almost always spurred a hardening effect.  In Cowboy Westerns that was called “the Injuns were coming. “

 This shift is a salutary example of the counterproductive nature of the West’s failure to fully support Sri Lanka, a practising democracy, in its war against the Tiger terrorists, and the still worse detrimental impact of continued external pressure against Sri Lanka experiencing a near post-war renaissance.

 The West seemed oblivious to the fact that Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court heard the submissions of the critics and has ruled on the matter, without dissent””‚a hallowed tradition much revered in the West””‚currently and conveniently overlook by State Department.

 The West has lost the art of engaging nations in a healthy dialogue.  The most pressing intellectual issue in this decade is this tension between the insular declining world of “super-powerdom”   and nations making rapid strides in the right direction. 

 State Department has failed to use effortlessly digestible norms or lightly-worn erudition.  Instead, it shows the stance of a riled Goliath threatening scorched-earth reprisals against others for no apparent reason.  The obvious predicament in any cellar-to-attic survey of such unbecoming moves by the West would easily reveal ingrained habits, gadgets and techniques that bespeak ill of the West still not getting it right after decades of trial and error prognostications.

 Sri Lanka is on a correct trajectory towards greater times.  She does not need any ill-begotten wrath of the West.  They can shove it any where they want it but not on Sri Lanka.

 

Writer is the former Deputy Editor of the Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka.

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