What the Superpowers did to Somalia & Zimbabwe:That is our fate if we are not united and not smart
Posted on May 16th, 2011

By Garvin Karunaratne, Ph.D.

Somalia was once a country with a vibrant economy. That was not far away- it was all in the Sixties. Earlier it had been a nomadic country that developed its agriculture and liuvestock. There the last ruler was Said Barre. He drew enormous help-loans, from Soviet Russia to develop his county. Those were the days when the USA vyied for power with Soviet Russia. Said Barre turned to the USA, that offered more liberal loans. In that process the country got into debt that it could sustain only by getting further loans- funds from further loans enabled it to pay the debt service (interest and part payments due on the loans).

Then came the crash- the USA under President Ronald Regan took President Gorbachev for a ride. Gorbachev under the influence of the West came up with his Perestroika and Glasnost- free market, liberalization and transparency. These concepts imposed on a country so far managed by Communism resulted in the crash of the Soviet Union as a major power. Then the USA reneged on its ally, Somalia, because its strategic position was no longer important to them. Without loans the Somalian economy crashed. The Government failed to hold the country together. That was in 1991. Chiefs and brigands took control over many areas. Aided, one of the chiefs held power for a while and the country disintegrated.

Today the well to do- those who were rich have scrambled their way to the UK. This was in the Nineties and I had a number of them in my Third World study classes at Westminster. They were telling of what had befallen their country. Later, many also found their way as illegal immigrants to Britain and other European countries. Within London itself there are pockets of Somalian refugees. Those who were left in Somalia had no incomes, no employment and the government itself decamped at times to Kenya and to Ethiopia. The USA stepped in, sent a force of commandoes that got smashed up and retreated There are 1.5 million people displaced and 3.5 millions on the verge of starvation today. The most lucrative employment open now is that of pirating and they pirate anything on the seas- ocean liners, luxury yachtsmen, tourists and tankers- all released on money and otherwise pilfered, even murdered. The unwritten information is that the money taken as ransom from pirating end in the homes of Somalians in Kenya who are buying up real estate.

Let us look at what we are in for. The UNP(United National Party) inherited a country that was not in debt from Prime Minister Sirimavo in 1977. The foreign debt was only $ 750 million and that too on project development where when the projects were developed the income accruing from that loan investment would have paid for its dues(interest and repayments). The UNP embraced the IMF teachings of free trade and liberalization, did away with national planning and foreign exchange controls and allowed foreign exchange for everything.

The country did not have sufficient foreign exchange for this luxury and extravagance. The IMF remedy was to offer loans on interest and this increased the debt. By the end of UNP rule in 1995 the debt repayments required further loans. The debt has increased now due to the expenditure on the war and today unless we get loans we cannot service the debt. That was the legacy of UNP rule.

The country was getting on its feet, with the defeat of Prabhakaran and his terrorist outfit, two years ago, but the Tamil Diaspora and the Superpowers have had different ideas. All the Superpowers pressurized President Mahinda Rajapaksa to spare the LTTE and not to defeat them but he did not agree and totally annihilated them from the shores of Sri Lanka. Let us not forget that the Japanese even sent engineers to build an underground water passage, under the pretext of helping tsunami damage. The passage was large and sufficient to allow a submarine to get away. This was actually an escape route for Prabhakaran. These acts show that even the Superpowers were pro “”…”LTTE, although they were talking otherwise. It is now clear that the Superpowers were intent on destabilizing Sri Lanka which they did by clandestinely supporting the LTTE. Luckily our sovereignty and unity was preserved because of the timely action of President Rajapaksa.

The latest method of the Superpowers is through the Secretary General of the United Nations. They got him to appoint a Panel to advise him.

Instead of advising him, the Panel has written a report implicating the Sri Lankan Government, which the Secretary General had decided to release to the public. This highhanded action on the part of the Secretary General is fully supported by the Superpowers, who are now agitating that Sri Lanka should investigate and offer accountability for what happened in the last days.

All this is meant to destabilize Sri Lanka.

We have to be united to withstand this attack from all sides.

Ambassador Jayatileke and legal luminary Gomin Dayasiri have said that it is very likely that sanctions will follow and that could crack our backbone. Gomin Dayasiri is of the opinion that the Superpowers and the United Nations’ Secretary General want a regime change- President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to be out of the scene!. I have read too much in history to believe that sanctions will not come. If it does Sri Lanka will go the way that Zimbabwe went- with rampant inflation, a totally devalued currency, mass unemployment and untold poverty.

Let us look at what happened to Zimbabwe. At the Lancastergate Agreement it was agreed that Britain would pay some 800,000 pounds to pay off the white farmers in case their land were taken over for distribution. Ten years later, when Zimbabwe asked Britain to honour that Agreement Tony Blair reneged. What happened was : “Blair’s strategy was to generate global economic sanctions against Zimbabwe to make life impossible for its citizenry, who in turn would turn against their leadership. Well, he succeeded. BBC executives who tried to tell the truth in the early days of the Blair plan were silenced with threats of losing their jobs.”(Zimbabwean Hearld :16/1/2009)

The only wrong thing that Mugabe did was to take over the land from white farmers. When Blair reneged Mugabe told the white farmers that were dispossed to go to hell. The white farmers during the days of colonial Rhodesia, had taken over as much as 16 million acres of farm rich land leaving the uncultivable land for the locals. Mugabe did no wrong in trying to taking over the land that had been once wrested by the whites. What Mugabe did was far less against the Superpowers than what our President did by defeating the LTTE.

But that is not the entire story After reaching Independence, when Zimbabwe was a great economy, the IMF came in with their Structural Adjustment Programme and weaned the economy to loans and a liberal foreign exchange system, exactly what President Jayawardena and my good friend Ronnie de Mel did to Sri Lanka. Ronnie is a sharp administrator and could not have been bluffed by the IMF mandarins. My take is that he was silenced to follow the IMF by President Jayawardena.

Burdened with sanctions an indebted Zimbabwe could not survive. History reveals that he ran again and again to China for help but that source dried up and Zimbabwe is today a country where inflation is rampant and where people cannot find employment or even food.

We will have to face sanctions sooner or later. We will be fools if we do not understand this now itself. President Jayawardena’s legacy was an indebted country. He had totally sacrificed the self sufficiency motto of our earlier leaders. The IMF teaching was globalization, free trade where imports were allowed with low duty or no duty and the local entrepreneurs, burdened with high interest on loans closed down their enterprises. Now we import around fifty billion of food annually. He even abolished the development infrastructure of the Vegetable, Fruit and Paddy Purchasing Scheme that had been built up to help farmers to sell their produce and simultaneously for the urban consumers to get food at cheap rates. This was the Marketing Department at work.( See Lanka Web under my name for details). This abolished development

infrastructure is yet to be installed. Now President Rajapaksa in an

attempt to get at self sufficiency has recently extended a massive fertilizer subsidy for all crops. My take is that he has to, in addition, streamline the agricultural extension service which was sacrificed by President Premadasa when he decided to promote all Agricultural Overseers as Grama Niladharis. The extension service was thus starved. President Chandrika brought in a cadre of Niyamakas who were never trained. (I have moaned on the failure of our extension service at length on this in my book: How the IMF Ruined Sri


To face sanctions we have also to be united, especially when the Superpowers and the leading international organization for development- the United Nations is trying to impose sanctions through appointing Panels to wring our neck.

Sanctions take the form of no loans, no grants, no investors except to invest a paltry sum and take away more annually(like KFC, Macdonalds, PizzaHut), no tourists and worse-more virulent- to fund NGO who work against the Government. That was what crippled Zimbabwe. Mugabe was taken for a ride by the IMF and the NGO.

We have to save ourselves and be firm about it. We have to guard our shores and be enternally vigilant. It has so happened that I travel globally and all baggage to the USA cannot be locked up. Many a time my baggage had been checked by the US Homeland Security, a new outfit with tremendous powers. When I entered Atlanta I found all the Visa Officers with repeaters at their holster. I can remember that a few months ago when Sri lanka wanted to have an Army presence in the Visa section, the Immigration Officers opposed it. Our customs officers check less than one percent of the baggage that comes in and that too for a local who had brought a radio. The USA checks for arms and weaponry. That is what we should be doing. We have to Save our country and we can do that easily under the present leadership of President Rajapaksa, the saviour who liberated us from the LTTE terror.

Finally, let not what happened to Somalia & Zimbabwe, happen to my country.

Garvin Karunaratne, Ph.D. Michigan State University,

Formerly of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service.

May 10, 2011

8 Responses to “What the Superpowers did to Somalia & Zimbabwe:That is our fate if we are not united and not smart”

  1. jay-ran Says:

    Very interesting and heart breaking analysis of true picture of present state of affairs and the true danger faced by Sri Lanka today.As a young Sri Lankan during the late 50s and 60s I can remember how the Late Sirimao Bandaranayake,First Woman Prime Minister in the world from Sri Lanka, managed the economy and marched towards prosperity facing immence obstacles.When she took over Sri Lankan Govt,all items starting from even the Pins & SHAVING BLADES WERE IMPORTED FROM OVERSEAS.Practically, all items were imported.During her tenure of office as PM,with the help of Russian and and other such countries, so many Industries were started .Name a few are,Kelani Tyre Manufacturing Plant,Veyangoda/Thulhiriya/Wellawatta Weaving Mills Fabric manufacturing Industries, so many Shirts Manufacturing Industries at Ratmalana.We were very proud at that time to wear Locally manufactured Tetoron Shirts and Trousers,shave with locally made razor blades.With restricted imports,rationed items like milk etc were distributed.But swallen headed Sri Lankans prefered OPEN ECONOMY and elected JRJ the biggest traitor.Had Mrs Sirimao’s rule continued for another 5 yrs, Sri Lanka would have opened a new chapter of prosperity.

    As the writer says, we Sri Lankans must join together to thrash the obstacles the Present Govt is facing and stop foolish agitations like:
    University Lecturers Pay Hike(do they really work 8 hrs genuinely???)
    University Students strikes,
    JVP and UNP oriented agitations and strikes against private sector pension schemes etc.


  2. Lorenzo Says:

    But the fact is SLs aren’t united. If there would be sanctions, there will be more disunity. We are fools to assume otherwise. Colombians will NEVER unite for a better SL. They simply can’t live with any form of sanctions. And they are economically and politically powerful. Tamils in the north will grab the opportunity to get their Tamil Elam (total independence) or Tamil Nadu (federal).

    Even if we were united (hypothetically) there is nothing we can do against sanctions. This is another sad fact. It is foolish to evade these facts. The 1970s government was so very unpopular when they ran the country as if there were sanctions. People hated it so much that they set the record which stand even today for the longest stay in opposition (17 years). I doubt this record will ever be broken by the UNP.

    We have to make use of resources in the north and east to develop the country by making them directly available to all not just Tamils.

  3. jayt Says:

    Professor Garvin absolutely right but in the case of Misers Bandaranake, what happen to her like other Sinhalese leaders, she did not know that a foreign group were operating to against her to turn her against UNP and to process president Jayarwardena and get him against India and turn India against Sri lanka and then waited a while to make sure ex soviet break up into pieces to stab behind Pakistan. And now working on finding or inventing a reason to break up Pakistan. To breakup Pakistan? I think now it is time for US to refuse foreigners advice and make peace with the world rather than creating a never ending global war.

  4. gdesilva Says:

    It is nice to know that more and more people are becoming aware of the brutal schemes adopted by the West to destabilize Sri Lanka. As mentioned above this is a well known strategy that has been carried out in many developing countries which eventually tore those countries apart. If you have not heard before, I suggest you listen to John Perkins, a former US Economic Hitman who has written books on this – you can also hear him on Youtube.More awareness we create among the Sr Lankans, better chance we have of having to go down the path taken by many others like Somalia. Spread the word – this is the only way to unite Sri Lanka and save it from this grave threat.

  5. andylingam Says:

    Lorenzo Says:
    I lost my respect for you when you over reacted the the allegation that 40,000 died in the last stages of the war. Even if it is true, there totally nothing wrong with that. They provided a human shield to protect the LTTE and DESERVEDLY died. Thanks to their death we have peace today.

    Who is over reacting , you are answering some one question , Nothing wrong 40,000 died ( ok 400 dead), We all know LTTE them kept in gun point . How can you thanks some one dead !

    I do not think you can expect unity from even your own family member Sir !

    God bless mother lanka !

  6. SonOflanka Says:

    West used monetary approach to destruct communist loving Somalia. That is true. However, now look to our neighbor India and what west has used against the communist ideology in India. Shame to say it is called vaginal approach.
    Look. How India is today, thanks to Sonia Gandhi. What happened to the communist ideology of Indira? Did West replace Indira by Sonia?

  7. AnuD Says:

    This is a very good article.

    West had used every time in every country the multiparty system demicracy and the opposition to destablize the coountry.

    India never got space from the West until all the CEOs who run the big companies in the west approached by them. See how many CEOs in big companies are Indians.

    In Sri Lanka, UNP and JVP do that workfor the west. JVP recently declared that they would not talk against the USA. Instead, JVP now talk Imperialism.

    We need to be self sufficient and become an important player in the region. We need to keep good relations with them too. Sri Lanka always followed NAM. that is good too.

  8. AnuD Says:

    when we consider Unity west is the most disunited. There, even the president/prime minister is a pawn of the bureaucracy and bureaucracy runs the country. that is why when they become major contenders to top post, they all are briefed. After that, they decide most important as per the bueraucracy’s need.

    Sri Lankans are united. the best example is how they accepted the higher taxes imposed by the govt during the war and they tolerated it.

    Population of the country become just pawns. Only the multinational companies and big corporate players can demand from the govt and force the govt.

    For example, read one article written by an Indian Journalist who scolded Clintons treating India differently and Obama treating India differently. there the case was India is a big and powerful country.

    But, in Sri Lanka, once a president comes the whole bureaucracy, justice and everythung is run by him.

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