The Sunday Leader

Collapse Of Lanka-US Relations

By Gamini Weerakoon

Ruthless pressure being imposed on Sri Lanka to kowtow to America and its Western cheer squad at Geneva was apparent during the recent visit of American Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice John Rapp. A cheap trick certainly unworthy of American diplomacy was used to strengthen unproven allegations  of war crimes against the Sri Lanka government during a visit of Rapp to Lanka’s north with the  American Ambassador in Colombo Michele J. Sison.

A picture on the embassy’s official account of Twitter showed St Anthony’s Grounds, which the ambassador visited. The caption read:  ‘St Anthony’s Ground was the site of the Jan 2009 killing of hundreds of families by army shelling. The Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice was quoted after the Twitter appeared that he now believed that the claim of 40,000 civilians being massacred was correct. No reason was given for this instant enlightenment.

Superpower farce

If this is the evidence that is to be produced at Geneva against Sri Lankans on war crimes, we can only resign ourselves to the enactment of a superpower farce at Geneva with the backing of a pliant ‘international community’.
There is nothing very much Sri Lanka can do now against this kind of propaganda – more  Goebbelsian than American – other than to find out the reasons for this determined onslaught by a country, which at one time was Sri Lanka’s best friend even in times of adversity.

Ambassador James Spain

It will be recalled that even after the 1983 riots, when there was a severe international backlash against Lanka and arms embargoes even by America were enforced, Sri Lanka received American assistance. We have pointed out in previous columns that an Israeli Interests Section was established in the Colombo American Embassy through which arms and military assistance in varied forms came in. President J. R. Jayewardene was hosted to a banquet by President Ronald Reagan and the two leaders established a very good relationship.

The American Ambassador at that time, James Spain was a diplomat who towered physically and intellectually over his contemporaries. His sincerity and commitment to good Lanka-US relations had him making friends with a wide spectrum of Sri Lankan society. He pointed out to this writer that in his time, Sri Lanka became the highest per capita recipient of American aid. The man loved this country so much that after retirement he preferred to live in Lanka rather than go back home and only when extremely ill did he go home.

Other than Ambassador Marion Creekmoore who succeeded him, the others who followed particularly the ladies who were more academically inclined and tended to take in the academic jargon formulated by Sri Lankan and foreign academics.

Diplomats and Diplomats

Can the deterioration of US-Sri Lankan relations be attributed hostile American diplomats and the Sri Lanka diplomats who followed illustrious Sri Lankans such as Ambassador Neville Kanekeratne? How did this State Department hostility to Sri Lanka build up? It is essential to determine the causes if diplomatic relations are to be on an even keel.

A valid reason could be the decision of Mahinda Rajapaksa, even before being elected, to take a hardline towards the LTTE. Soon after assuming power he abandoned the ‘peace process’ and did away with the 4 Co-Chairs who directed the peace process. He disproved the ‘unwinnable theory’ against a guerilla organisation much to the embarrassment of Western military and diplomatic pundits.
American and their allies were strongly against the ‘military option’.

Indian influence

Was it the ever growing Indian influence over America in South Asian Affairs? History shows that India always wanted to have influence over Tamils of the North and East and use them as levers in directing Sri Lankan policy.
Or was it the New Great Game played in the Indian and Pacific Oceans
by American, Chinese and Indian navies? Sri Lanka’s military and economic embrace of China is certainly not to the liking of Uncle Sam.

Has American foreign policy in the late 20th Century and the 21st Century adopted human rights as a foreign policy tool to make recalcitrant emerging countries like Sri Lanka dance to their tunes? America, which historically has been the global leader in the violation of human rights and is continuing to do so, now seems to be obsessed on enforcing human rights on specific countries?
A few or all these causes taken together may be reasons for this hostile obsession to punish Sri Lanka.

It will be in this country’s interest to determine the causes and come to terms with the superpower. Sri Lanka should certainly safeguard its sovereignty and self-respect but bashing of heads against a superpower rock is not the answer.

16 Comments for “Collapse Of Lanka-US Relations”

  1. Trevor Jayetileke

    Dear Gamma, I always read your articles because they are the best to be read for genuine reporting expected of journalists., and your expect your rights and also respect your responsibilities. In your article of our relations with the US which seem to be in a locked horns situation on human rights is the last hope of the west to get Sri Lanka to dance to the Western Tunes of Social Justice and Geopolitics.
    Right now Sri Lanka is the center stage for the Geopolitical Battle between the US and China the two main players with Russia and India playing second fiddle.
    The US could remain Sole Superpower in the 21st century also because of its Military Strength, its unmatchable technical innovation and Model of Economic management., and still leading the World in GDP though having big Financial problems. My sincere advice to the US I love and China I know nothing about is to change track and take Sri Lanka into its confidence as the common “Mascot’ and play a “Ying-Yang” with China. MR the “Magician” has all the cards in his hand and he will play his cards even better than Putin whose only lever is oil. The US which will soon overtake from both Russia and Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer can still Rock the World with Shale the best lever of the 21st so far. Sri Lanka though so insignificant (small and poor) has more than any other country in the World to keep the Socio-Economic balance of the World because we have Buddha’s “Tooth of Wisdom” preciously held in the ‘Temple Pentagon’ in Kandy.

  2. Tamil Indian

    I am surprised you allow comments. Most SL papers don’t. You should.

    I’m a Tamil Indian. Many of you SL have misplaced notions about Indians. Idiotic extremist political parties in TN get publicity and media coverage. The ignorant masses.

    We know LTTE did not represent the Tamil Muslims, Plantation Tamils and Indian Tamils in Colombo. There were civilian casualties because LTTE deliberately used them as shield. People who examine this issue without hypocrisy will understand this. By the way thanks for killing Prabhakaran the way you did.

    You should become a strong federation where all groups feel equal citizens. TN politicians have poisoned India- SL relations. India is much bigger than TN.
    Dont offend all Indians, they are your friends.

    Best wishes to Sri Lanka.

    • Tamil Indian

      I checked back, glad you posted my message.

      I have an idea for you. Advertise and dramatically increase tourism to Sri Lanka from other parts of India. We are a huge country, more than 90% of the population don’t care for TN political issues.

      You should also get business dealings in Sri Lanka big time from North Indians, Gujaratis, Bengalis, Maratis, Telugus and Malayalees. You can tackle India better if you have strong allies inside India.

      On the topic of US pursuing “war crimes” . Did Americans ever face justice for their war crimes in Vietnam and Iraq? I don’t know how many of you know this.
      The US supported the second largest genocide of the 20 th century- 3 million people slaughtered with US supplied weaponry, money and diplomatic support.

      And google ‘The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide’ by Gary J. Bass

    • Don

      Respect to you Tamil Brother… We Sri Lankan do understand and realise that we have true friends like your goodself in India.
      Please spread the word that Sri Lankans don’t want any misunderstandings in the way of iddiotics TN politicians… they are anti Sri Lanka , Anit Indian and most of all anti Tamil… Now the war is over lets us live as friendly neighbours and brothers
      peace to you all of South Asia and World

  3. Dominico

    Mr. Weerakoon, the allegations remain unproven precisely because you guys are resisting a fair inquiry. And you guys are resisting a fair inquiry precisely because you know that if it were to be held, the allegations will be proven. The double standards of the west are well known, and so are their past and present crimes, but that is not the question here. The question is whether very big scale war crimes were committed against Tamils or not. Most Sinhalese know the answer in their hearts.The answer is YES. So accept that in your column before you say anything else – or keep shouting either for money or for your tribal allegiance towards your race, but either way you will not be talking in accordance with your conscience. Shame on you.

    I know this comment will not be published. I also know that any half decent sinhalese reading this line will be ashamed of themselves.

    • warren

      Mr. Dominico your allegations that war crimes was committed is wrong. as you know that the army did their best to save the tamils from the ltte and when the war was on not mp asked the ltte not to use the tamils nor did the tamils living out of the country any one that helped the LTTE with funds our the one’s that have blood on their hands now how free and nice to see the tamil children go a round the country I have met so much of young children so please do speak words of love

    • Dave

      My friend , you are totally wrong.. I am Sinhalese , I never believe my heart even a second that our military did crimes against Tamils . Individual level there can be few such violations but not as a whole. around 25000 young sri lankan solders gave their lives to end LTTE murderers. even ICRC reports show that just because SLA did not use heavy weapons due to civilians , so many solders died…. to save Tamil civilians

      I want to point out what about LTTE crimes against sinhalese for last 30 years. they killed even infants by smashing to coconut trees…
      I know your kind of LTTE brainwashed racist will not believe this kind of things because you are blind

  4. Gayathry Fernando

    All very nice guesses, Uncle Weerakoon, about why US is taking a hard line towards us. It could be because the diplomats after Spain were academics – oh, how disagreeable it is that academics, those despised human beings, should get diplomatic posts for which they are totally unworthy! .It could be because they were ladies – even more unworthy set of people for such posts. It could be because the US is jealous of us – we all know how jealous those pesky westerners are. Or it could be because the injuns influenced them. Injuns who shit on the streets! nasty Indians. Or it could even be because the power games played on the high seas by the big bullies near poor little sri lanka. All very erudite guesses, uncle weerakoon, so very brilliant.

    Let me add another guess of mine, uncle, though I am sure it is an outside chance. Could it be because, our Sri Lankan forces, our war heroes, our nice charming aiyas, actually committed war crimes? Aney, cant be, no?

    Do you have a conscience, uncle Weerakoon?

    • Senaratne

      The question is, do you have at least even a semblance of a conscience? WR crimes or not is this how you repay our brave men and women who sacrificed life and limb for us!? I’d spit in your face if i see you on the road!

    • Dave

      unlike other American prasident, obama always deal with ladies and so he appointed many ladies to key positions and now they messing up everything. greatest example is Hilary Clinton. who messed whole state dept and because of her error , US Ambassador was killed in Libya…

  5. Sri

    The cheapest trick to power was executed from year 1 of independence not witth the Americans but by Sinhala Only politicies made progessively worse with time and expanded from 1956 onwards to date which included genocidal politicies ending in Mulliyawaikal. 40,000 civilains dead is an underestimate between 1983 and 2009. It’s better to look inwards artehr than look for shadowy ghosts in a failed state. This is the raw truth and nothing but the truth.

    • Senaratne

      All you terrorists have been calling SL a failed state since 1956. But i hate to disappoint you that we are doing better than ever now without your tamil terrorist lot!

  6. Gamini,

    How did this State Department hostility to Sri Lanka build up? It is essential to determine the causes if diplomatic relations are to be on an even keel.

    Answer to the question above is that MR is a lier and rules by Deception and he has only one thing on his mind and that is the Total Domination of the Tamils and Colonisation. He cannot fool the World any more by Bribing and his time is up and it is up to you lot to save your Country From Ruins and we are parting Company whether you like it or not.

  7. Mangala

    Most of people never understand this problem correctly, Americans always has hidden agenda on Srilanka and then whole Asia. They just need to divide SL first, then india, they supporte to pakistan to split kashmir from india and support to Ltte TNA to split from SL, break of TN from india is long plan. Americans estimation and plans well works when JR Jayawardana was in power. Because he does not has real sinhala blood. He fulfilled every single american requests. ex: removing caustguards from jaffna peninsula. So SL pays the price by 30 years terrorism. How american did this is very simple, but people still can not see they act like good cop, bad cop principle. good cop is few faces time to time appear and please SL, bad cops are US state dept, CIA is a hidden cop and the worse. No one yet identified their role yet. Even RAW too swallow CIA traps. Anyway Indira, jayalalita, TNA, most NGOs, LTTE and so many are in trap of CIA and US. Some are knows they are trapped, some don’t, some would like to out from trap, some do not. US need another somalia or eritria in Asia, they can intrude every where in Asia then, but they always forget one thing, HISTORY. They always forget to read history, may be they are not believe the history because they don’t have history, or their history is full of HR violations. They should read SL history, if they read they will find, british (US HR violation friends) very easily occupied india, but british had to spend more than 300 years to capture SL. That also by cheating sinhala people, not by real war. But one thing will be sure. SL will never divide, these US allies never success, no one can do it. SL will be Unitary country until worlds end. Not a single emperor or empire last more than 500 years. Rome, British are good examples, more were there before them. On those time, all believe Rome will be eternal, british are eternal, but look what happen, who knows what will happens to US? One thing is more sure, US are doing most horrible things in this world than before emperors. One day US will see its may day too.

  8. Malcolm X

    Looks like Uncle Sam is not after SL but its Govt.& leaders.Perhaps the reasons better known by our Govt.& Uncle Sam only.

  9. jayasiri

    Good advice. Not that we can win bashing our heads, BUT STAND up for the FREE & Independence of Sri Lanka.

    Some in USA now say that most legisilation & secret tappings of private individuals under the guise of PROTECTING USA citizens is not accepted by Americans.

    Sri Lanka is forced to bear untold suffering due to USA resolutions to Gneeva as a NORMAL routine matter. Small country like Sri Lanka, cannot & SHOULD NOT succumb to such SELECTIIVE DISCRIMINARY practices.
    India gets away scott free with much HARSH & unacceptable violations, BUT as India is needed in USA camp to punish other countries in So. Asia, she is overlooked.

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