By DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
It was none other—and no less—than Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who in an interesting article in the world press, provides us with the key phrase in understanding what’s going on in this country, how we came to be at this point, who benefits and who were probably involved, what the agenda is and where we are headed. In a piece published in the Japan Times, he uses the phrase: “…resetting our strategic position in the world.” (‘Winning Sri Lanka’s Peace’, The Japan Times, April 8, 2015).
Note that Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, a shrewd man, is not talking about ‘re-balancing’, of ‘course correction’; of a shift in emphasis from the ham-fisted external relations of the second Rajapaksa term. He is not talking about tactics, but about strategic positioning; about re-setting our strategic position in the world. This is a fundamental shift from Sri Lanka’s traditional positioning deriving from the island’s history, geography and abiding sense of collective identity (what Dr. Kissinger calls “the character of nations”).
The problem with such re-setting of our strategic position is not one of ideological preference. It is a matter of Sri Lanka’s core national interest. Is that interest served by resetting our global strategic position; reorienting it towards the US-UK and India, with their influential Tamil lobbies and vote blocs? The most recent evidence yields a negative answer.
Prime Minister David Cameron made the following disclosure in his message for Sinhala and Tamil New Year: