Reading ‘Geneva’ after the vote

28 March 2014 07:07 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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It’s all done.  The annual Geneva circus, that is. It was played for the most part according to script. It was also a foregone conclusion, given swaying powers of those who tabled the resolution on Sri Lanka. Twenty three ‘ayes’, 12 ‘nays’ and 12 ‘thumb-twiddlers’ do not add up to an emphatic resolution. The thumb-twiddlers were in effect saying a ‘diplomatic nay’.  That’s small consolation for Sri Lanka, for the resolution stands at the end of the day. The other consolation is that few if any expected a different outcome.

The obvious mal-intent of the entire process which includes selective targeting, blatant falsehoods and undue interference can only hurt and not facilitate post-conflict healing processes. The UNHRC and indeed the entire UN system stands indicted yet again for incompetence, arrogance, disingenuousness and downright subservience to US interests.

The relative dimensions of mover and moved, that’s the USA and Sri Lanka, will of course bear upon what will follow. Israel and the USA don’t flinch when accused or when resolutions are passed against them; the UN system on such occasions demonstrate pathetic impotency. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will be pinched again and again.  If Sri Lanka is to come through against all these odds, then it has to play its cards right.  The relevant ‘cards’ here would be playing a game called ‘Balancing off’.  The reason is simple.  This is not about truth or justice, healing and reconciliation, accountability and redress or anything like that. This is about power and agenda, preferences and obstacles.

This is why, post-Geneva, Sri Lanka has to assess, revisit, re-assess and revisit again and again the relative merits of friendship.  Sri Lanka has to pick and choose, even as she mouths diplomatic niceties about ‘friendly and cordial relations’, express appreciation for support rendered, suppress the need to guffaw while saying these things, and above all desist from naming according to behaviour. Sri Lanka should never use the word ‘hypocrite’.
Sri Lanka has to smile at friend and enemy alike. Sri Lanka must accept the reality that known spoilers will never be placated and therefore stand with the trusted and show appreciation in concrete form by way of trade and other agreements.  

The only surprise was India.  India was a ‘thumb-twiddler’.  India came out with an 11 point objection to the US-led resolution. The surprise was not that India did not stand with the USA but that India, after making a solid objection, refused to operationalize the objection with a ‘Nay’.  India’s confusion should not confuse Sri Lanka. The election manifesto of India’s ruling party has wording that makes the US-led Resolution almost sound conciliatory. The BJP, which seeks to oust the Congress Party, has referred to the Monroe doctrine, clearly indicating displeasure about Sri Lanka’s friendship with China, Pakistan and Russia.

In this context, it is prudent to treat India as a tricky customer. Pakistan, on the other hand, was unambiguous in its support, China and Russia too.
Once again, let us remember that this is not about truth or justice. It is about power.  And if Sri Lanka is to be censured just because some international bully does not like someone’s face, then Sri Lanka has no option but to seek help from those who stood by Sri Lanka when the bully came a-calling.    
If ‘Geneva’ made this clear, then indeed ‘Geneva’ has helped.
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