Wed, 23 Jun 2021 Today's Paper

Sri Lanka has a frog in the well mentality—Dayan

28 March 2013 07:45 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A A A

Continued from yesterday’s page 9

Interview with Academic and former Diplomat Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke


Q: You said Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy lacked architecture, who is responsible for this?

It is not all that Sri Lanka’s foreign policy lacks; honestly I think that Sri Lanka doesn’t have a foreign policy. I don’t think we have a foreign policy doctrine, I have not seen a single key-note speech, still less a white-paper or any kind of definitive text, which guides our foreign policy. We don’t have a foreign policy concept.

Q:  Who is responsible for this?

Who and what is responsible for that. My own interactions with President Rajapaksa, the last one being last year on his way to Rio+, tell me that he is a man of considerable political intuition—he is a very sharp person and very intelligent. And that intuition extends to the international arena and I have seen it and I have experienced it. I remember one time in Hanoi, he wanted the then Foreign Minister to circulate among us a State Department document that had just come out, in late 2009. The President wanted our responses and went to meet him; we had a discussion over lunch. I was referring to various sections of the document and before I got to a certain page he asked me, “did you see that?”; he had studied the document well and he already knew the pertinent points which I intended on pointing out to him .

I remember on the same trip, the President was watching a programme on BBC on Sri Lanka and was in touch with someone in Colombo and the person at the other end tried to reassure him  and he told that person—“don’t try to tell me that, I am watching it and I know what is going on”.  So here is a man who in his first term was more in charge of the foreign policy of this country. Before I was sent to Geneva he sent me there and asked me how I would handle the situation, I told him and he was satisfied and he told me “give it back to them in their own language”—this was not just reference to a linguistic aspect but also with regards to their nature of attack. We have forgotten that, we no longer talk to them in their own language—we talk to them about our 2500 years of history and so forth.

However in the second term something else has happened. For an administration that does not like devolution of power, the president seems to have voluntarily or otherwise devolved some of his executive power.

The second problem is that the post-war mentality, has not been one that has taken us in the direction that we could have very easily taken. That was the path that we outlined in Geneva in 2009, Geneva consensus I. Instead now we are facing Geneva consensus II and III which is against us—that is because we took another path and we adopted the wrong mentality.

People talk about whether it is a problem with the foreign Ministry or foreign Minister, well there are problems but I don’t think that the foreign minister is the wrong choice. However that is not the main problem, the main problem is to do with the mentality; it is to do with the lack of analysis, the absence of what is known as a “grand strategic perspective”. To win a war you need strategy but to win the peace you need a grand strategic perspective. Sri Lanka has a frog in the well mentality and therefore we are helping our enemies to isolate us from the rest of the world.

Q:You have outlined that we are lacking a grand strategic perspective, that Sri Lanka chose the wrong path in the post war period and that there were issues with the Foreign Ministry; what should the President do differently?

What the President should do and what his natural game is, is to take the middle path. This is what Sri Lanka has always done, it is the path of non-alignment but moreover the path of Buddhism. Sri Lanka needs to avoid the two extremes of New-conservative-militarism, which over securitises everything and the other extreme of thinking that the only friends that we have or need to have are the United States and the West.

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

  Comments - 0

See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 

 

Add comment

Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.

Reply To:

Name - Reply Comment


SLPP eats humble pie over fuel price hike statement

The statement put out by SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) General Secretar

GSP+: Isn’t there a way out?

The European Parliament’s resolution on Sri Lanka on June 10 was the second

Is Litro Gas above the regulator?

After an in-house battle among members of the top management of the Consumer

Statistical blunders expose administrative weaknesses

Information helps save lives and during a pandemic a free-flow of vital, accu



See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.