Editorial

Kerry to Pompeo – Why is GSL pandering to the US?

Summary

It is puzzling why the government of Sri Lanka is treating Pompeo’s visit like a primary school prepping for a head teacher’s visit

Mike Pompeo lands tonight!

The last time a US Secretary of State visited Sri Lanka was in May 2015. John Kerry came, uttered feel-good words and left. Mangala Samaraweera, one of Sri Lanka’s most servile foreign ministers, was ecstatic, treating any visit from US officials like a high school reunion – lots of laughter, cross-handshakes (yes, he thought it was cool) and an open party where US interests took centerstage.  

There were protocol violations. Then US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Nisha Biswal, despite ranking significantly lower, got to declare open the Gangaramaya Vesak Zone alongside the country’s President and Prime Minister. Even she was unprepared for it, so much so that the Embassy scrambled to buy white clothing for her.

The liberati were too busy to notice, terming all of it an ‘’Aww how sweet US-SL’’ moment – courtesy blue eyed Khema’s boy. 

Despite the government change in 2019 and its pre-election chest-banging with regard to the US, it is puzzling why Pompeo’s visit is being treated like a primary school prepping for a head teacher’s visit. For example, frantically fixing the road up to the reconstructed St. Anthony’s Church.

The government’s urge to give Pompeo a pompous sight along his drive in and out of Colombo tells us where it has shoved its pre-election ”we won’t bow to the US” rhetoric. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, unlike Samaraweera, is the only man who can put his pushy US counterpart in his place, but will the government stand by him?

Sources from the Foreign Ministry are on record that Sri Lanka will politely refuse any US advice on China relations. The question is. why did Sri Lanka invite Pompeo in the first place? How will it benefit us? The top level Chinese delegation in early-October granted loans to keep the economy afloat.

Will the US match-up and put its money where its mouth is? Or is this a dilly-dallying exchange of diplomatic pleasantries costing Sri Lanka’s public tax money because the government wants to pander to the US in the name of balancing relations?

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