Editorial

Thanks Dr Esper, but no. Sorry.

Summary

Being a terrorist state, if the USA wants to counter terrorism, then a unilateral disarmament program would be in order.

Being a terrorist state, if the USA wants to counter terrorism, then a unilateral disarmament program would be in order.

Here’s a headline for sore eyes: ‘US commends Prez on handling COVID-19; discusses military professionalization.’

Alright. It’s two things that were discussed. Maybe the headline-giver wanted to capture the important elements of the conversation between US Secretary of Defense Dr Mark T Esper and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Still!

It’s like saying, ‘hey, how’s the weather…by the way how about letting me install some security cameras in your house?’ The one is courtesy, the other business.

So let’s talk ‘business.’ This is how it was reported:

‘During the call, the two leaders have discussed their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that ensures the sovereignty of all nations. Reviewing common bilateral defense priorities, they noted opportunities to enhance military professionalization, counter-terrorism, and maritime security cooperation. Both leaders expressed their commitment to expanding bilateral defense relations and to advancing shared interests.’

It’s a tall order for Sri Lanka to be part of any exercise that ensures the sovereignty of ‘all nations.’ India won’t be pleased, for instance. Actually Prime Minister Modi might laugh at the idea. So, in essence, it is about Sri Lanka saying ‘yes’ to the USA to use the island to pursue that country’s ‘national interest.’  Sovereignty of all nations, after all, is the business of, well, all nations. No one mandated the USA and Sri Lanka to handle sovereignty. In fact outsourcing sovereignty-ensuring is itself an infringement on sovereignty. Common sense.

Bilateral defense priorities are a different order of things.  That could make sense. Only, we are talking about the United States of America. A thug nation. A rogue nation. A bully. A terrorist state. No less. One does business with such creatures at a cost. Damn stupid would be the best descriptive.

What are the interests that the USA and Sri Lanka have, defense-wise? Well, the USA is scared of China. Sri Lanka needs China. Uncle Sam is not bailing out anyone these days. In fact China and Japan own US debt. Actually they own North American AND European debt!

Countering terrorism is a good thing. Only, the USA has a long track record of creating and maintaining terrorist organizations the world over. Furthermore, being a terrorist state, if the USA wants to counter terrorism, then a unilateral disarmament program would be in order.
Maybe the President was being courteous. Nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to be, though. So we can and will say this to the US Secretary of Defense: ‘Thank you Dr Esper, but no.’

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