Global Terrorism And Local Politics Of Promise

By Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

“Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it.” - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

On Easter Day, a day of rejoice and celebration for Christians, shrapnel and ball bearings pierced through innocent civilians in the Lahore children’s park where a majority of the victims were children. This disgraceful suicide attack which killed 69 and injured nearly 400 was a sad day to Pakistan and our region. An injured three years old child crying with agony, a disturbing view, what is disturbing to many of us is a victory for the perpetrators who targeted the innocent. 

Days before another terrorist attack in Brussels targeted innocent civilians. The world has be-come unstable due to terrorism across the globe and the highest priority in the global agenda should be combating terrorism. As explained few years ago in Antalya at Strategic Studies Summit by the author “Although the threat of IS attacks persist, the dominant threat is by self-radicalized homegrown cells and individuals. The strategy is to create a multi-jurisdictional framework to fight…” Without a safe environment it is difficult to talk economic prosperity, a lesson Sri Lanka learned from the brutal three decade war. The physical and mental scars that terrorism causes are deep. They are not easy to forget as victims.

The daunting task of bring the two different political parties with different values together was established a year ago in the island of Sri Lanka. The recent developments within the political party of President Sirisena has been not so positive as some members are questioned for sup-porting the former President Rajapaksa at a rally organized in Colombo Hyde Park. With the electricity failures time to time the advantage has moved to former President to create a slogan “Rajapaksa is the President of the street and Sirisena President of the country… give it to me if you can’t”. Few comments on a social media site by common citizens was not so positive when the billions of losses of Sri Lankan Airlines was exposed by a Government Minister, the comment was that the power we have given to you, so fix it.

As high expectations and promises were set at the beginning, the delivery has been slow but steady . From January 8th 2015, beginning with 100 day reforms to now is 16 months of new Government. Right to Information Act was tabled in Parliament last week a considerable achievement but needs much amendment as it prevented access to some important areas which will defeat the main purpose. RTI act is an act that could take considerable amount of time even in India it took a long time due to much amendments and public debate, it is im-portant we get this passed somehow which will be a great victory for individual citizens. This exercise would have been an impossible topic under former regime which had control and cen-sorship of media, attacks to media outfits and individuals. Some people expect change to bring back former regime. They tend to forget the environment of the past where power revolved around one individual who took over the independent commissions including the bribery com-mission under his control. Further extending his political term for more than two terms, the much powerful family members now seated in the second row at Hyde Park giving seats to oth-er SLFP seniors who supports Rajapaksa was not the practice during the past as they had to get all blessings from the family members. One senior Minister of and a party leader now a sup-porter of Rajapaksa who had a small Ministry office and a nominal budget which was laughable showed his displeasure during Rajapaksa period but now a front runner in the campaign to bring Rajapaksa back to power.  Another senior politician from SLFP who got much more votes than several other candidates elected from National list spoke to this author of his displeasure for giving positions for the rejected lot by the people.

Despite all obstacles the triple power centers of the Government President Sirisena, PM Wick-ramasinghe and Former President Kumaratunga has found a working order for some crucial subjects despite their differences and external harsh comments, this is a great achievement. Even within the Government a Sirisena fraction Minister, made some harsh comments against Prime Minister stating as an enemy of SLFP which angered the UNP Ministers.

Internationally there has been much praise for the Government’s efforts to move towards in-troducing good governance, minimizing massive spending and work towards more citizen cen-tric government. The colossal spending of state events to foreign visits filling the entire flight, to establishing overseas missions at places which has not gained any benefit to our nation even unto today. Now you could see restructuring going on in all these areas which cannot be fixed overnight. The case Rajapaksa trying to create is weak and does not still have any subscription from specially the youth who believed in creating a society with less corruption the central theme which toppled his regime. If the delivery of the central theme anti corruption is as equal or worse things could go against the present regime. Still there is much positivity you see in the present regime despite correcting the economic downturn created by former with massive loans and financial misappropriation at all levels.

A perfect balance will be created in foreign policy after PM’s visit next week to China a very important visit to a country “a time tested friend” who has assisted the nation at many difficult times. Geo strategically well positioned Sri Lanka at the center of Maritime Silk Road will thrive economically if this perfect foreign policy balance is maintained. 

The new foreign policy, with much positive comments from Washington, New Delhi and Beijing shows rebalancing of our foreign policy.