Monday, December 6, 2021

American envoy on the wrong side of history

In May 1996 Madeleine Albright, who was then U.S. ambassador to the UN, was asked by 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, in reference to years of U.S.-led economic sanctions against Iraq,

Stahl: We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than those who died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

To which Ambassador Albright responded,

“I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”

What is the difference between Ms. Albright and Ms. Teplitz? Both are defenders of the most heinous crimes against humanity. Besides, feminist morality is rated as being superior to male chauvinism.

Is there even a smidgin of compassion in this barbaric confession of Ms. Albright? How can anyone gloss over the killing of half a million children (the more realistic figure is estimated to be 600,000!) so smugly? So callously?

Ms. Teplitz comes from the American State Department that produced Ms. Albright. Sumanthiran comes from the stables of Prabhakaran. So, what’s the difference? Both are apparatchiks allied to their respective killing machines.

Both are like-minded defenders of the criminals who had committed crimes against children and civilians. The Jaffna Tamils hero-worship the man who had killed the greatest number of Tamils in their futile conflict. As for Ms. Teplitz, she is carrying the torch for President Donald Trump who had just (23/12/20) pardoned four military contractors convicted of killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians.

American hypocrisy

The moral depravity of American hypocrisy is epitomised in the latest comment reported in the Washington Post 23/12/20: “If you lie to cover up for the President, you get a pardon,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “If you are a corrupt politician who endorsed Trump, you get a pardon. If you murder civilians while at war, you get a pardon.”

In the presence of Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the leader he obeyed unerringly, Sumanthiran was singing from the same fascist page with gusto. Never a word did he raise against the abduction of Tamil children into the ‘Baby Brigade.’ No moral outrage. Never did he go to the American Embassy to complain. Or move a resolution in the Sri Lankan Parliament, forget the UNHRC, pleading for the Tamil mothers whose children were plucked from their homes and thrown into a futile conflict.

Now he is performing the same servile act in front of the American Ambassadress, Alaina B. Teplitz. He is going along with the American Ambassadress who has selectively chosen to focus only on the last few months (from January to May of 2009) in a battle against terrorism of 34 years. (More of this later as the selection of this last segment alone is critical for any moral evaluation of war crimes. This segment excludes all the crimes committed by Prabhakaran during the preceding 33 years and opens the passage to indict only the last stage dominated by the Sri Lankan Forces.)

The fact is that Ms. Teplitz had picked the right person to do her bidding: Sumanthiran who has an established record of being a stooge of Prabhakaran when he was committing war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. The meeting at the residence of Ms. Teplitz is to work out a consensus on how to blitz the GOSL at the coming session of UNHRC on violations of human rights.

But how can she claim to serve human rights when she is in close partnership with an obedient stooge of Prabhakaran? Which stooge of Hitler or Stalin could prove that their actions were/are to serve human rights? No man/woman can serve God and Mammon at the same time.

It is commonly accepted that justice flows from morality. The higher the morality, the greater the justice. How can anyone — let alone a top-ranking diplomat from the world’s biggest power on earth — accept morality on humanitarian law and justice from a Tamil MP who was a part of the killing machine of Prabhakaran?

If by the quirks of time the American Ambassadress was posted to Berlin at the end of World War II would she have invited Goebbels, or Lord Haw-Haw, or any other stooge of Hitler, to advise her on delivering justice to the German people, particularly the Jews, at the Nuremberg trials? What moral authority or credibility does Sumanthiran have to speak on delivering justice to the Tamil people when he, with his leader R. Sampanthan, gave their silent nods to the worst atrocities committed against the Tamil people by the Tamil Thalivar? What values of human rights can flow from Tamil leaders when they have been willing/silent part of the killing machine of Prabhakaran?

Ms. Teplitz has put a travel ban on Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva who liberated Jaffna from the fascist grip of a one-man regime. If she has any sense of justice she must feel guilty in the presence of Gen. Silva after her Commander-in-Chief had pardoned criminals who had massacred innocent civilians in Bagdad. But then her worth as a diplomat is not judged by serving the quintessential principles of human rights with compassion. So, she has no hesitation in inviting Sumanthiran to her residence to get advice and consent on moving the next resolution on human rights against Sri Lankan in the UNHRC.

Resolution on human rights

Sumanthiran’s political career was committed, one way or another, to perpetuate the one-man regime of Prabhakaran. Gen. Silva’s military career was committed to liberate Jaffna which he did. As a professed defender of liberal democratic values which one is she obliged to promote? As an intellectual she has the capacity to know the difference. Lilies that fester smell far worse the corpses rotting in the killing fields of Prabhakaran!

Her knowledge of American history would tell her that no one ever suggested that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower should be banned from travelling because of the war crimes committed by his forces on the way to liberate Germany from Hitler and restore peace to the world.

The Western jurists did not put Winston Churchill in the dock at Nuremberg trials for committing some of the worst crimes against humanity by bombing the hell out of Dresden, the industrial heart of Germany – an unnecessary criminal act, knowing that Hitler was crippled beyond any chance of recovery in the last days of World War II. He did it to end the war soon and bring British troops back home soon like the way the Americans bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to avoid loss of American lives in invading Japan with ground troops. Of the top leaders, only Tojo, the Japanese Prime Minister, was tried in the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal and not President Truman for authorising the holocausts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Prabhakaran was running a de facto state and those who aided and abetted his crimes against humanity, either as silent partners or as active agents of his killing machine, cannot be expected to pass (1) morally valid judgement on the conduct of the other state or (2) seek vindictive justice against the state that restored peace, normalcy and democratic norms, ending the needless slaughter of the innocents in a prolonged battle against terrorism.

The only valid morality in a never-ending conflict is to end it. The overall gains of ending the battle against terrorism far outweigh the positive consequences of achieving peace. The heavy costs of achieving peace is compensated by the long-term returns of establishing peace for growth, stability and prosperity and, above all, the saving of lives.

Besides, no objective advice or reconciliation could come from political advisors who had been a part of the criminal machine that shared a common criminal ideology and history. Ms. Teplitz would be experienced enough to know that she invited Sumanthiran to get his public consent, knowing that Sumanthiram is out to get even with the GOSL that is refusing to grant their quasi-Eelam in the form of devolved state.

Of course, it should not be forgotten that she too has a personal stake in it. Her pro-Tamil line may win rewards for her from the in-coming pro-Tamil Democrats in the State Department.

Building personal alliances with the Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka will make her a valuable asset in the future policy-making programs in the State Department. So, her exercise is partly to strengthen her future position in the eyes of the bosses of the State Department. Her anti-GOSL and pro-Tamil stance will be honed to make her services invaluable/ indispensable to the in-coming new administration.

Pro-Tamil stance

Besides, the pro-Tamil stance also fits into the resistance she is facing from the Rajapaksa foreign policy which is refusing to go along with the American agenda of pushing MCC, SOFA etc. Inviting Sumanthiran to cut a deal on the politically sensitive and anti-national Geneva Resolution 30/1 is not only provocative but an aggressive act.

It is partly a tit-for-tat for rejecting MCC. It is the equivalent of the Sri Lankan Ambassador to America inviting Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Black American Nationalism, (he leads the Nation of Islam) to draft a resolution against America at the next session in Geneva.

The overarching American agenda right now is to build the equivalent of NATO – the anti-USSR fortress in post-WW II Europe – in Asia against China. The old Cold War is over. The new defensive mechanism needed is to contain China. Hence the new global agenda to strengthen the QUAD.

Roping in as many Asian nations as possible to fence China is the new game. Sri Lanka will be an extremely valuable ally if America can make her comply. Sri Lanka’s resistance can be a serious impediment for supremacy in the Indian Ocean.

To corral Sri Lanka into this pen would be a distinguishing feather in her cap. Can she do it? If she couldn’t win Sri Lanka with an offer of half-a-billion dollars can she get it by imposing a travel ban on one of its distinguished Generals?

She has made her position worse by inviting Sumanthiran to work with her on denigrating and undermining the international image of Sri Lanka in Geneva. This puts her on the wrong side of history – and she should know that those who get on the wrong side of history never win. She is not the first who has attempted to rewrite Sri Lankan history to suit her whims and fancies.

Complex issues

It was Mrs. Indira Gandhi who stepped in first to teach Sri Lanka a lesson by training Tamil terrorists to destabilise their ‘friendly neighbour with deep historic ties.’ The bullet she aimed at Sri Lanka ricocheted and eliminated her from the political stage.. J. N. Dixit, her ‘Viceroy’, asked whether the Indian experience was not a tragedy. He answered: “That it was! And to my mind Rajiv Gandhi’s violent demise epitomised the tragedy.” (p. xvi — Assignment Colombo – J.N. Dixit).

In fact, Sri Lanka was India’s Vietnam. Can America succeed where India has failed? Isn’t Ms. Tiplitz’ alliance with Sumanthiram a repetition of America’s alliance with Din Diem in Vietnam? Her invitation to Sumanthiran is such a crude act that exposes her lack of ability to navigate through complex issues.

In any case, what does she hope to achieve? Is plotting jointly to stab Sri Lanka and leave it bleeding going to pave the way for reconciliation? Besides, isn’t her shortsighted foreign policy driving Sri Lanka deeper into the hands of China? Is that what she wants? Well, with the likes of Ms. Tiplitz losing her grip on Sri Lanka — a critical post vital for the future of QUAD — does China need her mighty fleet to be in command of the Indian Ocean? A realistic assessment will inform the State Department that she has been a very good leader in the march of folly. Consider, for instance, the Resolution 30/1 which focuses only on the last days of a 34-year-old battle against terrorism. In the main the Resolution questions the rules of engagement only (emphasis is mine) in the last days of the battle against terrorism.

The finger-pointing is only to the period between January 2009 and May 19, 2009 – the decisive period when the Sri Lankan forces were closing in to end the killings of Prabhakaran and restore democracy and the fundamental freedoms denied by the authoritarian regime of Prabhakaran.

In the history of post-WW II, the heroes of the Western world have been those who charged on their white steeds to rescue Democratic Damsels imprisoned by authoritarian brutes. Western killing machines have been working tirelessly to vanquish tyrants – no questions asked.

If necessary, even the Secretary of State would go to the Security Council and present fake reports to justify the elimination of those perceived as enemies of democracy.

Restoring the dignity of oppressed people by liberating them from the claws of Pol Pots, Saddam Husseins and Osama bin Ladens have been hailed as landmarks in the glorious conquests of the West. However, in Sri Lanka when the Tamil Pol Pot is overthrown they are hauled up before the UNHRC for violations of human rights based on secret and anonymous reports not available for verification. Fictitious figures of war crimes were exaggerated to demonise Sri Lanka.

Why? Why is sending a special team of Navy Seals to hunt and liquidate Osama Bib Laden, his wife and his son hailed as a victory for democracy and why is the elimination of Prabhakaran – the worst killer of Tamils – linked to violations of human rights? This is only one example. The list of Western and Indian hypocrisy is tiresome to repeat.

Ms. Teplitiz should start thinking all over again. Perhaps, her NGO mentors may not have given her the correct briefing for her to understand the ground situation. She must first begin by accepting that Sri Lanka today is sitting in a unique place in history. Never ever has there been in the post-independent period a rise of the Sinhala-Buddhist forces collectively to defend against two main forces: 1) the local minorities ganging up to usurp the powers of the Sinhala-Buddhist majority and dictate terms to them and 2. the anti-national foreign forces that plotted and undermine Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and integrity in international fora like the UNHRC.

Defeat of the UNP

Both forces were led by the leaders of the UNP. The comprehensive defeat of the UNP, which marked the decimation of the Right-wing, was a total rejection of so-called human rights campaign engineered by the West and their hired agents in NGOs.

Sri Lanka reached the highest peak of its nationalism when the elephant was reduced to an ant. Fearing the backlash of the nationalist forces Mangala Samaraweera threw himself out before the people could throw him out. Ranil Wickremesinghe who dared to face the wrath was thrown out unceremoniously. After the two sweeping elections Ms. Teplitz must have felt like an American general fleeing after the fall of Saigon.

Whether she likes it or not, she is sitting in Sri Lanka at the unprecedented peak of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism. Her invitation to Sumanthiram to join her in plotting against the nation in Geneva is going to be as productive as Donald Trump inviting Michael Flynn to the White House, the lying deplorable who was pardoned by him, to reverse the tide of the American election. King Canute could not stop the waves rolling in. That’s written in history. Can Ms. Canute in the American Embassy rewrite history according to her fancies?

H.L.D. MAHINDAPALA
Source: sundayobserver.lk

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