09 February 2014

Briefing and de-briefing and other tidbits

Briefing and de-briefing, US-UK style 

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Nisha Biswal who visited Sri Lanka recently is reported to have stopped over in Britain to 'brief' the leaders of that country about 'the situation in Sri Lanka'.  This is rich.  The lady comes with a brief from Washington, lays it all out here in Sri Lanka, stops by a client state of the USA to say 'I delivered'.  And that's 'news'?  One would think that this behavior could make a solid pitch for the 'Mother of All De-briefing Award', if there is one.  

Narayansamy's logic

Union Minister of State for the Indian Prime Minister’s office V Narayansamy has asked the Sri Lankan navy to stop arresting Tamil fishermen as this will spoil the smooth progress of talks between the fishermen of the two countries.  Does this pundit even know why the arrests are taking place in the first place?  It's simply because his countrymen are VIOLATING laws.  So if he wants 'smooth progress' on anything shouldn't he be telling Tamil Nadu fishermen something like the following?  'Hey guys, stop moving into Sri Lankan waters.  Any, by the way, can you please stop this bottom-trawing business?' 

US Shadow Cabinet?

Those in the business of parliamentary democracy there's a concept called 'Shadow Cabinet'.  It's just a simple matter of 'appointing' someone from the Opposition to watch someone from the cabinet with each cabinet minister having someone in the Opposition 'shadowing' him or her.  In this globalized world, however, it's gone off-shore.  Perhaps this is because Opposition MPs is too busy shadowing each other. In Sri Lanka's case it seems that 'shadows' have to be imported all the way from Washington.  We are getting one busybody after another trying to walk in here to teach us that a) we don't know what's best for us, and b) they know better than us.  They've got enough 'women's issues' to worry about -- institutionalized sexism, a rape every 6 minutes and so on, but there's this woman Catherine Russell, who is operating as though her work in the USA is done and feels the need to trot the globe dispensing advice.  Funny!

The Karzai Doctrine

Afghan President Hamid Karzai should know better than anyone about friendship and enmity when it comes to the United States of America.  He's said it best too: 'They can leave anytime and we will continue with our lives'.  Now that's refreshing.  He has figured that there are no 'friends' in the international community. This is something everyone knows.  There is no friendship, only interests.  But few will say it this loud and clear.  Maybe it's a line that others can borrow, President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka for example. He can tell all those who strut around as though they are madly in love with Sri Lanka, 'Hey, back off willya?  We can get by on our own' would be tough, but we won't starve.'

Look who is worried about Iraq now!

The TIME magazine is upset.  The reason is Iraq.  TIME thinks Iraq is 'on the brink'.  TIME thinks that spiralling sectarian violence and weak rule of law could tip the country back into civil war'.  Maybe TIME has got it Geography all wrong.  Surely TIME knew that all this was precipitated by a war declared on Iraq by the USA in the name of capturing non-existent weapons of mass destruction?  Surely it is well known that considering the US-led death-machines sent Iraq halfway down the tube, 'being on the brink' should be considered an achievement?