Trump – Tamil Diaspora Eelam Activists & Sri Lanka Trajectory
By Daya Gamage – Asian Tribune Political Note
When asked about the implications of the ongoing purge – immediately following the abortive military coup in Turkey – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump echoed: What right do we in the United States have to criticize the condition of human rights elsewhere?￼
Here’s Trump: “I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.”
The United States president-elect Donald Trump is not a neoconservative, with grand plans to remake the world in America’s image through military adventurism and coercive diplomacy. It is doubtful that he will maintain the liberal-outlook of the current (US) state department nurtured and built during Obama administration with effective involvement of Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton. The trio used the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission to make domestic issues in Third World nations international, and interfere in internal governance of those nations.
Sensing a departure from the Clinton’s practice of intervening in many Third World countries using human rights, governance and rule of law but under a Trump presidency, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein warned last Wednesday that his election would threaten international stability.
“If Donald Trump is elected, on the basis of what he has said already, and unless that changes, I think it’s without any doubt that he would be dangerous from an international point of view,” Mr. al-Hussein told reporters in Geneva.
The comments prompted Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly I. Churkin, to complain that by naming political leaders, Mr. al-Hussein had overstepped his authority.
The US needs to focus on fixing itself rather than on “nation-building” abroad, Donald Trump told the Guardian – 13 Oct 2015 – in an exclusive interview. He then gave two examples of exceptions to his philosophy: in Kosovo in the 1990s, and in the conflict against Isis today.
“The United States owes $19trillion,” he said. “We have to straighten out our own house. We cannot go around to every country that we’re not exactly happy with and say we’re going to recreate [them].
“It hasn’t worked,” Trump said. “Iraq was going to be a democracy. It’s not gonna work, OK? It’s not gonna work and none of these things will work.”
Referring to Iraq, he said: “We’re nation-building. We can’t do it. We have to build our own nation. We’re nation-building, trying to tell people who have [had] dictators or worse for centuries how to run their own countries.
“Look what’s happened in Iraq. We got rid of Saddam Hussein. I don’t think that was a helpful thing. Iraq is a disaster right now and it’s going to be taken over by Iran and Isis, so I think we have to focus on ourselves.
In contrast, Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state got the Obama administration to depose Gadhafi in Libya when he was cooperating with the CIA to track and identify agents who supply nuclear arsenal to other countries after his country surrendered his own. Today Libya is in shambles and has no central government, various rebel groups controlling parts of the country.
Two weeks before the total defeat of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers on 18 May, 2009, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton was forcing the hand of the IMF and cabinet office of US Treasury Department to suspend all monetary assistance to Sri Lanka, revealed in a sensitive e-mail that went through her (illegally-kept) private server.
Her action was to twist the arm of the GSL to declare a ceasefire to let the Tiger leaders go scot-free to use the LTTE a pressure group to effect changes in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka learned a bitter lesson in July 1987 during the Vadamardchchi Offensive when GSL military was nearing the total defeat of the Tigers India’s intervention gave a lease of life to the outfit.
Clinton’s endeavor corresponded well with what state department deputy assistant secretary Mike Owens declared on 6 May 2009 at a special media gathering in Washington that the LTTE was the result of Tamil grievances and that Washington was working ‘behind-the-scene’ to work-out a ceasefire, when he went on to say Washington was contemplating ‘what to do with the leadership of the LTTE.”
Washington itself designated the LTTE a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in 1997 to authoritatively say on 6 May 2009 ‘what to do with the leadership’ Washington considered terrorists.
In an interview given to The Guardian 23 October 2007, Senator Hillary Clinton who was seeking Democratic nomination at that time for president, reiterated – signaling Tamil Tigers- that one “can’t lump all terrorists together. And I think we’ve got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the raisons d’être of terrorists.”
She wanted the IMF to immediately suspend funds to Sri Lanka. An e-mail, dated May 4, 2009, which passed through Clinton’s server, seemed to have expressed the sentiments of the officials of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank that they were unhappy with Secretary of State Clinton “ordering/telling” the IMF to suspend the funding of the government of Sri Lanka.
It is with this background well rooted in the professional operatives within the Tamil Diaspora – the operatives who sustained the LTTE adventurism among the Tamil community in Sri Lanka – were supporting the candidacy of Hillary Clinton for the presidency in the United States.
Sri Lankan watchers, here and abroad, Sri Lankan authorities who have partially succumbed to international (US) machinations to dig into what happened during the final stage of the military operation combatting a movement which threatened the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation to assess the Trump-Trajectory on eve of his inauguration on January 22 next year.
Similarly, those who were associated with the former Rajapaksa administration – now within the coalition and outside – do give some serious thought to a ‘change that is coming’ in Washington.
It is a well-known fact that ‘liberalism’ reigns in the portals of the state department, and, since the defeat of the Tigers in 2009, it is this ‘liberalism’ that guided the Obama administration on the path of foreign-policy adventurism that paved the way to internationalize the Sri Lanka’s domestic issues.
This background led Sri Lanka’s Northern Province politician M.K. Sivajilingam to hold a religious ceremony invoking blessings on Hillary Clinton to be the 45th president of the United States.
A US based Tamil diaspora group – which was confident of Hillary Clinton’s victory at the November 8 presidential election – in a statement urged the her to bring alleged Sri Lankan war criminals to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Tamils for Clinton, which supported her candidacy, noted that so far Tamils have not seen substantial results in Sri Lanka after the latest UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution.
A Tamils for Clinton spokesman said that at the 34th session of the UNHRC in March 2017 they will ask the new US administration to pass a resolution to ask the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Sri Lanka to the ICC, to ensure accountability for the serious abuses committed by Sri Lanka in the 2009 conflict.
A media outlet of the Tamil Diaspora in the United Kingdom UK Tamil News, which was confident of Clinton’s victory – as predicted by all opinion polls and media –, released the following statement:
(Quote) After the war, the Sri Lankan government continued killing, raping, torturing and disappearing Tamils. Ms. Clinton wanted consult a Tamil Leader. She went to Chennai, India to meet Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Ms. Jayalalithaa. After Chennai visit, Ms. Clinton brought a resolution at UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), that called for “credible and impartial international investigation.” Secretary Clinton gave two chances to Sri Lanka to do credible and impartial investigation. When Sri Lankan failed to obey the resolution in 2012 and 2013, in 2014 Ms. Clinton helped bring a UN Resolution to investigate allegations of war crimes during the final months of Sri Lanka’s civil war.
Now Tamils support Ms. Clinton for the US president to get justice and freedom for Tamils. After the war, Sinhalese treats the Tamils as their slaves. Only Clinton’s leadership can bring safe and secure life for Tamils in north-east of that island.
In this election trustworthy is an issue. People can spin Clinton’s work as they wish to, but Clinton is a trustworthy leader for Tamils and tried her best to save the Tamils. She acted like an effective leader to learn the problem and finding a solution through UNHRC for Tamils. She was able bring many countries to support UNHRC resolution against Sri Lankan war crimes. It shows her as an effective leader. (End Quote)
Washington’s foreign-policy adventurism since the 2009-defeat of the Tamil Tigers in collaboration with the professional operatives with the international Tamil Diaspora to avenge its failure to save the top leadership of the LTTE to use as a pressure group to force changes in “Sinhalese chauvinist” Sri Lankan polity in creating a conducive atmosphere for those operatives to take the place of the LTTE is well documented by this writer in his forthcoming book Tamil Tigers’ Debt To America: US Foreign-Policy Adventurism & Sri lanka’s dilemma. (Go to the book web site tigersdebtusa.com)
The Sirisena-Wickremasinghe administration needs to give a serious re-assessment of its strange relationship with Liberal elements of the state department on eve of Trump presidency. It needs, similarly, to ascertain where the operative professionals within the Tamil Diaspora, which has effectively collaborated with Washington to de-legitimize the Sri Lanka state on the path to federalism, self-rule, and finally an independent ‘homeland’ for the minority Tamils in the northern region stand in a situation in which their favored candidate lost; where the Trump administration and its principle operatives in the White House and the state department fit into the ‘voice of the Tigers’ within the Tamil Diaspora; what difference the Trump administration consider domestic terrorism as opposed to ISIS; what trajectory – in terms of foreign and domestic policies – the incumbent Sri Lanka administration needs to take to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Sri Lankan nation in working with officials who have different perspectives to that of the Clinton’s.
These are serious issues: Trump and Clinton are vastly two different individuals. Have the members of the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe foreign ministry monitored this scenario during the campaign era of US presidential election?
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