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Thursday, 15 September 2011

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The seeds of international anarchy

External Affairs Minister Prof, G.L. Peiris in his detailed statement to the Daily News yesterday, gave the public an insight into how norms and principles governing inter-state relations have been brazenly violated by some important personalities within the UN system, besides explaining why the controversial panel report on Sri Lanka cannot be taken-up by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for deliberation. His comments are an anti-dote, as it were, to some excited speculation in some quarters over the eventual situation Sri Lanka would be faced with in connection with the panel report.

To be sure, Sri Lanka is learning, perhaps as never before, the iniquities of a highly unequal world. The position occupied by a state in the global power system would determine, to a great extent, the fairness with which it would be treated by the powerful of the world in particular. This truth has held since the conclusion of the Second World War, when a bipolar international power structure came into being. However, although the powerless were, generally speaking, left to their own devices, even during Cold War times, there was always the possibility of the weak teaming-up with one of the superpowers and enjoying a degree of security.

This assurance of enjoying even a minute measure of protection, however, is no longer available to the weak of the world in these post-Cold War times. With almost the totality of states embracing the free market system, and, therefore, going the neo-liberal way, there are no more ideological camps and rivalries to keep the world divided, which was the case in the decades immediately after the Second World War, but there is no appreciable independence for the weak either.

Even in these economic liberalization times, the powerless are in no position to determine their own course in international relations, although the prospect is held out to them that the markets of the world could be penetrated at almost will. Whether they be Cold War or post-Cold War times, whether they be closed economy or open economy times, it is the most powerful of the world which determine the shape and structure of international relations. Even economic liberalization is a luxury only the powerful of the world could afford fully. The powerless could only enjoy some marginal benefits dropping off the economic liberalization head table.

These are uncomfortable truths the less powerful states of the world should learn, however bitter they may be. This is the reason why the Third World has been consistently urged in this commentary, to revisit the issue areas and agendas of significance to the developing countries, of the sixties and early seventies of the last century. Essentially, nothing has changed for the developing countries over the decades, although they are constantly given to understand that they have earned for themselves a free and 'Brave New World', in these neo-liberal times.

Accordingly, the developing countries need to re-band under banners, such as, the Non-aligned Movement, which held out the possibility of the Third World consolidating its power and working towards reshaping the world system in its favour.

These are important considerations to bear in mind when assessing Sri Lanka's current prospects, in economic and other terms. It is as clear as day that Sri Lanka has done nothing wrong in successfully defending her sovereignty and territorial integrity against a brutal terrorist outfit, but truth does not rule the world as long as the international political order is biased in favour of the most powerful countries. The world system would be shaped mainly by the interests of these powerful few, who wield considerable influence in establishing the rules and regimes of inter-state interaction.

But the powerful of the world are only fooling themselves if they believe that might is right. The deployment of double standards, for example, by the powerful would pave the way for the steady undermining of International Law and the rules and norms of the UN system.

The dire result has always been and will be international anarchy. Mankind's vital interests will never be served by a state of anarchy and chronic conflict.

Job-oriented education - concrete measures

A special task force led by the Ministries of Higher Education, Education and the Human Resources Development Commission have to be entrusted with the development of a national curricula to make our educational programmes job oriented. This curricula once completed, should be followed by all tertiary educational institutions in the private sector as well as the state sector,

Full Story

The Morning Inspection

Why lament when we can still laugh?

There is no need to lament. No need to get emotional. What is required is sobriety. What is required is assessment of strength, correction of flaw, enhancing overall abilities on all fronts, respecting the enemy, treating things with equanimity, figuring out the correct compassion -wisdom mix and doing the best we can without compromising integrity. Our foundation is strong and even if bombardment takes away the walls, rebuilding will not be impossible,

Full Story

Where to, values?

The recent riots in UK were an eye opener to many parents who had long ago let go of parental authority. A lost generation of young people, some as young as ten or eleven, were hell bent on setting fire and causing mayhem in the streets,

Full Story

 

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