By Shenali D Waduge
Its best that we all come to terms with some hard facts – there is no perfect system, there is no perfect constitution, there is no perfect Parliament and there is certainly no perfect politician. There is no perfect human being either! The political system today is a modernized version drafted by colonial rulers who devised a system that they could continue to ‘remote’ control decolonized countries to which independence was given. None of the present day ‘international laws’ have an iota of the ancient indigenous laws or systems that were practiced by countries successfully. These countries prior to colonial invasion suffered no internal animosities, loans or debt, suffered no law & disorder issues until they were colonized during the ‘age of discovery’ by Western Christian/Islamic invaders. Every territory Western/Islamic invaders colonized, are today following systems that they imparted forcefully and control indirectly and suffer as a result of the systems they forcefully implemented which post-independent local leaders were not allowed to change – nationalist leaders that did met their waterloo. Without an understanding of these ground realities no one can even dream of changing the systems & will only be dreaming of changing the system.
The Western nations have experimented with a plethora of systems ‘liberal’ ‘multicultural’ while majority Islamic nations continue to stick to their stricter form of Islamic rule without compromise and Western nations do not even insist on a compromise. There is no single uniform system that has succeeded post decolonized rule in either the former colonies or the imperial countries.
Every country suffers some system failure coupled with social, political, economic failures too. The powerful nations are powerful only because they have devised ways to remain on top and keep others at the bottom. US claims itself to be the most powerful nation in the world but it is in trillions of debt & US too has its share of poor people – so what makes US different to other countries also in lesser debt & also suffering poverty? US in spite of its debt gives ‘grants’ and continues its influence over other nations but can other countries in lesser debt do the same?
How equal are countries if even in the UN, 5 member countries have veto power while others don’t? How equal is the system that allows some countries to use nuclear weapons while others are forbidden?
International laws and systems have been such that even post-independent countries have not been able to reverse the discriminations that the natives had been subject to and countries were left to face the remnants of ‘divide and rule’ policies that favored minorities over majority and instilled a form of division and animosity that has enabled the creators of the issues to return claiming to solve them but in reality to fan its flames. The question we need to ask is how can the very countries that created the conflict and continue to fan the conflict help solve the conflict?
A good look at every conflict prevalent today across every former colony what is evident is that the conflicts are as a result of artificial borders created by the colonial rulers, inequal status given to a segment of populace, ethno-religious conflicts that colonials have created and disparity in livelihood and social status created by capitalistic system that has allowed white-collar crimes to appear socially acceptable. Sponsorships and lobbying are today a form of white-collar crime no one wishes to openly debate. However, it is nothing but an elite form of ‘bribery’. International trade and international relations are intermingled and depend largely on the diplomatic arm-twisting and geopolitical bargaining and advantages powerful nations exert over less powerful ones. Trade agreements are often not mutually beneficial as claimed. If not there would not be such a disparity – statistics speak for themselves.
According to Credit Suisse The world’s richest 1%, those with more than $1 million, own 45% of the world’s wealth. Adults with less than $10,000 in wealth make up 64% of the world’s population but hold less than 2% of global wealth. The world’s wealthiest individuals, those owning over $100,000 in assets, total less than 10% of the global population but own 84% of global wealth.
10 Billionaires own $745 billion in combined wealth equal to the GDP of Switzerland, Argentina, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Belgium, Trinidad, Austria, Norway & Thailand. There are 2,208 billionaires globally. 400 Americans own more of the country’s riches than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent of the wealth distribution. In 2018 26 people owned the same as 3.8b people who make up the poorest half of humanity. It takes a CEO just one day to earn what a worker makes in a year. How did countries become ‘industrialized-developed’ how did countries become ‘Third World-developing’, who created money and who fell into debt and how are questions more important than how many countries are in debt.
Can any aspiring presidential candidate concentrate people’s focus on only internal matters evading and avoiding more important and dangerous geopolitical issues. How many of these candidates or their policy advisors know that US has interfered in 194 international conflicts from 1948 to 2017 including regime change in Sri Lanka? The US Congressional Research Service reported 392 U.S. military interventions since 1800. There are many allegations against the UN system and its bias too. How much of these ground realities are Presidential candidates aware of and have devised means to deal with them to the benefit of the country & its people? It is only in realizing the issues that a Presidential candidate and his government is up against and has formed a set of strategies to deal with them that a candidate can and should feel confident that he is the best suited to lead a country. Simply joining the bandwagon of slanders and name calling most of which are funded by the very countries and organizations that are out to upset and destabilize country, what clueless candidates are doing is only playing to the tune of these destabilizing agents.
There is little point vying to become President of a country if clueless about the diplomatic pressures, arm-twisting and other ploys used upon developing countries that is of strategic interests to the developed countries of the world.
Simply drawing a fancy picture of a supposed to be uncorrupt parliament with uncorrupt politicians, bureaucracy etc while all the hawks are laughing waiting to prey on Sri Lanka is most detrimental to the future of Sri Lanka. This is where we currently stand. There are a plethora of people promising a beautiful country on paper but in reality that can never be so until and unless the world also undergoes a similar program to rid the world of the corrupt. However, let us not be naïve not to realize how far the corrupt are today in the saddle and ruling over us – the working class and the others who are virtually considered their slaves. Can we reverse this – we can, but each one has to be the change they want to see – a group painting a picture of an utopia is going to get us nowhere. We are at a critical juncture where we need to identify our enemies – the enemies that are out in the open & the enemies that are invisible or hiding under some form of camouflage. Until and unless we know to identify our friends from our enemies we will not see the woods for the trees.