From “Donor Darling” to Outcast: Sri Lanka Ignores BRICS amid Cold War and Climate Hypocrisy

From “Donor Darling” to Outcast: Sri Lanka Ignores BRICS amid Cold War and Climate Hypocrisy

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In the cover image one of ne of the paradisiacal beaches of Sri Lanka, a nation at the center of an international hybrid war for the control of the island in a strategic position in the geopolitical and military area of the Indian Ocean

by Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake

Dr. Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, is a Social and Medical Anthropologist, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. All links to Gospa News articles have been added aftermath.

Sri Lanka continues to swing wildly between being a ‘Donor Darling’ flooded with foreign ‘aid’ and ‘advisors’ on the one hand, and a ‘bankrupt’ pariah or outcast on the other.

Last year the strategic Indian Ocean island went from being South Asia’s wealthiest nation with the best social and human development indicators to a beggar–humiliated and shunned by the ‘international community’. This was after staging its first ever Sovereign Default due to a Eurobond debt trap and purported lack of US dollars.

A Staged Default: Sri Lanka’s Sovereign Bond Debt trap and IMF’s Spring Meetings amid hybrid Cold War

The Default triggered rapid rupee depreciation and instantly beggared citizens amid a distracting transnationally networked, remote controlled ‘Aragalaya’ protest operation led by social media influencers. There was also a blockade on fuel shipments to the country, ironically, amid the United States’ Marine’s ‘Sea Vision’ training program for the Sri Lanka Navy, during which ships bringing oil and gas to the country mysteriously disappeared.

Only India the South Asian regional hegemon and good neighbor, was willing and able to help at the time. The narrative in the local and global corporate media echo chamber was that there was no fuel, food, fertilizer, medicines, or tourists to generate exorbitantly privileged and copiously printed US dollars to buy necessities. As the Rupee plummeted, Famine and 15-hour power-cuts were promised by newly appointed US-backed President Ranil Wickramasinghe. promoting fear, out-migration and brain drain from the country.

The Environmental Cost of the US Superpower’s Economic, Hybrid War Games in Indian Ocean

Yet, miraculously, like the Phoenix risen from the ashes a year later Sri Lanka is back; having taken mana from heaven in the form of an International Monetary Fund (IMF), loan of just $2.9 billion to be disbursed over 4 years, which enabled the magical US dollars to flow again!

Last week the island hosted the Indo-Pacific Environmental Security Forum (IPESF), at Colombo’s Shangri La Hotel that faces South Asia’s busiest Port. More than 140 senior officers from foreign defense forces and top-level environmentalists from 28 countries in the Indo-Pacific took part’ at the confab overlooking Galle Face, the Aragalayaprotest site. The 4-day Environmental Security conference was hosted by the US Indo- Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), and Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG).

Although purportedly an ‘environmental security’ conference, the IPESF did not discuss the environmentally devastating impacts and economic costs of the global military business industrial complex, including 750 plus US military bases around the world, their carbon emissions and military exercises.[i]

Environmental impacts of military exercises and war, like the Norde Stream pipe line destruction or Stranding and death of Pilot Whales and dolphins due to war games as sonar systems of aircraft carriers and submarines disorient large see creatures were NOT on the agenda.

Climate Hypocrisy: Financializing Mother Nature with Blue and Green Bonds and Scams

In fact, the environmental impact of the NATO War machine and ongoing wars in Ukraine and Africa were the elephant in the room at Colombo’s Shangri-La Environmental Security Forum. Instead, trendy topics like Debt for Nature Swaps (DFNS), also called Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) bonds based on opaque carbon credit calculations, urbanization, ocean plastics, partnerships for climate resilience, data science in climate risk management, etc. were agenda items.

Two weeks before the IPESF, on July 28 French President Emmanuel Macron had paid a midnight visit to Sri Lanka where the OECD’s Club de Paris that represents Eurobond holders who were primarily responsible for the default was involved in ongoing IMF debt restructuring negotiations and Numbers Game that are set to deepen the country’s debt bondage.

Attempting to Greenwash Odious Debt and the most corrupt, opaque and crime-ridden sector of the Western global financial system- Bond trading and derivatives– Macron had been promoting a ‘New Global Financing Pact’ and Debt for Nature Swap, which was launched last month in Paris. In a nut shell, DFNS, ESG Green and Blue Bonds enable the privatization and corporate takeover of forests and marine areas in debt trapped Global South countries– in the name of ‘Environmental Conservation’, depriving indigenous communities, famers and fishers access to their lands, seas, and livelihoods.

Anti-corruption activists in Sri Lanka had rather called for an outright ban on government borrowing from Private bond markets as these has caused the accumulation of Odious Debt between corrupt politicians, business cronies and bond traders which led to the Sovereign Default and worst economic crisis. and, for the county to rather seek membership of BRICS and the New Development Bank.  

IMF Bailout of BlackRock amid Adani Greenwash. Indian Ocean Region Economic Nightmare after Argentina one

Predatory bond traders, principle among them BlackRock, had debt trapped over 55 countries in the Global South during Covid-19 lockdowns. As opposition mounts to the IMF and Colonial Club de Paris bailing out predatory bond holders who make massive profits, the ‘Anthropocene climate catastrophe narrative was used to Greenwash Odious debt and bond trades by marketing DFNS, ESG or Green and Blue Bonds, based on opaque Carbon Credit calculations.

Macron facing a rout in West Africa and fishing in Sri Lanka’s troubled waters also promised to set up an office of the French Agency for International Development (AFD) in Colombo.

But French fisheries fleets stationed in the Seychelles have been accused of over-fishing and Ocean Grabbing and impoverishing Indian Ocean littoral fisheries communities for decades.[ii] Indeed, a Brookings Institution report pointed the finger at French fleets for depriving Somalian Fishers of their livelihoods and forcing them into piracy and poverty, while claiming that fish stock is depleted due to environmental pollution!

Ironically France which is in the Atlantic Ocean claims to be an Indian Ocean country fronting small colonized islands like Reunion, and has claimed a huge extent of Indian Ocean Sea Bed at UNCLOS!

BRICS amid IMF Mission Creep, while India Provincializes Europe

Hence, there have been calls by local fisheries organizations for a ban on French and other Distant Water Fishing States’ trawlers, particularly Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Republic of China that are over fishing in the Indian Ocean and impoverishing local communities. Japan with huge fishing fleets and polluting its own seas with treated water from Fukushima Nuclear plant should be banned from fishing in the Indian Ocean.

Hot on the heels of departing Macron, however, a Japanese Government team arrived in Colombo to shower ‘aid’ on the Ranil Rajapakse regime and restart a rapid rail project that had been rejected due to massive costs. A couple of months before Macron’s visit, CIA chief William Burns, had paid a top secret visit to the country and the United States Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, Nathaniel C. Fick, was expected in Colombo from August 17 to 23, 2023, according to the Department of State. The Chinese were in Colombo earlier.

Back as Donor Darling? Aid Dependence and a Corruption Pandemic

Is Sri Lanka which sits on major global trade, energy and Submarine Data Cable routes back again as a ‘donor darling’? The strategic island, long deemed an “unsinkable air craft carrier’ in the middle of the Indian Ocean clearly suffers from a geostrategic ‘Resource Curse’, as well as, aid-induced Dutch Disease and de-industrialization:

The island although rich in valuable marine resources and minerals including Graphite, Zircon, Titanium, etc. now depends on European Union GSP plus handouts to export underwear stitched by women and girls working long hours in Free Trade Zone factories and servicing tourists and to earn foreign exchange.

The New Development Bank in the Asian 21st Century: Beyond the Myth of TINA to the IMF, AI and Rigged Data

Pretty much since Independence in 1948 ‘Aid’ dependency has permeated and penetrated the government, military, business elite, policy making, and civil society institutions, impeding industrialization and development, particularly the leveraging of valuable marine and mineral resources including Graphite and Phosphates for fertilizer.

So too, national law and order and investigative agencies and institutions have been penetrated and compromised both due to dependency on foreign aid and experts, as well as, politicization. This has left the country vulnerable to transnationally networked crime, corruption, and being pumped, dumped and de-stabilized in the course of staged exogenous economic shocks sans proper investigations, analysis and research.

Policies of promoting brain drain and skilled out-migration has exacerbated dependency on foreign aid, advisors and consultants in a country already reeling from two years of Covid-19 lockdowns that had debilitated institutions and oversight mechanisms enabling a pandemic of corruption.

World Bank’s Middle Income Country Trap to “Make the Economy Scream”

In 2019 the country was also pumped and dumped by World Bank ‘experts’ when Sri Lanka was upgraded to an Upper Middle Income Country (MIC). MIC status rendered the island in-eligible to access concessionary loans which are available to less developed countries.

During 2 years of economically devastating Covid-19 lockdowns successive incompetent and corrupt Ranil Rajapakse regimes related business cronies borrowed from private capital markets and hedge funds like BlackRock that charge predatory interest rates because of the World Bank’s MIC trap — leading to the first ever default in 2022.

Early in its post-colonial history, Ceylon/ Sri Lanka caught in Cold War regional refractions was subject to various exogenous political and economic shocks; the country’s first socialist Prime Minister, who set about nationalizing ports, airports and plantations from was assassinated, and his successor faced a coup. Insurrections in the shape of ’Jakarta Method’ operations, followed with a thirty-year globally networked ‘ethnic conflict’.

Then came the mysterious 2019 Islamic State (IS)-claimed attacks at Easter Sunday on tourist hotels and churches and Chinese investments to make the ‘economy and society scream’ and encourage the obdurately independent natives to accept the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), compact and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), to enable US boots on the ground.

MasterMind and Cover-up Investigations on ISIS Easter Bombing in Sri Lanka

Amid the Aragalaya protest drama, default, and regime change operation last year, there were shades of President Nixon’s instructions to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to make Chile’s ‘economy scream’ as prelude to the overthrow of democratically-elected Leftist President Salvador Allende and the installation of dictator General Pinochet in 1973 during the Cold War.[iii]

As protests unfolded the newly installation pro-Washington Ranil Rajapakse regime, predictably promoted the myth that “there is no alternative to the IMF”, further Eurobond borrowing and deeper debt colonialism –seemingly in preparation for an IMF Firesale of assets.

Resilient in the Asian 21st Century?

However, once again the resilient island appears to be back in business and humming along, but this time the pumping and dumping of Sri Lanka as a new hybrid Cold War ramps up in the Indian Ocean with remote Over the Horizon (OTH), cyber and economic war operations for Full Spectrum Dominance (FSD), by a crashing superpower seems different.

During the first Cold War there was still space for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), to declare the Indian Ocean as a “Zone of Peace,’ free of nuclear weapons and foreign military bases—led by the World’s first women Prime Minister and a Socialist, Sirimavo Bandaranayke.

However, since the Sovereign Default last year, Sri Lanka has not only lost Economic Independence and Policy autonomy to the Washington Twins and colonial Club de Paris ironically on its 75th year of so-called Independence after being pumped and dumped by the World Bank into an MIC Eurobond debt trap in 2019.

The Elephant in the Room: Geopolitics and the ‘Great Reset’ in Sri Lanka to Benefit QUAD-NATO’s Corporates

Sri Lanka has lost its voice and independent thinking due to an ill-conceived policy of Brain Drain promoted by the foreign ‘Force’ backed Ranil Rajapakse government. This in the wake of Covid-19 lockdowns and hacking of national institutions and oversight mechanisms is promoting (Digital) neo Colonialism also apparent in the debt restructuring Numbers Games being played by the IMF’s experts and consultants including the Lazard, Clifford and Chance.

Simultaneously, Sri Lanka is being carved up for an IMF Firesale of strategic assets (prime coastal and highland lands, energy, transport and telecom infrastructure), to benefit Eurobond traders.

GREAT RESET: FED, ECB & IMF ready to Sell the Nations to BlackRock. Devilish Plot “RST“ thanks to Interest Rate Hike

Few among the remaining local intelligentsia have thought to question the adequacy of the exorbitantly privileged and copiously printed US Dollar to measure the ‘wealth of nations’ as the world de-dollarizes. After all, the US has a deficit of $ 32 Trillion and counting and was downgraded by one of its own rating agencies recently.

Perhaps Sri Lanka’s resilience and quick turn around this time also has to do with being flanked by Asian Giants, China and India, in what has been termed the ‘Asian 21st century,’ as the BRICS emerging economies overtake the traditional G7 economic heavy weights, while de-dollarizing fast.

Six new BRICS members Revealed: Putin’s Russia getting Stronger

Ironically, while France’s Macron sought an invite to the BRICS party in Johannesburg, South Africa this week, Colombo’s Ranil Wickramasinghe, has turned a blind eye to calls that Sri Lanka join the BRICS and New Development Bank, and seek alternatives to IMF Debt bondage.

Likewise, the foreign-funded local corporate media echo chamber while remarkably silent on perhaps the most important summit this year– the BRICS summit for a New World Order in South Africa– harped on a Chinese research Ship, Shi Yan 6, due to Sri Lanka two month hence, staging am imaginary conflict between India and China even as Prime Minister Modi and President Xi meet at the BRICS summit this week.

Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake

Dr. Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, is a Social and Medical Anthropologist, based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. All links to Gospa News articles have been added aftermath.


[i] US military Pollution the World’s biggest Climate Change Enabler https://earth.org/us-military-pollution/

[ii] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/05/eu-accused-of-neocolonial-plundering-of-tuna-in-indian-ocean

[iii] https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB8/nsaebb8i.htm

ALL ARTICLES BY DARINI RAJASINGHAM-SENANAYAKE

 

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Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake

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