BY NEVILLE DE SILVA
The public of Sri Lanka need not worry. Those who seem concerned that our foreign policy is like a rudderless boat with nobody at the tiller, better think afresh. It is in safe hands whatever the loquacious members of the opposition might say.
Only the other day the Foreign Minister (the third under the yahapalana administration) told our legislators that he is armed with an ace. Never mind where he keeps it -whether up the sleeve or under the pillow -- he will play it when the time is ripe.
Let those-sovereign states, civil society groups, journalists and commentators who in the last decade or so have castigated Sri Lanka for the way it fought an enemy which in their expert knowledge could not be militarily defeated, take note. Our Foreign Minister is now armed and ready to press the button just like Kim Jong-un did last week sending his latest toy right into the Pacific Ocean to join the shoals of tuna which the Japanese turn into delicious sashimi.
Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana said he knows when to play the ace. My fear is that somebody else is more likely to play the joker. It is not that some have not been playing the joker over and over again, turning Sri Lankan foreign policy into a tragic- comedy, defying sense and sensibility.
So what is this ace that Marapana has armed himself with and thinks he can break the bank? Well, it is the information which Lord Naseby had been able to wrench out of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from the war time confidential despatches sent by UK’s Defence Attache’ in Colombo to the FCO and the defence establishment.
These vital despatches, despite being heavily redacted to save the British Government from diplomatic embarrassment, present a different picture of the last six months of the war against the LTTE, especially with regard to the number of civilian casualties, portrayed by Sri Lanka’s critics.
The number of civilian casualties as assessed by Defence Attache’ Lt. Col Anton Gash based on figures he had been able to put