The international community could also play a positive role in Sri Lanka’s progress toward reconciliation. Sri Lanka’s relations with the United States and Europe were notoriously bad during the Rajapaksa regime, but the election creates the opportunity for a revision of U.S. and European policies vis-à-vis Sri Lanka.
To help control corruption and promote reconciliation, it may be time to consider relieving some of the pressures on Sri Lanka applied by the United States and Europe. Gradually unfreezing development aid and giving Sri Lanka enhanced trade benefits under the GSP+ trade agreements if Sri Lanka works toward achieving genuine reconciliation and fighting corruption could be steps in the right direction.
“Rajapaksa has made it clear in public rhetoric and propaganda that China is our best friend,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives. “There’s a perception that the Chinese are underpinning misgovernance and corruption in the regime.”
“A country’s foreign policy and its domestic policies are inextricably bound together. As United States Senator Lindsay Graham has perceptively observed, ‘’investment in foreign policy is a national security insurance’. The crucial element of balance that characterized the foreign policy of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike is markedly lacking in our foreign policy today. President Jayewardene in his period in office unwisely moved away from the balanced foreign policy of his predecessor and not merely he and his government but Sri Lanka as a whole paid dearly for that significant failure. Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar restored that delicate balance to our foreign policy but those lesser mortals who followed him recklessly abandoned that in favour of a ‘realist’ counter-balance. We are today reaping the harmful consequences arising from our deviation from a balanced and nuanced foreign policy. As in the 1980s, it will be Sri Lanka as a whole that will once more suffer if our present government continues to follow a lop-sided foreign policy. Governments may come and governments may go, but Sri Lanka needs must go on. Hence all of us Sri Lankans have a crucial role to play to help resurrect Sri Lanka from the dangerous depths to which it has sunk in recent times. Our failure to rise to the occasion will only serve to push Sri Lanka deeper into the mire of chaos and dissension. The time to act to transform Sri Lanka into a viable 21st century state is now.”