Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Friends in trouble

These are dark days, trouble has been brewing in the Near East and Maghreb for some time. The nation has many friends in the region and we are always quick to support our friends, yet we are constrained, we do not want to end up on the wrong side of history, or perhaps just the wrong side of whoever takes over. The region absorbs a lot of the migrant workers and tea exported by the nation.

Managing this balancing act is tricky. Given the rapidity with which the trouble has spread, many a ruler will sleep rather uneasily or, like Bahrain be prompted to pre-emptive action.

So what does Mother Lanka do? Banishing the topic to the back pages and making only passing reference to it in the television news works for a while but with cable television it is a little difficult to pretend all is well for long. Luckily the cricket is creating a considerable distraction.

As we cannot not show our hand openly, we must be careful and bide our time. However when that familiar villain, the bad old US of A makes and appearance on the scene we can safely move to the offensive, lo-and-behold, the press is now full of news and commentary on the evils of the US/NATO intervention. The favourite hobby horses of the columnists from double standards to on neo-colonialism and everything in-between can be dusted off and ridden in the Derby once more.

What preceded the intervention and the bigger issues can safely be ignored, while the favourite straw men can be demolished.

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