Playgrounds and Players in Asia

 

MALINDA SENEVIRATNE

 

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing the first Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit in Kuwait, outlined his vision for the region in the following terms:

‘This continent of Asia cannot be the playground of other forces, who seek our wealth, our assets of nature and human resources. Our progress must draw from the best of our own cultures and while learning from the best of others who come with genuine friendship. We are seeing the dawn of the Age of Asia. We must together see it bring new light to a troubled world dominated by the grave errors of other continents.’

Asia has been playground for many, across the centuries. The British, French, the Danes, Portuguese and Americans of the United States have put their dirty paws all over Asia, massacred thousands of people, ravaged cultures and communities and plundered resources. The ‘West’ is rich and it’s no secret where the wealth came from. It was not Asia, true, but the Plunder of Asia did not end with ‘independencies’ or troop withdrawal. Plunder was replaced by Smart-Plunder. If memory fails, then think ‘Afghanistan’.

So the President is correct. Asia should not be anyone’s playground, or dumping ground for that matter.

Even as the Long American Century (to use a term coined by Giovanni Arrighi almost twenty years ago to ‘periodize’ the play and control of power and money) draws to a close the USA’s more than finger-poking presence all over the globe is too in-one’s-face to ignore or pooh-pooh away. There are fairly naked guns-in-booty-out examples (Afghanistan, Iraq and the elegantly executed ‘Arab Spring’) and there are UN resolutions, arm-twisting in international forums, aid-for-policy buy-outs, open and surreptitious bribing of officials and politicians. Getting dirty fingers out of regional-pie is thus easier said than done.

There’s another part to this ‘playground’ business though.
 
Read more at Malinda Words
 

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