Posts Tagged ‘Sri Lanka’
International news in the past week has been dominated by two important developments in South Asia: Sri Lankan Government’s action against the LTTE and Pakistan’s compliance of the Taliban’s expansion. Political and popular opinion across the globe condemned both developments and early this week Pakistan and Sri Lanka showed signs of reversing/halting the official policy. Following the developments in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, I have been pondering over the ironic situation the national governments are facing vis-à-vis the forces of violent socio-political opposition. The Pakistani Government is being criticized for not acting against the Taliban while the Sri Lankan Government is being criticized for launching an all out offensive against the LTTE. In dealing with the forces of extremism, the national governments are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t.
The Third Wave of Democracy swept through South Asia accompanied with apprehensions and anticipation about how democracy would treat South Asia and how South Asia would treat democracy. This exciting interaction led to helpful answers and new questions regarding the prospects of democracy in the developing countries. South Asia’s reactions to the third wave and consequent developments can provide an insight into the design of the distinctive democratic models emerging across the globe. The third wave was characterized by five forms of regime change, three of which have been witnessed in South Asia. The relevant forms of regime change include:
- Cyclical- alteration between democracy and authoritarianism
- Second-Try Pattern: Weak democracy gives way to authoritarianism which is replaced by stronger democracy
- Interrupted Democracy: Temporary suspension of democratic system and then its resumption
Without exception, all countries of the South Asia region have demonstrated one of the above patterns during their political evolution. The commonality running through these patterns has been a matter of grave regional and international concern: the lack of sustainable democracy in South Asia. Authoritarianism makes an unfortunate return at regular intervals in most of the regional states. Political reforms during the present decade show encouraging signs of greater democratization among the South Asian states. The trials and tribulations of the past experiments and the present challenges reveal certain interesting characteristics of the regional democratic endeavour. The uniqueness of the ‘attempts at democracy’ in South Asia is not only an analytical challenge but also a rare lesson in the consistent desire for democracy despite recurring failure. The developments in South Asia mark the beginning of the Fourth wave of democracy: trial and error democracy to evolve appropriate variants of Western liberal democracy. This wave is inspired by the failure to duplicate the popular tenets of Western democracies, the attempts to align demands of identity and freedom in new democracies, proper balance of state guidance and individual freedom and a process which while maintaining the distinctiveness of various ethnic, religious and cultural diversities successfully undertakes the nation-building endeavour.
Political developments in each of the eight states are specimens for comprehending the future of the Fourth wave. The present discussion is not expected to be a historical narrative of democratic experiments in South Asia. It is an attempt to understand the democratic innovativeness, in response to national demands, and its consequent impact on the nature of the political systems in South Asia. Click to continue…
Karuna’s TMVP as ‘new bargainers’ in Sri Lanka
The fall of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu earlier this year signaled for many the end of major combat hostilities by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) forces in Sri Lanka. As the threat from the LTTE is receding there is hope for political reconciliation in the Island state ravaged by 25 years of civil war. President Mahindra Rajapaksa has assured the Tamilian population of the Government’s reconciliatory and welfare policies aimed at addressing the ethnic grievances. As the forces of reconciliation appear to take center stage certain disturbing developments continues to threaten Sri Lanka’s hazardous journey to peace. Click to continue…
Mainstream politics in South Asia is undergoing a major transformation. Recent developments in the region indicate that elements from the extreme left, armed factions, separatist groups and the ideologically marginalized are entering mainstream politics. Is this transformation reflective of wider democratization or radicalization of politics? Click to continue…
U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a Hearing today on “Recent Development in Sri Lanka”. The three Statements during the Hearing were highly critical of the Sri Lankan Government and detailed the grave challenging confronting the civilian population in the country.