The only voice of sanity
I agree totally with the sentiments expressed by you in your editorial today Deceber 23. Your paper is the only voice of sanity. Others are only singing in praise of the peace process.
There is no doubt that the overwhelming people of Sri Lanka, both here and abroad, yearn for peace after two decades of war of attrition but not peace at any cost when the price we have to pay, as you have pointed out on many occasions, is balkanization of our beloved country. While we pursue the peace process we have to be on guard after having burnt our fingers on four previous occasions when we had similar discussions with the Tigers. My mind goes back to a remark often used by Ronald Reagan when he was having a discourse with the former Soviet Union- "trust but verify". His remark is very relevant to our present situation.
In this connection, may I quote from an article by Kim Kyung Won, President of South Koreas Institute of Social and Sciences and former South Korean Ambassador to Washington which should be an eye opener to our angels of peace. Ambassador Won was writing about North Korea which is led by a megalomaniac like Prabakaran and his comments are very much applicable to our ground situation. "A policy cannot be built just on hopes. Turning wishes into reality is what diplomacy and politics are about..... Thinking of war and peace as two contrasting alternative policies would be wrong. War is only an extension of political and diplomatic means. Should it become impossible to achieve an objective by peaceful means, it becomes inevitable to use military force.
The presence of a military option in the background of diplomatic talks is one way to give those talks a better chance of succeeding. In other words, no matter how much we cry for peaceful settlement, we should not exclude the possibility of military force. If resolving the underlying issues is impossible through diplomacy, military measures become inevitable.
We have a tendency to talk too easily about peace - we talk as if one- time summit meeting would guarantee eternal peace. Peace is not that simple. We need to find the equation for stabilty somewhere between meshing the interests of both parties peacefully and an uncertain balance of power."
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