Clinton presidency worries Colombo- Balakumaran

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 January 2008, 18:41 GMT]
Apart from U.S. policy related implications, the significance to Sri Lanka of Senator Clinton's statement on "terrorism" can be assessed from the shock waves the statement generated in Sri Lanka's South, said K.V. Balakumaran, a Senior member of LTTE's Political Wing, during a political analysis segment, Nilavaram, presented in National Television of Tamileelam (NTT) this week. Hillary Clinton had earlier urged a more nuanced approach to armed non-state actors, and identified Tamil Tigers as one of the groups deserving such consideration.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Senator Clinton, when asked by U.K. Guardian if she thought the terrorists hated the West for the freedoms, or if terrorists had specific geopolitical objectives,” she replied:

“Well, I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been utilized throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some have been ideological, others territorial. There are personality-driven terroristic objectives. The bottom line is, you can't lump all terrorists together. And I think we've got to do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the raisons d'ętre of terrorists."

Balakumaran said that he views this statement may indicate an on-going policy review within the U.S. Government, likely triggered by the shortcomings of the existing policy on terrorism.

K.V. Balakumaran
K.V. Balakumaran, Senior Member of LTTE Political Wing, appearing in Tamileelam Television program
While accepting that Senator Clinton may also have had voter reaction in mind, Balakumar said that he is also cognizant of the political inroads Tamil diaspora has made in Australia, U.S., Canada and other European countries.

Balakumar also pointed out that the conduct of Liberation Tigers during the peace talks sponsored by Norway would have shown the democratic West on the maturing diplomatic approach of the Tiger movement and their willingness to engage in settling disputes through negotiations.

He points out the questions raised by former U.S Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr Lunstead, in his report whether U.S. failed to communicate its views to Tiger leadership accurately, and what would have been the result if LTTE had been invited to 2003 Washington conference, as additional evidence of continued evaluation of policy towards LTTE within the U.S. administration.

Balakumaran said while Clinton's statement can be viewed as a 'revolutionary' change in the U.S's thinking, some detractors have labeled this as a mere political stunt, and adds that the truth may lie somewhere in the middle. Notwithstanding differences of opinion on her motives, the important point is that the Sinhala polity is alarmed, and views Senator Clinton's statement as very adversely affecting U.S policy towards Sri Lanka to the benefit of the Tamils, Balakumaran said.


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External Links:
YouTube: Hillary Clinton on TAMIL TIGERS
YouTube: Charles Swift, lawyer for Hamdan at Guantanamo, on Hardball


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