Geopolitics is business

| by Victor Cherubim

( April 30, 2013, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Some astute political analysts maintain: China and India are the best of friends internationally, but are seen as bitter rivals as neighbours and regionally. India and Sri Lanka may have had good relations as neighbours, but now seem highly competitive internationally. Britain as member of the Commonwealth sees Sri Lanka differently, to Britain, as a member of the Western Powers. It will continue to lay the law to Sri Lanka. That is the paradox of geopolitics, which many in Sri Lanka find difficult to comprehend.

Small wonder our external policy is sometimes off balance, when dealing with the vagaries of diplomacy around the globe. Our approach has been built on the premise that every nation means business, when they do business with us. Often we are left holding the baby with the bathwater. We often fail to calculate the weight of geopolitics, as we go about our business.

Is Gin just the tonic?

When money is tight in Sri Lanka, there appears to be according to some observers, three challenges in front of us. First, is to contain our fiscal deficit. Second, to lower our trade deficit and Third, we have to reduce our public debt component.

When money is tight we’ve got to have the right priorities. It is not up to any individual to determine what Sri Lanka must do, and need to do to be careful about what and when to do. It is the expectation that what is done, it is done in the national interest. Our leaders have by their leadership, displayed this vision.

When money is tight it is not what we say, but what we don’t say which matters.

How to milk our popularity?

As the saying goes when push comes to shove, Sri Lanka has many friends in the world and particularly in the Commonwealth. We have seen this happen at the last Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, the 39th CMAG held on 26 April in London. According to reliable sources, a quiet work (unspoken) by an unnamed nation, confirmed what was stated in 2009 and ratified by CHOG in 2011. Further, the Commonwealth Secretary General clarified, “No member government had indicated that it wishes to change the venue.” This is geopolitics,
in action.

It appears Sri Lanka was clearly able to milk our popularity among the nations by the unspoken agreement to a Road Map.

It is all about relationships

Geopolitics is business, because it is all about our relationships among nations. It’s about wanting to be valued as a nation. Sri Lanka irrespective of what anyone says is worth more than the component parts of what it constitutes. When we are being firm, but fair in our relationships with other nations, we are given the respect we deserve.

The changing pattern of demand for business

The geopolitics trend is also apparent in many business relationships. Today it is cost. It was once considered good business to “commercialise” outsourcing from overseas. However, we notice a sea change taking place, with the tipping point reached by most medium sized business ventures in the West, to bring home this work.

Outsourcing is now slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past, according to the just published research document commissioned by the Royal Society for Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce. It states with the introduction of new production techniques – technologies – there is no more need as before for mass outsourcing, due to the minimum of human labour required. With the end to outsourcing in sight, it will result in an estimated 200,000 jobs being created in UK and a £20 billion reduction in trade deficit.

What is good for business in the West is paradoxically also good for business in the newly developing world. The emerging nations too, will benefit in reduced energy costs and the accompanying necessity of excessive regulation. It is thus a double whammy.

Geopolitics has made the world a global village and this trend is set to continue.