Tag Archive for: SriLanka

Davos Man, Master Of The Poors

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

What globalists did to Sri Lanka, they are doing to us all, in many ways.

Slowly but surely, I’m getting used to this new posting system. I am receiving your comments about the problems with the new commenting system, and am passing them on to the Mothership. Sounds like we are quickly going to have a fix for the lack of anonymity. Please share your feedback with me at rod — at — amconmag — dot — com; I’m forwarding everything on to the bosses. And hey, Jonah R., whatever your real name is, would you mind reaching out to me at that email address? Thanks.

I think I’m even more focused on decline-and-fall than usual because I’m sitting here in Central Europe reading the media and hearing people talking about how frightened they are of what’s coming in the autumn and winter, should Russian gas supplies be cut off. Very few people in this part of the world support the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but nobody asked them if they were prepared to sacrifice their economies to tweak Putin’s nose. In Germany, business leaders and others are talking about the possibility of German industry collapsing from lack of gas to power its factories. This is not an empty threat. The German economy is the engine that powers Europe. If Germany falls into depression, so will the rest of Europe — and that means political unrest, perhaps even violence. If you see what’s happening in the Netherlands right now, with angry farmers fighting back violently against the state’s plan to take away their land, you see what is possible for all of Europe in the near future. Then what will NATO do?

Earlier today I mentioned the Uvalde cops as a metaphor for our leadership class. Here’s another metaphor: the World Economic Forum in Davos. You might have seen that the government of Sri Lanka collapsed this week in the face of national bankruptcy and rioting by people who can’t feed themselves. What happened? Sri Lanka followed the advice of the WEF, and shifted to all-organic farming a few years back. Its agricultural economy collapsed. A nation that used to be able to feed itself with rice is now reduced to importing it.

Funnily enough, the WEF scrubbed its “we’re going to make Sri Lanka rich” article from its website in the wake of the disaster there.

Ah, but the Wayback Machine remembers all! Here’s a link to a 2018 article by the Sri Lanka PM, written on the World Economic Forum website, promising to make his country “rich by 2025”.

The Sri Lankan people own, so to speak, a lot less now than they did back in 2018, when they were not rich, but could at least feed themselves. They took the advice of Western experts, and are now broke and hungry. Michael Shellenberger analyzes the causes of the crisis. Excerpt:

But the biggest and main problem causing Sri Lanka’s fall was its ban on chemical fertilizers in April 2021. Many other developing nations had to deal with similar challenges, including covid and high foreign debt, but have not collapsed. Indonesia has suffered terrorist bombings, which harmed tourism, but managed to rebound, and tourism rebounded in Sri Lanka starting last year. And while economic growth declined after 2012 but from astronomical peaks of 8% and 9% and remained above 3% and 4% until 2020.

The numbers are shocking. One-third of Sri Lanka’s farm lands were dormant in 2021 due to the fertilizer ban. Over 90% of Sri Lanka’s farmers had used chemical fertilizers before they were banned. After they were banned, an astonishing 85% experienced crop losses. The numbers are shocking. After the fertilizer ban, rice production fell 20% and prices skyrocketed 50 percent in just six months. Sri Lanka had to import $450 million worth of rice despite having been self-sufficient in the grain just months earlier. The price of carrots and tomatoes rose five-fold. While there are just 2 million farmers in Sri Lanka, 15 million of the country’s 22 million people are directly or indirectly dependent on farming.

Things were worse for smaller farmers. In the Rajanganaya region, where the majority farmers operate just a hectare (2.5 acres), families reported 50% to 60% reductions in crop harvest. “Before the ban, this was one of the biggest markets in the country, with tonnes and tonnes of rice and vegetables,” said one farmer earlier this year. “But after the ban, it became almost zero. If you talk to the rice mills, they don’t have any stock because people’s harvest dropped so much. The income of this whole community has dropped to an extremely low level.”

But the damage to tea was the key to Sri Lanka’s financial failure. Tea production had generated $1.3 billion in exports annually. Tea exports paid for 71% of the nation’s food imports before 2021. Then, tea production and exports crashed 18% between November 2021 and February 2022, reaching their lowest level in 23 years. The government’s devastating ban on fertilizer thus destroyed the ability of Sri Lanka to pay for food, fuel, and service its debt.

This is precisely why, despite having a soft spot for organic farming, I have not been able to believe that organic farming is a solution for feeding all the people of the world.

Brendan O’Neill from Spiked connects the dots. Excerpts:

As with the global lockdown’s dire impact on Sri Lanka, these deranged and damaging green policies will feel to many Sri Lankans like an external imposition, something pushed on their nation by global institutions and global decisions. Yes, Sri Lanka’s own political elite feverishly embraced the organic lunacy. But as Michael Shellenberger points out, the World Economic Forum promoted organic in Sri Lanka. Many elite campaigners in the West advocated for Sri Lanka to move to full organic, some of them supported by funds from ostentatiously eco-friendly corporations like Google, Disney and JPMorgan.

If I were a Sri Lankan farmer, watching my yield deplete, seeing prices sky-rocket, seeing fuel and food running out, I would be angry primarily with my government, yes. But I would save some of my fury for the world’s influential eco-elites, who seem to view the developing world as a site for environmental experimentation rather than as a part of the world that needs more industrialisation and growth in order that it might enjoy economic equality with us in the West.

Sri Lanka shows us what happens when policy is shaped according to the desires and prejudices of the new elites rather than the needs of ordinary people. Lockdown may have been a boon for the laptop elites and for some billionaires, but it was incredibly harmful for many working-class people in the West and for millions of hard-up people in the global South. The green ideology may provide the new elites with a sense of purpose, flattering their narcissistic delusion that they are saving the planet from a man-made heat death, but it hits the pockets of workers in the West who will end up paying for the Net Zero madness, and it inflames hunger and destitution in those parts of the world not yet as developed as the West.

In Sri Lanka, we see an extreme and unsettling case study of what happens when global policy is built on the fear and narcissism of disconnected elites, rather than being informed by the question of what people need in order to flourish and become wealthier. Also in Sri Lanka we see exactly the kind of pushback we need against all this. The people have had enough. And they are not alone.

Note well these words: when the global policy is built on the fear and narcissism of disconnected elites, rather than being informed by the question of what people need in order to flourish and become wealthier.

Does gender ideology, and the queering of a generation of children, give them what they need in order to flourish and become wealthier? It does according to Joe “Transgender Rights Is The Civil Rights Issue Of Our Time” Biden, and every other member of the globalist leadership class. Does training up children to think of themselves wholly in terms of racial group identity, and to despise themselves or others based on group identity, give them what they need to flourish and become wealthier? Does teaching them phony ideological theories instead of science and facts, and teaching them to be so fragile that they scream bloody murder when confronted with questions that make the anxious — does contribute to their flourishing, learning the habits of intellectual conformity? Does turning criminals loose on the streets to prey on innocents, based on a ridiculous theory that criminals aren’t really responsible for their criminality, “systemic racism” is, give kids of any race what they need to flourish?

Why are ordinary people consenting to be colonized by these woke brahmins? What they did to the people of Sri Lanka, they would do to all of us. And are doing, in many ways. In traveling through Central Europe these past three years, I’ve encountered people — Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians — who believe that the efforts to destroy the family, and the gender binary, are a form of cultural imperialism, coming mostly from Woke Capitalists of the US and Western Europe. Of course, they are right! It will be a great day when we have governments in the US and Western Europe who agree with the ordinary folks of the former communist bloc European nations, and who are willing to use political power to fight this vampiric madness of Davos Man, and restore the conditions of health and flourishing.

*****

This article was published by The American Conservative and is reproduced with permission.

No Farmers, No Food, No Life

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

The world is now facing a man-made food catastrophe. It is reaching crisis levels.

Current policies in many parts of the world place a priority on climate change for realizing a green new deal. Meanwhile, such policies will contribute to children dying from severe malnutrition due to broken food systems, with shortages of food and water, stress, anxiety, fear, and dangerous chemical exposure.

More negative pressure on farmers and the food system is asking for a catastrophe. The immune system of many people, especially children, has lost its resilience and has weakened too far with high risks for intoxication, infections, non-communicable and infectious diseases, deaths and infertility.

Dutch farmers, of whom many will face a cost of living crisis after 2030, have drawn the line. They are supported by an increasing number of farmers and citizens worldwide.

It’s not the farmers who are the most heavy polluters of the environment, but industries who make the products needed for a technocracy revolution to green energy, data mining, and Artificial Intelligence. As more of the WEF plans are rolled out by politicians, inequalities grow, and conflicts are rising all over the world. 

The strong farmers’ revolt in the Netherlands is a call for an urgent transition to a people-oriented, free and healthy world with nutritious food cultivated and harvested in respect to natural processes. The cooperation of ordinary people worldwide is on the rise to prevent a mass famine catastrophe caused by the plan of scientism and technocracy to rule and control the world by unelected scientists and elites.

Enough food, access to food is the problem

Farmers around the world normally grow enough calories (2,800) per person (while 2,100 calories/day would be sufficient) to support a population of nine to ten billion people worldwide. But still over 828 million people have too little to eat each day. The problem is not always food; it is access. The UN which wrote in 2015 in the Sustainable Development Goals goal 2: No hunger and malnutrition for all in 2030 will not be reached.

Throughout history many times natural or manmade disasters led to food insecurities for longer periods of time, resulting in hunger, malnutrition (undernourishment) and mortality. The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the situation. Since the global pandemic began, access to food estimates show that food insecurity has likely doubled, if not tripled  in some places around the world.

Moreover, during the pandemic, global hunger rose to 150 million and is now affecting 828 million people, with 46 million at the brink of starvation facing emergency levels of hunger or worse. In the hardest hit places, this means famine or famine-like conditions. At least 45 million children are suffering from wasting, which is the most visible and severe form of malnutrition, and potentially life-threatening.

With global prices of food and fertilizers already reaching worrying highs, the continuing impacts of the pandemic, the political forces to realize climate change goals and the Russia-Ukraine war raise serious concerns for food security both in the short and the long term.

The world is facing a further spike in food shortages, pushing more families worldwide at risk for severe malnutrition. Those communities which survived former crises are left more vulnerable to a new shock than before and will accumulate the effects, diving into famine (acute starvation and a sharp increase in mortality).

Furthermore, the growth of economies and the development of nations are currently slowing down due to a lack of workforce a sharp decrease in well-being, and higher mortality rates.

In the wake of new nitrogen limits that require farmers to radically curb their nitrogen emissions by up to 70 percent in the next eight years, tens of thousands of Dutch farmers have risen in protest against the government.

Farmers will be forced to use less fertilizer and even to reduce the number of their livestock, in some cases up to 95%. For smaller family-owned farms it will be impossible to reach these goals. Many will be forced to shutter, including people whose families have been farming for up to eight generations.

Moreover, a significant decrease and limitations of Dutch farmers will have huge repercussions for the global food supply chain. The Netherlands is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter after the United States. Still, the Dutch government pursues their agenda on Climate Change while there is currently no law to support the implementation, while they will not change much in the planet’s major air pollution. Models used to arrive at the decision of the Dutch government are debated by acknowledged scientists.

In no communication have Dutch politicians considered the effects of their decision on breaking a most important goal in the UN agreement: ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all in 2030.

Unfortunately, Sri Lanka, a country whose political leader introduced zero Nitrogen and CO2 emissions policy, is now facing economic problems, severe hunger, and difficulties to access food upon a political decision that farmers were not allowed to use fertilizers and pesticides. Still, politicians responsible for Nitrogen emissions/climate change in other countries pursue the same green policy. 

Furthermore, experts are warning that heat, flooding, drought, wildfires, and other disasters have been wreaking economic havoc, with worse to come. Food and water shortages have been in the media.

On top of that, Australian experts announce a risk for an outbreak of a viral disease in cattle. This could cause an A$80 billion hit to the Australian economy and even more real supply chain issues. Countless businesses and producers go bankrupt. The emotional toll they are facing to euthanize their healthy herds is immense and hardly bearable. It is pushing more farmers to end their life.

Hopefully, the need for the Danish government to apologize, as an investigative report on the cull of more than 15 million minks in November 2020 criticized the action that led to the misleading of mink breeders and the public and the clearly illegal instructions to authorities, will help politicians to reconsider such drastic measures on farmers.

Worldwide, farmers’ protests are rising, supported by more and more citizens who stand up against the expensive mandates for changes to “green policies” that already brought massive miseries and instability.

At a ministerial conference for food security on June 29 2022, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that worsening food shortages could lead to a global “catastrophe”.

Malnutrition responsible for more ill health than any other cause

The increased risk of food and water shortages the world is facing now will bring humanity to the edge. Hunger is a many-headed monster. For decades conquering world hunger has become a political issuein a way that it could not have been in the past. The use of authoritarian political power led to disastrous government policies, making it impossible for millions of people to earn a living. Chronic hunger and the recurrence of virulent famines must be seen as being morally outrageous and politically unacceptable, says Dreze and Sen in Hunger and Public Action, published in 1991.

“For those at the high end of the social ladder, ending hunger in the world would be a disaster. For those who need availability of cheap labor, hunger is the foundation of their wealth, it is an asset,” wrote Dr. George Kent in 2008 in the essay “The Benefits of World Hunger.”

Malnutrition is not only influenced by food and water shortage, but also to exposures of extreme stress, fear, insecurity of safety and food, social factors, chemicals, microplastics, toxins, and over-medicalization. No country in the world can afford to overlook this disaster in all its forms, which affects mostly children and women in reproductive age. Globally more than 3 billion people cannot afford healthy diets. And this is in contradiction to what many people think is just a low-income country problem.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic began, about 8% of the population in North America and Europe lacked regular access to nutritious and sufficient food. A third of reproductive-age women are anemic, while 39% of the world’s adults are overweight or obese. Each year around 20 million babies are born underweight. In 2016 9.6% of the women were underweight. Globally in 2017, 22.2% of the children under the age of five were stunting, while undernutrition explains around 45% of deaths among children under five.

As stated by Lawrence Haddad, the co-chair of the Global Nutrition Report independent Expert Group, “We now live in a world where being malnourished is the new normal. It is a world we must all claim as totally unacceptable.” While malnutrition is the leading driver of disease with nearly 50% of deaths caused by nutrition related non-communicable diseases in 2014, only $50 million of donor funding was given.

Malnutrition in all its forms imposes unacceptably high costs – direct and indirect – on individuals, families and nations. The estimated impact on the global economy of the chronic undernourishment of 800 million people could be as high as $3,5 trillion per year, as was stated in a Global Nutrition Report in 2018. While child deaths, premature adult mortality and malnutrition-related infectious and non-communicable diseases are preventable with the right nutrition.

This will be much more at this precious moment, as the population sharply increases in excess mortality and non-communicable diseases among the working age people as recently shown by insurance companies.

Famines cause transgenerational effects

Famine is a widespread condition in which a large percentage of people in a country or region have little or no access to adequate food supplies. Europe and other developed parts of the world have mostly eliminated famine, though widespread famines that killed thousands and millions of people are known from history, like the Dutch Potato famine from 1846-1847, The Dutch Hunger winter 1944-1945 and a Chinese famine of 1959-1961.

The latter was the most severe famine both in terms of duration and number of people affected (600 million and around 30 million deaths) and led to widespread undernutrition of the Chinese population in the period from 1959-1961. Currently, Sub-Saharan Africa and Yemen are countries with recognized famine.

Unfortunately, global destabilization, starvation and mass migration are increasing fast with more famines to be expected if we do not act today.

Epidemiological studies of Barker and later of Hales showed a relation between the availability of nutrition in various stages of pregnancy and the first years of life and diseases later in life. Their studies demonstrated that people with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases were often small at birth. More and more research proves the role of nutrition-related mechanisms influencing gene expression. Even the period prior to pregnancy might influence a later risk for insulin resistance or other complications of the fetus.

As demonstrated in a study with 3,000 participants in Northern China, prenatal exposure to famine significantly increased hyperglycemia in adulthood in two consecutive generations. Severity of famine during prenatal development is related to the risk for Type 2 diabetes. These findings are consistent with animal models that have shown the impact of prenatal nutritional status on neuro-endocrine changes that affect metabolism and can be programmed to transmit physiologically across multiple generations through both male and female generations. Early life Health shock conditions can cause epigenetic changes in humans that persist throughout life, affect old age mortality and have multigenerational effects. Depending on which trimester the fetus is exposed to food deprivation or even stress alone a related disease later in life may vary from schizophrenia, ADHD to renal failure and hypertension among others. Other studies of famine exposure in people have produced evidence of changes in the endocrine system and to prenatal gene expression in reproductive systems.

The effects of periods of famine or undernutrition have predominantly been seen in people with low social economic income. However, 1 in 3 persons in the world suffered from some form of malnutrition in 2016. Women and children are 70% of the hungry. There is no doubt that undernutrition increased further during the past six years. Stunting and wasting increased in the most vulnerable. Two out of three children are not fed the minimum diverse diet they need to grow and develop to their full potential.

The hungry people in countries like Sri Lanka, Haiti, Armenia, and Panama are the tip of the iceberg, opening the eyes of many citizens worldwide to a fast-growing problem as a result of the lockdowns, mandates and coercive policies in climate change, drought and the Ukraine war.

Citizens of the world have been facing for years: excess mortality, a fast decline in infertility and childbirth with a threat to human rights for women and more diseases.

Shocking reports of the UN and WHO acknowledged the health of people and environment is declining. The world is moving backwards on eliminating hunger and malnutrition. The real danger is that these numbers will climb even higher in the months ahead.

The truth is that food innovation hubs, food flats (vertical farming), artificial meats and gene and mind manipulations will not be able to tackle the depressing state humanity is facing.

Zero-Covid policy has brought humanity at risk in its existence. Covid-19 vaccines with a risk for harmhave been rolled out even for children under five years, hardly at risk for a severe disease, but undernourishment that greatly increases susceptibility to major human infectious diseases has not been taken care of.

Conflicts are growing worldwide, increasing instability. Citizens will no longer accept policies without a clear harm-cost benefit analysis.

We need to act now to decrease food and fuel prices immediately by supporting farmers and effective food systems for nutritious food to heal the most malnourished (children and females of childbearing age) in the population.

Let us hope for a return of Hippocrates’ principle: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

*****

This article was published by the Brownstone Institute and is reproduced with permission.

 

 

China Starting Next Global Crisis By Gobbling Up Sri Lanka

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
  • Sri Lanka is only the world’s opening act.
  • Events in Sri Lanka also highlight how China is going about dominating the world. Beijing is corrupting national leaders, drowning them in debt, and ultimately destabilizing their governments. Beijing, it appears, is particularly targeting democracies.
  • China is the world’s predatory lender, something evident from its CCP, , also known as BRI. Beijing’s grand infrastructure project specializes in roads, ports, and railroads that have, like the Sri Lankan projects, little or no commercial justification. So far, 146 countries have signed BRI memo agreements with Beijing.
  • The Chinese have established a pattern. “China extends debt on onerous terms, backs up authoritarian governments when there are financial collapses or civil disobedience, and then takes everything it can find,” Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Gatestone.
  • In December 2017, Beijing took control of the Hambantota port…. Now there are concerns that Hambantota will eventually become a Chinese naval base. China’s admirals have long eyed Sri Lanka…
  • A base in Sri Lanka would allow Chinese aircraft and surface combatants as well as submarines to cut sea lanes in the Indian Ocean and force next-door India to divert military assets to a threatening presence.
  • Sri Lanka is now looking for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, but that is not necessarily a good idea. The international community should not be helping a voracious China gobble up small, vulnerable societies.
  • If the IMF bails out Sri Lanka without ensuring that it is no longer aligned with Beijing, it will have subsidized Chinese investment and politically reinforced a country that becomes a Chinese proxy.” – Cleo Paskal, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, to Gatestone, May, 2022.

On May 12, India confirmed that it would provide a desperate Sri Lankan government 65,000 metric tons of urea, pursuant to an existing $1 billion credit line. The sale, which overrides New Delhi’s ban on the exports of the commodity, relieves severe pressure on the government of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka since the end of March has been wracked by violent protests.Shoot-on-sight” orders have for the most part restored order, but the unrest has led to the replacement of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, once the country’s dominate political figure. His brother, the president, is unlikely to survive the tumult. The ongoing economic and financial crisis is Sri Lanka’s worst since independence from Britain in 1948.

Sri Lanka is only the world’s opening act. Disturbances there constitute the first in a series of crises about to engulf vulnerable countries, perhaps even large ones. The war in Ukraine, aggravating underlying problems in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, is shaking just about every corner of the planet.

Events in Sri Lanka also highlight how China is going about dominating the world. Beijing is corrupting national leaders, drowning them in debt, and ultimately destabilizing their governments. Beijing, it appears, is particularly targeting democracies.

India’s urea, a fertilizer, will allow Sri Lankan farmers to plant in the May-August Yala cultivation season. It comes at a time of critical need. The country was spending about $400 million annually to import fertilizer but had not been able to make purchases recently due to the lack of foreign exchange. The government last year, to conserve currency reserves, banned chemical fertilizer.

The finance ministry reports that the country has only $25 million in usable foreign reserves on hand, hardly sufficient to service obligations. Sri Lanka is scheduled to repay $7 billion in debt this year, a part of the $26 billion due by 2026. The country’s total foreign debt is $51 billion.

The chemical fertilizer ban forced farmers to abandon paddies, and some joined the recent protests.

There is, as a result, hunger in the country, and soaring food prices have fueled protests. “I’ve been living in Colombo for 60 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Vadivu, a domestic worker, to AFP in March. “There’s nothing to eat, there’s nothing to drink.” This month, food prices there, Sri Lanka’s most-populous city, tripled in the space of a few days.

The new prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said he would ensure that everyone had three meals a day. “There won’t be a hunger crisis, we will find food,” he told the BBC.

That is a promise Wickremesinghe may not be able to keep. Sri Lanka cannot solve its problems on its own. The COVID-19 pandemic ended tourism, a main source of revenue. Moreover, the Russian invasion of Ukraine—both countries are big sources of tourists for Sri Lanka—killed hopes for a recovery this year.

The issue, however, goes beyond tourist arrivals. The Ukraine war looks as if it is ending a decades-long period of globalization, and this transition is going to be difficult for countries that are especially dependent on others. The Sri Lankan crisis, therefore, is only the beginning. “Sri Lanka is the first country to buckle under the mounting economic pressures triggered by the war in Ukraine,” London’s Guardian stated. “It is unlikely to be the last.”

Sri Lanka also faces another difficulty: China. The dominant Rajapaksa clan, long thought to be in Beijing’s pocket, borrowed heavily from Chinese sources for misconceived ventures. Many of the “white-elephant projects” are in the Hambantota district, the home of the Rajapaksas.

The Hambantota port, losing $300 million in six years, was ill-conceived from the beginning. Port operators, therefore, were unable to service $1.4 billion in loans from China. Close to the port is a rarely used $15.5 million conference center. Thanks to a $200 million loan from China, Sri Lanka was able to build the nearby Rajapaksa Airport, which could not pay even its electricity bills.

In Colombo, there is Sri Lanka’s answer to Dubai: the Chinese-funded Port City, an island of 665 acres of landfill and a “hidden debt trap.” In that city is also the never-opened-to-the-public Lotus Tower, also funded by China. “What is the point of being proud of this tower if we are left begging for food?” asked Krishantha Kulatunga, the owner of a small stationery store near the landmark. “We are neck-deep in loans already.”

China extended around 17% of the country’s total debt. Very few know the full extent of the indebtedness to Chinese parties because there are hard-to-track loans to Sri Lanka’s state firms and to the country’s central bank.

Whatever their amount, Chinese loans have broken Sri Lanka. In April, it declared a suspension of repayment of foreign debt. The BBC reports that the suspension, the first default since independence, is “largely because it cannot service loans from China that paid for massive infrastructure projects.”

China is the world’s predatory lender, something evident from its Belt and Road Initiative, also known as BRI. Beijing’s grand infrastructure project specializes in roads, ports, and railroads that have, like the Sri Lankan projects, little or no commercial justification. So far, 146 countries have signed BRI memo agreements with Beijing. Some of them find themselves in hock to the Chinese.

The Chinese have established a pattern. “China extends debt on onerous terms, backs up authoritarian governments when there are financial collapses or civil disobedience, and then takes everything it can find,” Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Gatestone.

This pattern is evident in Sri Lanka. In December 2017, Beijing took control of the Hambantota port, grabbing 70% of the equity and signing a 99-year lease, after that project could not repay high-interest loans extended by China. Now there are concerns that Hambantota will eventually become a Chinese naval base.

China’s admirals have long eyed Sri Lanka: In both September and October 2014 the Sri Lankan government allowed a Chinese submarine and its tender to dock at the Chinese-funded Colombo International Container Terminal.

A base in Sri Lanka would allow Chinese aircraft and surface combatants as well as submarines to cut sea lanes in the Indian Ocean and force next-door India to divert military assets to a threatening presence.

It is no coincidence that Djibouti, also heavily indebted to Chinese parties, is now the site of China’s first offshore military base.

“This pattern is deep, entrenched, and expanding, and so it’s like the dominoes have all been set up and Beijing is perfectly happy to have them fall down so that it can come to the rescue economically and politically and entrench itself even more,” Paskal noted.

Sri Lanka is now looking for a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, but that is not necessarily a good idea. The international community should not be helping a voracious China gobble up small, vulnerable societies.

“It’s not financial restructuring that you need, it’s political restructuring that you need before you should put in any more money,” Paskal said. “If the IMF bails out Sri Lanka without ensuring that it is no longer aligned with Beijing, it will have subsidized Chinese investment and politically reinforced a country that becomes a Chinese proxy.”

*****

This article was published by the Gatestone Institute and is reproduced with permission.