As soon as Gota’s dual citizenship became a debatable issue on the eve of his nomination by his brother’s party, the SLPP, US authorities must have realised that they have been presented with manna from heaven to help them achieve what they want from Sri Lanka, irrespective of who wins the tight
contest. In a single stroke of her pen, the US Ambassador in Colombo could have cleared the air immediately, but she must have been advised to allow the controversy continue, perhaps until the election is over. The Election Commissioner also, either through deliberate or innocent neglect, did not bother to check Gota’s credentials. Was he in cahoots with the Ambassador?
Generally speaking, in any event or issue that dominates politics outside its own territory, what immediately matters to any country and its government is its own national interest; and in the case of the US, its imperial interest. This is the stark reality of international relations. US meddling in Sri Lankan politics has a long history which dates back to 1950s, but its intensity increased no sooner than China’s influence in the Indian Ocean in general and Sri Lanka in particular started deepening. The island’s geo-strategic position in the Indian Ocean is too precious to be ignored by any regional or imperial power. More than 80% of oceanic trade is currently carried out through the Indian Ocean, from the Straits of Hormuz through Bab el-Mandab Strait and Strait of Malacca. Sri Lanka is at the crossroads of this trade artery. One cannot therefore underestimate the crucial importance of Sri Lanka’s harbours and sea lanes.