USCIB Vice President for Investment and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly took a break from his usual USCIB policy portfolio that includes NAFTA/USMCA, the WTO and Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) to be interviewed by The Washington Times Foreign Editor David Sands on November 8 on one chapter in his previous life as an American diplomat, serving as U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka twenty years ago.
With Sri Lanka back in the news (again) going through a period of political turmoil, the Times was seeking basic background on the current political situation.
Donnelly was happy to oblige, noting: “I don’t really work on Sri Lanka these days but have tried to stay in touch with major developments and some of the players. Like most countries around the world, Sri Lanka has a unique political situation which is sometimes hard to explain to Americans or others – and sometimes even hard to explain to Sri Lankans! Situated literally “on the other side of the earth” twelve hours away from the East Coast, Sri Lanka’s impact on Americans will always be limited and fleeting. But the regional implications (India vs. China) and the precedent of what is arguably South Asia’s most enduring (if flawed) democracy may be worth a little attention. In the five days since we did the interview, the situation in Sri Lanka has further intensified with the two dueling Prime Ministers remaining in a standoff and the President has dissolved the parliament which would, in normal circumstances, resolve the political standoff. The whole mess seems headed toward the Sri Lanka Supreme Court which could, I’m afraid, open up another can of works. I’m increasingly worried where this crisis might be headed.”