AKD's strategy vs Ranil's Tactics.!

-By Virgil

(Lanka-e-News -01.March.2024, 11.00 PM) “The noblest plans are brought down through the low-mindedness of those who are supposed to carry them out.”
-Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children

When one plans and plots a strategy in order to achieve a particular goal, one would invariably employ many tactics. A strategist's approach is at a macro level while a tactician looks after the micro level implementations. A strategist is a visionary; his training, his understanding and his objectivity contribute to the successful conclusion of his plan and attainment of the final goal. A strategist might or might not have fellow strategists to iron out the final details and arrive at a consensus-plan, but a tactician can hardly achieve his or her goals alone. When the country calls for the commitment and devotion of her inspiring leaders, those leaders' time and sweat should not be a matter for compromise. A total and absolute loyalty to the cause should be unquestionable. It is in such a serious context one has to analyze and reach the correct and honest evaluation of the course of action a strategist has chosen to follow in order to attain his goals.

Sri Lanka today has reached that threshold of sociopolitical evolution which demands the unquestioned allegiance to the solution and resolution of the varied issues that confront her. Those who had entered politics with crude, un-serious  and corrupt intentions need to stand down; if they do not, they should be thrown out. The country's issues are much larger than life. Sacrifice and realization of the need for total teamwork must be emphasized at each step of the journey. Otherwise, all what has been planned and put on paper would not be worth the paper such plans have been written on.

The near-collapse of the country's economy, its cause and the way forward cannot be comprehended by a simpleton-mindset. Being entrenched in a gory sense of self-enrichment, succumbing to the base instincts of greed and dishonesty should not have any place or space in a recovery stage of a country's economic collapse. In such varied and confounding circumstances, the one who is committed to the hilt in order to render leadership- not to boast about how much executive power the President has and how much longer and to what extent that office of Presidency effectively could reach- is not  concerned with the question of who is holding ultimate power.

In other words, the Executive President, in such a convoluted socioeconomic surrounding, must reach to the lowest possible level to comprehend as to what abject poverty our men and women have been subjected to. No doubt that corruption and dishonesty at a very high level of political leadership is one of the most revealing causes of the economic catastrophe. Yet, after assuming power by way of a constitutional arrangement, Ranil Wickremasinghe, our Executive President, has not employed any strategic plan to be inclusive in his governance methods. On the contrary, he has resorted to closing all windows for free speech and all other independent communication mechanisms. His fear of independent exchange of information and communication and the consequent security walls he has built around himself might give him a fleeting sense of security but its shelf-life is fast evaporating.

Ranil is scared of his peers who belong in the higher echelons of the learned and intelligent. Being at home in his own comfort zone, he, instead exploring possibilities of co-opting those from whom he can learn and adopt their principles and policy-standings, Ranil Wickremasinghe has been running away from them at every given circumstance. That practicality and common-sensical approach to problem-solving has evaded him and his personal and public conduct has been the fatal flaw of this man who calls himself the President of Sri Lanka. His over-dependence on manipulative and deal-making politics has cost the Untied  National Party (UNP) in general and his own political life irredeemably.

Strategic thinking and intelligent planning for the country has taken a second place in his priorities. When 'failure' is his middle name, Ranil Wickremasinghe has, time and time again, fallen back on a 'tactical' warfare with his opponents much to the dismay of his own party members. He did this when he was the Leader of the Opposition during the Rajapaksa regime. From 2005 up to 2014, his dependence on the Rajapaksa-led government for his own survival in the UNP was public knowledge . Mahinda and Basil at the time looked after Ranil like an annoyed parent having to care for an aimless adolescent. The deep trust the Rajapaksas held Ranil in ultimately paved the way for his ascension to the throne.

But absence of a seriously planned political strategy was his signature trait. Utterly overrated as a master craftsman, Wickremasinghe used his relation's newspapers to spread disinformation and downright canards to deceive the reading public on the one hand and to plant totally false stories through the Colombo-based cocktail circuit on the other. Each time, his action was a tactical response to a fast moving flow of events. But what that fast flow of sociopolitical events needed was a strategic mindset focused on all-congruent purpose and change-oriented goal.

Ranil's latest scheme of tactics include, as has always been evident, the old-school politics based purely on electioneering gimmicks. Handouts offered on the eve of an election are out of date now. The people have arisen from that long sociopolitical nightmare. The collapse of the economy coupled with the declaration of Sri Lanka as a financially bankrupt nation and the resultant Aragalaya-22 have played not only an integral part in that process of awakening, it has buttressed the viewpoint that the last seventy six years were made up of a progression of one failure after another. The Rajapaksas fed the collapse with unprecedented corrupt practices of management; they further accelerated the process by openly waylaying the national coffers under the pretext of government spending on infrastructure white-elephants such as Mattala Airport, Hambantota Port and so on and so forth. Ranil's tactical response was to keep quiet; his so-called craft did not see any signs of sharpness or common-sensical response. When strategy is sleeping, tactics become an uninvited bad companion.

On the other hand, Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) and the National People's Power (NPP) have chosen to respond to this crisis not as crisis-management experts, but as a strategically thinking group of politicians whose macro objective consists in engineering a change that would accommodate crisis-management as an important part of their strategy where the main thrust is to shape and define an emerging Lanka society; as a whole and not as a collection of separate ethnic tribes. Tribal politics that has been consuming our national character for the last seventy six years has also wasted our national resources, both human and material. That model of politics is a thing of the past. Twenty first century's Sri Lankan youth have finally opened their eyes and ears.

For instance, the NPP's decision to offer the only 'national list' parliamentary seat to Harini Amarasuriya was not a tactic; it was part of a deliberate strategic move. Firstly, Harini is an educated woman who is remarkably comfortable with both languages, Sinhala and English; she being a woman is one huge factor in the shaping of their strategic move to make the womankind in Sri Lanka feel singularly proud of and comfortable with the NPP. She is, as another writer termed a part of the 56%. The empathetic approach to women in Sri Lanka by holding massive rallies district-wise and lending a positive exposure to the district woman-leaders seems to be paying rich dividends. Some magnificent speeches have been heard on these district platforms. The pardonable pride displayed by these young women on stage is a treat to behold.

They are the positive byproducts of a clever strategy crafted by the NPP. The country is showing signs and elements that characterized the last few months of the Sirimavo regime in nineteen seventy six/seven. When JR's campaign reached its peak about six months before the '77 General Elections, one could sense that the people were waiting to see the way out for the SLFP-led government.  They were impatient to get rid of one of the worst ever governments Sri Lanka had up to that date. What we are witnessing today is very much akin in character, substance and the process of an evolving political paradigm.

As much as JR was a shrewd political strategist, the two Bandaranaikes, Sirimavo and Felix Dias, were mere half-baked tacticians. Today, Ranil Wickremasinghe's faltering display of tactics in his political calculus and the tactics he employs to attain his political goals are way behind AKD's cunning strategical plans. When such moves are coupled with magnificent oratory, it's proven to be strategically phenomenal. A political party that was branded as a left-wing Marxist-Socialist 'cellish' organization is emerging to be an unbreakable political entity that is bestowed with a plethora of intelligent and crafty activists. Ensuring that it is not only the top echelon that is gifted and seemingly incorrupt men and women, the NPP is increasingly showing signs of producing an equally talented second and third level activists and theoreticians.

When an experienced politician such as Ranil is embroiled in mere tactics, AKD and his cohorts have been strategizing their political path a way ahead of time, leaving the status quo in the lurch. When change comes, it comes in a hurry and with no harbingers around. But in this instance, Sri Lanka's political landscape is crowded with potentially great men and women whose shortcomings and even maybe fatal flaws would be visiting us one day, if they too fail Mother Lanka. Yet in a battle between strategy and tactics, it's always strategy that comes out victorious!

-By Virgil

The writer can be contacted at [email protected]

Virgil's Collection

by     (2024-03-01 18:02:01)

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