The thing with giving the finger to the west is that they can give the finger back. The Sri Lankan government has had a lot of fun denying visas to western muckety-mucks and calling them terrorists, but now their own sons are having trouble getting their visas approved. For all the dross about western conspiracies and their tacit support for the LTTE, Sri Lankans of all stripes still do most of their travel to western countries. We still educate our kids there. Gotabaya Rajapakse and Sarath Fonseka are US citizens and permanent residents, respectively. Mahinda Samarasinghe is married to a Swiss woman, Palitha Kohona (the Foreign Secretary) is an Australian citizen. Goes on and on.
For all the points our politicians try to score against the west, they still have one foot over there. The flip-side of asserting ‘sovereignty’ and rejecting visas for them is that they reject visas for us. This applies for average Sri Lankans and especially for members of the government.
Anecdotally, people say that UK visas are more trouble now and more trouble to get. I also hear of various ministers sons who can no longer study abroad cause their visas are getting booted. I feel bad in the sense that I think Sri Lankans (fortunate sons included) should be able to travel, but I don’t see how this is a surprise. The Sri Lankan government has rejected visas for Swedish, Canadian and British officials, journalists, etc. They publicly talk about international conspiracies and describe westerners as terrorists and terrorist supporters.
Personally, I don’t think this is even good for local politics as most ‘locals’ are pretty nice to western guests, but it is what it is. At some point the government has to realize that if it says ‘fuck off’ to the west the west can just say ‘fuck off’ right back. This is something the politicians will feel because they enjoy the luxury of western travel and education, but average people feel it as well. Personally, I don’t think this is a pissing contest worth having and I wish everyone would chill out. However, it is interesting that the politicians are feeling the effects of their policies for once. If they want to demagogue against the west that’s fine, but they may have to send their kids to school in China.