Trump Administration politicises MCC assistance: US policy analyst

[TamilNet, Friday, 20 March 2020, 19:34 GMT]
The Millennium Challenge Corporation “issued a blow to its own model by using its programs in Kosovo as a political bargaining chip,” writes Sarah Rose, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Development, a think-tank based in Washington DC. Describing the last week development as an unprecedented move, the CGD analyst writes that the US foreign policy goal of exerting pressure on Kosovo to remove its tariffs on Serbian goods was “decidedly out of sync with the agency’s model.” The MCC, a US government agency intended to independently work to reduce global poverty through economic growth since its inception in 2004, has come under fire as being a strategic tool to advance foreign policy interests also in the Indo-Pacific and a hot topic in Kathmandu and Colombo.

Sarah Rose's article was published at the website of the think-tank on Monday.

In December 2018, MCC’s Board officially justified its decision to qualify eligibility of Solomon Islands, a Commonwealth-State to the south-east of Papua New Guinea with the argument that the threshold program supported the “Trump Administration’s Indo-Pacific economic strategy”.

“Last year’s selection of the Solomon Islands for threshold program eligibility was the surprise of the year,” an article authored by Sarah Rose and CGD’s Program Coordinator Jocilyn Estes noted in December 2019.

“In fact—in a new move for MCC—the agency didn’t even try to couch the island country’s selection as anything other than a link to the administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy,” they wrote.

The move was “rather disappointing for an agency which is supposed to select countries based on their policy performance merits—especially since the Solomon Islands’ good scorecard record suggests a decent policy case could be made,” the CGD researchers added.

The MCC Board of Directors approved a five-year Sri Lanka Compact in April 2019 during the regime of Ranil Wickramasinghe.

However, the US program, as well as the proposed military agreements, have drawn opposition from Sinhala nationalist groups.

The Sinhala-Buddhist nationalists perceive external powers, even with the slightest tendency of using “human rights,” to justify their strategic interest-based decisions, as potentially dangerous actors intervening in their “Sri Lankan” sovereignty and “internal affairs” of their unitary state.

However, the Sinhala nationalists do not seem to object China with the same effect, even when the latter’s debt-to-equity programs target “sovereign” assets in the south of the island, commented Tamil political analysts in Jaffna.

The intervening external powers have made use of the anti-Tamil colonial mindset of the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalists to compromise the shared Sinhala and Tamil sovereignty of the island since the sixteenth century to date, they said.

For Eezham Tamils, the notion of “Sri Lankan” sovereignty is ultimately genocidal as long as the external powers, be it the US, India or China keep sustaining the unitary character of the SL State.

External Links:
CGD: MCC’s Partnership Predictions for 2020: The Issues and the Countries
CGD: The Trump Administration Politicizes MCC’s Programs in Kosovo
MCC: MCC Board of Directors Selects New Bilateral Compacts, Threshold Programs, Eligible Countries for Concurrent Compacts
MCC: Statement of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Regarding the Status of Programs in Kosovo



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