Due to the excitement of the last month or so, Suranjit-gate has somewhat drifted from the national consciousness. Yet, the troubling questions posed by the incident are, I predict, going to keep popping up more and more frequently as this government’s tenure draws to a close. In a country where a serving cabinet member has his personal aide develop bribe money in the middle of the night, what’s the point of keeping the Anti-Corruption Commission? More pertinently, is this the way things are always going to be, or will we see slow but distinct improvements?
Well it is always a pleasure to converse with people who go to the heart of the matter rather than dither on the snappy title. As he says, who wants to be Afghanistan. Indeed.
His first criticism of my post is that my premise is wrong: Bangladesh simply does not have the opportunity to be Switzerland. This he says is because for reasons of geography – Burma is much better placed with its borders with India, China and emerging economies in South East Asia.
Bangladeshis tend to over-estimate how much influence they have in world affairs. Witness our then-Prime Minister’s spur-of-the-moment trip to Delhi and Islamabad in 1998. The backdrop of that visit was both countries going nuclear, in a testosterone-induced escalation from all that strutting at Wagah. To this day, no one can explain to me what she wanted to achieve.
Similarly, at pessimistic/opportunistic moments, Bangladeshis tend to underestimate their room for maneuvering in international affairs. Witness our impotence over Tipaimukh. Or our unwritten be-nice-to-Saudis policy (hint: it has to do with “labour”, and not the kind that gives you babies or Ed Miliband.)