A 5 minute video has fundamentally changed Sri Lanka’s post war political landscape. It shows a successful nuclear test in the southern indian ocean by the Peoples’ Republic of Dehilwala Navy (PRDN). Independent satellite data confirmed the blast within hours of the video’s release. However it is the statement at the end of the video by the PRD’s national executive committee chairperson, that drew the most attention.
In her statement, chairperson Vimalawathi De Silvera assures the international community that the PRD will be a “wise and responsible steward” of its new arsenal. The PRD’s nuclear weapons are described as a “strategic deterrent” — a “weapon of last resort” against a larger aggressor. She insists that the PRD will never threaten or launch a first strike against a non nuclear country. Without giving details she states that the “weapon of last resort” policy is based on the founding motto of the PRD : “Live Free or Die”.
Respected defence analysts such as Goliath White believe the PRD will use nuclear weapons as a “suicide” option if forced to do so. He points out that the entire national defence sub committee is made of siege of Colombo veterans. Virtually all had fought with suicidal fanaticism in key engagements during the siege. He says that these Libertarian fundamentalists would “prefer to go a radio active mushroom cloud than surrender to anyone”.
Opinion polls and surveys are illegal in the PRD. Yet voters have repeated endorsed initiatives to acquire “technology to implement a live free or die policy strategic defence capability”. It is believed that district level defence committees have already been assigned keys to the nuclear weapons activation protocol. However no one is willing to discuss it with outsiders, the media or publicly. Even Dehilwala’s most famous resident blogger preferred to focus on public housing issues. The only noticeable reaction to the PRDN video on the streets of Dehilwala was the usual mix of calm self confidence and sly humour that define the “Dehilwala identity”.
The other two countries on the island of Lanka had very different responses. The Republic of Ceylon (RoCey) issued a swift condemnation. It accusing the PRD of “unacceptably aggressive behaviour that threatens post war peace and stability”. It called on the PRD to decommission its nuclear arsenal as a commitment to peace.
By contrast, the Kingdom of Sri Lanka issued a statement of congratulation on the PRD’s entry to the nuclear club. The statement read by the newly crowned King Jayarajasingha II, was broadcast live from the throne room in Kandy. The political symbolism of such a rare broadcast attracted media attention and analysis rivalling the PRDN’s video.
The only clear story on the incident is the source of the PRD’s new fire power: the submarine PRDNS Lavinia (Formerly the California Navy’s San Luis Obispo). The Palin class submarine had originally been commissioned as the USS Rumsfeld in dying days of the pre-collapse USA. It defected after Canadian New Order backed militias seized control of the Californian Republic. On board was Californian Republic’s entire nuclear munition stockpile. As a result PRD has the most powerful nuclear weapons system in the Indian Ocean.
The PRD’s motivations for granting asylum to the submarine is unclear. Most analysts agree that the PRD’s greatest strategic threat is the RoCey. However, the RoCey is militarily crippled and economically dependent on the PRD to act on the hostile statements of its mercurial politicians. The PRD has closer economic, cultural and defence ties with its former war time foe, the Kingdom of Sri Lanka. A highly unlikely conflict between the two would be economic suicide for both countries.
The consensus option is that the submarine’s arrival was an unexpected event. PRD government seized on it as an opportunity to magnify its military and political influence. Had they refused, submarine commander captain Abdullah Wiesenthal would have been welcomed any of the wealthy city states along the East African coast.
The loser in the new political landscape is the RoCey. Despite its calls for nuclear disarmament, it is a known fact that the RoCey government had suffered several expensive failures trying to acquire nuclear weapons. According to unverified reports, virtually of these attempts were elaborate deception operations by KoSL agents. The most recent attempt nearly bankrupted the RoCey government with non functional centrifuges. It has been forced to plead for financial aid — ironically from the KoSL. The aid has come at the price of humiliating economic, political and military concessions.
Little is known about the KoSL’s own nuclear weapons capability. Officially the government refuses to comment on such “strategically sensitive” topics. Analysts suspect that the kingdom has an ICBM stockpile linked to its commercial satellite operations. Yet a Kandiayn fog of secrecy has reduced the discussion to fruitless speculation.
For the time being diplomacy and consistent messages of reassurance by the PRD’s many committees has restored the political status quo. Careful media management seems focused on making the video a non event. It is best summed up in the translation of a popular Dehilwala saying: “Life always moves on to the next big thing”. Given the island’s history, that next big thing isn’t too far away.
Filed by the Dissociated News Network Correspondent, Peoples’ Republic of Dehilwala