I don’t really have much to say about how the war crimes trial is unfolding. However, I think it’s important to push back against a propaganda being peddled. According to some anti-trial voices (in facebook, Bangla blogs, newspapers, and even some TV talk show stars), the trial has annoyed the Saudis, and remittances are crashing because of that.
The thing is, there is no evidence of that in the data. The chart below shows through the year growth in total remittance and remittance from Saudi Arabia. Do you see the slump in remittance from the kingdom as we approach the trial conclusion?
(Source: CEIC Asia, smoothed by three month moving average).
There may be reasons to worry about the outlook for remittance — there could be a slump in oil prices, or there might be political turmoil in the Gulf. We should be concerned with the human rights situation in the region. But Saudi annoyance over the war crimes trial is causing a remittance slump — that’s nonsense.
For those who came in late: Purboposchim at Alal-o-Dulal argued that in the context of Sino-Indian rivalry, Bangladesh should avoid becoming like Afghanistan and be like Switzerland; I said Bangladesh need not be either because it need not be a theatre of Sino-Indian rivalry, rather it should focus its foreign policy on selective issues in the global fora; Purboposchim wrote back with some further thoughts.
Over the fold, the conversation continues.
Updated: 28 June 0950 BDT (the original post was incomplete).
Last May, I started a series on my understanding of the politics of synthesis initiated by Ziaur Rahman. The first installment was on politics and governance, while the second one was on society and economy. My main contention is that when things work in Bangladesh, they work along the path set by Zia, and they work because the politics of synthesis crafted by this military strongman turned popular politician had continued from the work of his predecessors, and his successors saw the merit in keeping them.
This theme of continuity is nowhere more present than in the realm of foreign relations. And yet, the political needs of the present era has resulted in deliberate obfuscation of Zia’s foreign policy by both his political heirs in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and their opponents in the Awami League.