Over the past few month, Sri Lanka has undergone massive protests that have led to the dissolution of the Cabinet, the resignation of the Prime Minister, and the fleeing of the President. Protests were fueled by rising inflation, inaccessible basic goods, corruption, and a feeling that the government was more interested in serving itself than the people. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Neil DeVotta, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University, about the historical roots of this crisis and what the future looks like for this island nation.
Understanding this crisis can provide insights and lessons for other countries to help them avoid destabilizing protests, brought on by economic mismanagement. It is also a cautionary tale for countries experiencing democratic backsliding and high levels of corruption. For the everyday person, it is important to understand this crisis as Sri Lanka is located in a geo-strategic location, situated in-between India and China. A prolonged crisis in this country can lead to further supply chain disruptions, open the door for criminal organizations to operate, and intensify the U.S. - China competition for influence in the region.
Neil DeVotta is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University. His research interests include South Asian security and politics, ethnicity and nationalism, ethnic conflict resolution, and democratic transition and consolidation. He is the author of Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay, and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004). In addition to coauthoring and editing books on Sri Lanka and India, respectively, his publications have appeared in Nations and Nationalism, Journal of Democracy, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Pacific Affairs, Asian Survey, Civil Wars, Journal of International Affairs, and Contemporary South Asia. His current research examines the links between nationalist ideologies and communal violence in South Asia.
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