"For those of us who have to live with terrorism, when we leave home in the morning there is no guarantee that we will come back." —Lakshman Kadirgamar
Thus Lakshman Kadirgamar, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, foreshadowed his own assassination at his home in Colombo in August 2005. He had a clear and prophetic view not only of the conflict in Sri Lanka, but also of the threat posed by political violence to stability within and between states throughout the world. Long before 9/11, he warned Western democracies that they were too passive about the fundraising and planning activities of foreign terrorist movements that were taking place under their noses.
He viewed the problem of political violence against the background of a profound understanding of the broader challenges of our times. He was an important and brave thinker and practitioner on an extraordinary range of issues in politics and international relations. He was the first person in the world to conduct an Amnesty International investigation in a country. He saw clearly the main cause of war in our times – the extreme difficulty of establishing legitimate political systems in the aftermath of colonialism. He believed in democracy for developing as well as developed countries. He identified directions that international cooperation should take, both regionally and globally, and urged action against the forcible recruitment of children as soldiers. Seeing the sovereignty and independence of states as an enduring foundation of international order, he was critical of doctrines and practices of unilateral interventionism. He emphasized the need to understand strategy as well as the international law in which he had been trained.
This definitive work explores the continuing relevance of Kadirgamar’s ideas for the modern world. The first part contains new and insightful accounts of different aspects of his life and work, written by leading scholars and practitioners who knew him. The second part contains a selection of his speeches on major issues in politics and international relations. This book offers a penetrating assessment of his legacy as well as a convincing picture of a scholar-statesman who was both a realist and an idealist – and shows that these approaches can be combined both in thought and in action.
Foreword by Lord Hoffmann
Contributors: A. Peter Burleigh, Shaun Donnelly, Karl F. Inderfurth, Shivshankar Menon, Chris Patten, Nirupama Rao, Sinha Ratnatunga, Adam Roberts and Sarath N. Silva
Full texts of major documents and speeches by Lakshman Kadirgamar