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South Asian Update
South Asian Update

Opinion

Will Yunus Issue Really Worsen US-Bangladesh Ties?

 Published: 11:48, 19 March 2024

Will Yunus Issue Really Worsen US-Bangladesh Ties?

The recent comments by U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin have caused controversy and indicated a recent development in US-Bangladesh ties. Durbin voiced his worries on what he called ‘the persistent harassment’ of Professor Yunus during a meeting with Bangladesh’s ambassador to the US.

He cautioned that if these issues were left unattended, bilateral relations between the two nations might worsen. People in Bangladesh see Durbin’s remarks as an insult to diplomatic decorum and an unjustified intrusion into the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation. The way a top US politician voiced his worries has caused others to wonder and criticise. Undermining the standards of diplomatic conduct with such vague threats is not just rude but also harmful.

Senator Durbin’s involvement in the Yunus case also shows that he could not fully grasp the nuances of the Bangladeshi situation. There is no problem in addressing legitimate concerns regarding human rights through proper channels and in a way that is in line with international norms. However, there may be unforeseen repercussions and a loss of momentum in finding a solution to the problem if the public chastises a foreign administration.

There are many geopolitical, economic and cultural links between the United States and Bangladesh; but Senator Durbin’s comments run the danger of casting a shadow on these ties. The senator has jeopardised bilateral relations and attempts to work together on mutually beneficial issues by interfering in a delicate domestic matter.

Conducting diplomatic interaction with compassion and tact is essential, as is the pursuit of mutually beneficial solutions through the promotion of constructive discourse.

Mention may be made here that Professor Yunus himself might face unforeseen consequences as a result of Senator Durbin’s action. Public remarks by the senator may have the potential to unintentionally raise tensions and make the issue more politicised. Foreign authorities’ pressure could make it harder to resolve the situation legally, even though Professor Yunus has the right to due process and fair treatment under the law, just like any other citizen.

Professor Yunus’ case is within the purview of the Bangladeshi legal system. His accusers have the right to a fair trial within the boundaries of Bangladesh’s legal system. The charges against him include breaches of labour rules. Senator Durbin’s effort to meddle in this process shows complete contempt for Bangladesh’s legal autonomy and threatens its sovereignty.

Even worse, Durbin has warned that the Bangladeshi government could face consequences on bilateral ties if they do not implement his suggestion concerning Professor Yunus. The sovereignty and legal procedures of each nation must be maintained in all diplomatic engagements.

It is not desirable to build international ties to threaten diplomatic repercussions because of the result of a domestic judicial matter.
It is clear that Senator Durbin’s behaviour constitutes an inappropriate interference in Bangladesh’s domestic affairs and a violation of diplomatic protocol. The values of non-interference, mutual respect and sovereignty should guide diplomatic engagement. Keeping these ideas in mind and not doing anything that could damage international relations is crucial going ahead.

A lot of people think that Durbin’s involvement is disrespectful to Bangladesh’s sovereignty and violates its freedom to decide for itself. The proper role of foreign legislators in resolving domestic matters in other nations has also been called into question by Durbin’s remarks.

Although worries regarding democratic values and human rights always cross international boundaries, the way these issues are voiced and handled should be taken into account. The most successful way to handle such situations is through diplomatic channels and amicable settlement, not through public comments and ultimatums. Instead of using a public forum, Durbin should have gone through proper diplomatic procedures to convey his message.

Durbin has unintentionally worsened tensions and hindered productive discourse between the two nations by ignoring established conventions and participating in what some see as cheap diplomatic grandstanding.

The Yunus issue should not worsen the US-Bangladesh relations which have been built on long legacies of mutual understanding and trust. Both countries can be complementary to each other in many ways especially in the geopolitics of Indo-pacific region.

Much as the Illinois politician threatens us with the worsening of relations, the Biden administration is not likely to play the fool by evaluating an individual and a people’s republic on the same scale. The next step for the US-Bangladesh diplomatic relationship must be a recommitment to mutual respect and cooperation. This can only happen if both parties are prepared to acknowledge each other’s rights to self-determination and are open to having constructive dialogues grounded on mutual respect and trust.

This incident underlines the significance of Bangladesh’s remaining diplomatically calm when faced with outside pressure and preserving the values of national sovereignty. Human rights and democratic values are important issues, but they can only be resolved by discussion and collaboration, not by threats and coercion. It takes everyone concerned making an effort to discover common ground and work towards a solution that everyone can live with in order to resolve difficulties like Professor Yunus’s treatment. The US and Bangladesh may improve their relationship for mutual benefit if they respect each other’s sovereignty and have productive conversations. -Source: daily sun

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