How is this relevant to Jihad Watch? Imagine the president snubbing a high level Muslim leader (and breaking from past precedent to do so) for similar reasons. You begin to wonder if the man has a list of Friendly Leaders I Still Need to Offend.
Talks with Iran? No problem. Meeting with a benevolent, nonviolent Buddhist monk who’s visited American presidents on every trip he’s made to Washington since 1991? No, we have to be careful about the implications and who might take offense.
“Barack Obama cancels meeting with Dalai Lama ‘to keep China happy’ by Alex Spillius, The Telegraph, October 6:
President Barack Obama has refused to meet the Dalai Lama in Washington this week in a move to curry favor with the Chinese.
The decision came after China stepped up a campaign urging nations to shun the Tibetan spiritual leader.
It means Mr Obama will become the first president not to welcome the Nobel peace prize winner to the White House since the Dalai Lama began visiting Washington in 1991.
The Buddhist monk arrived in Washington on Monday for a week of meetings with Congressional leaders, celebrity supporters and interest groups, but the president will not see him until after he has made his first visit to China next month.
Samdhong Rinpoche, the Tibetan prime minister-in-exile, has accused the United States and other Western nations of “appeasement” toward China as its economic weight grows…
Not that the Chinese are the only ones he’s appeasing.
Mr. Obama’s decision dismayed human rights and Tibetan support groups, who said he had made an unnecessary concession to the Chinese, who regard the Dalai Lama as a “splittist”, despite his calls for autonomy rather than independence for Tibet. The Chinese invaded in 1950, forcing the young leader to flee.
Sophie Richardson, Asia advocate for Human Rights Watch, said: “Presidents always meets (sic) the Dalai Lama and what happens? Absolutely nothing.
“This idea that if you are nice to the Chinese Communist Party up front you can cash in later is just wrong. If you lower the bar on human rights they will just move it lower and lower.”
Could this principle be applied to other contexts beyond China?
Over several months of discussions the Tibetans resisted entreaties to delay the meeting, arguing that a refusal would make smaller countries more vulnerable to pressure from China not to meet the Dalai Lama.
Good point. Conversely, if the U.S. won’t stand up to Islamic militants and for human rights in majority Muslim contexts, what does that imply for governments with less clout?
But they were told by US officials they wanted to work with China on critical issues, including nuclear weapons proliferation in North Korea and Iran, according to The Washington Post. Mr Obama then sent a delegation to the Dalai Lama’s home in exile in India last month that confirmed the meeting would be deferred.
Mr Obama has changed his position on Tibet since his election campaign…
Is the president then open to changing his positions on other points of foreign policy, like those regarding Israel, Pakistan, or Iran?
Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, the Washington-based special envoy to the Dalai Lama, issued a brief statement, saying: “We came to this arrangement because we believe that it is in our long-term interests.”