RSS
Should Obama meet with the Dalai Lama?
How postponing a meeting to avoid angering China affects the people of Tibet
P

resident Obama has found time to meet with Hugo Chávez, Daniel Ortega, and Vladimir Putin, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial, but he can't be bothered to spend a few minutes with the Dalai Lama, "a peaceful religious leader who has for decades been a friend to the United States and an advocate of human rights for China's 6 million Tibetans." The White House is trying to avoid offending Beijing, but rewarding China's bullying will just make matters worse.

In a rare burst of bipartisanship, said David L. Phillips in The Boston Globe, Republicans and Democrats alike are criticizing Obama for "kow-towing to China." But the decision to defer a meeting with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader "is based on careful calculation. Instead of a photo-opportunity with the Dalai Lama, the administration believes it would be better to focus on diplomacy to restart negotiations between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama’s envoys that were suspended last year."

"Of course, I understand the move diplomatically," said Ethan Nichtern in BeliefNet. "Pride and appearances are huge in diplomatic relations, especially with the Chinese. But what about standing up for truth, fairness, justice, interdependence?" If you don't stand tall on those values, "you have no real strength when it comes time to negotiate."

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week