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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

What's behind Obama-Dalai Lama meeting?

February 21, 2010

Editor: Mu Xuequan (People's Republic of China)
February 19, 2010

BEIJING, Feb.19 (Xinhua) -- Despite China's firm
and repeated opposition, U.S. President Barack
Obama met with the Dalai Lama in Washington on Thursday.

Obama pledged to build "a positive, cooperative
and comprehensive U.S.-China relationship for the
21st century" during his high-profile China visit
last November, but his pledge has failed to hold
water merely three months later.

International observers hold that, through the
meeting, Obama wants to achieve his multiple
political goals at home and abroad, while the
Dalai Lama pursues his illusion to split China in the guise of religion.

Then what's the real motive for Thursday's meeting between the two?


In 1991, then U.S. President George H. W. Bush
became the first U.S. president that met the
Dalai Lama. There had been 11 meetings between
U.S. presidents and the Dalai Lama before Obama took office.

Obama promised to bring change to America during
his election campaign, yet change is not seen on
the issue of meeting the Dalai Lama. Why?

The Japanese monthly magazine Choice was right to
the point in describing Obama's move as playing
the Tibet Card in an attempt to get out of the
administration's political and economic plight at home and abroad.

By playing the Tibet Card at such a juncture,
Obama is trying to shift the attention of both
supporters and opponents when he is faced with a
sagging economy and a much tougher midterm election for the Democrats.

Ted Carpenter, vice president for defense and
foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute,
said Obama was trying to hold sway and win over
the political constituencies in both the Democrat
and Republican camps before November.

He said that Obama was under "considerable
pressure from domestic political constituencies,"
including pressure from his own party on issues related to Tibet.

"The meeting is a way to gain favor with those
constituencies" that "support the Dalai Lama and
are not fond of China," he added.

In the view of Martin Jacques, a senior scholar
at the London School of Economics, Obama's move
reflected his worries about the decreasing U.S.
influence and the increasing influence of China on the international arena.

The global financial crisis has led to a change
in the balance of power. While the strength of
the United States is declining, China is on the rise, he said.

Pierre Picquart, an expert on China from the
University of Paris, said Obama's meeting with
political figures such as the Dalai Lama was
intended to set up a barrier to China's
development while securing the U.S. dominance in the world.


The Dalai Lama has all along tried by every means
to meet Western politicians, U.S. presidents in
particular. But to further his political end, he
has put on a religious disguise to win acceptance and favor in the West.

Ted Carpenter said the Dalai Lama's campaign with
the West "seems designed to generate
international diplomatic pressure for, at the
least, a greater-than-now political autonomy for
Tibet or even for outright independence from China."

Pierre Picquart said that the Westerners were
sometimes so captivated by the Dalai Lama's
preaching of "religion" and "freedom" that they
took it for granted without looking into his real intention behind.

Swayed by an urge to please the public, Western
leaders, more often than not, would make the
unwise decision to meet the Dalai Lama, said the French scholar.

The Dalai Lama some times makes undisguised
political advocacy while meeting Western
politicians though he claimed to be merely a religious figure.

In 1992, for instance, he sent a letter to Bill
Clinton, who just sworn in as the U.S. president,
overtly trying to enlist his support for "independence of Tibet."

Since the March 14 Lhasa riot in 2008, the Dalai
Lama has visited Western countries far more
often,trying to woo more Western politicians.

But Ingo Nentwig, a renowned ethnologist from
Germany, noted that the international community
is becoming more skeptical of the Dalai Lama's
political intention, and that more Westerners are
getting to know more truth about Tibet-related issues.

As a result, the Dalai Lama has to resort to more
PR campaigns to turn the table, said the German
ethnologist, who has traveled to Tibet several times to conduct field studies.

"It's like an ad campaign for a sordid product.
The campaign perhaps boosts sales for a while,
but eventually consumers will find out that they
have bought a sham product and will in time turn away from it," he said.


Obama is not the first to meet the Dalai Lama as
a sitting U.S. president. Three others have done so since 1991.

This is because the Tibet Card is one up the
sleeves of U.S. leaders who are still influenced
by the Cold War mentality when dealing with
China. There are also other cards in the stack.

International observers believe that so long as
their Cold War mentality remain unchanged, the
U.S.leaders are inclined to play these cards against China time and again.

"These figures would not have been welcomed or
known in the West had the Western media not hyped
them up as 'martyrs' or 'victims'," said Ingo Nentwig.

He said that some political forces in the West
tend to view China through a colonialist
perspective, and is reluctant to face the reality
that China, as a sovereign state, is not to be
budged by the West on any issues.

Obama has cashed in on his campaign promise for
changes. Right now there is one more change for
him to make that will benefit not only his party
and himself, but China and the United States and
the world at large as well for that matter. That
is to discard the Cold War mentality and adopt a
new and constructive way of thinking in handling U.S.-China ties.

Since the two sides have already set forth the
guidelines for their partnership and cooperation
in the Beijing Joint Declaration, what President
Obama needs to do is to flesh out the guidelines with concrete actions.
Editor: Mu Xuequan
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