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Dalai Lama Visit Scrubbed

October 5th, 2009

1Looks like a White House visit with the Dalai Lama has been cancelled. From this morning’s Washington Post:

“In an attempt to gain favor with China, the United States pressured Tibetan representatives to postpone a meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Obama until after Obama’s summit with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, scheduled for next month, according to diplomats, government officials and other sources familiar with the talks. For the first time since 1991, the Tibetan spiritual leader will visit Washington this week and not meet with the president. Since 1991, he has been here 10 times.”

According to some, the sudden change is about economics.

“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. ”Today, economic interests are much greater than other interests,” he said.

On the one hand, it is disturbing to see the White House may be bowing to political pressure. On the other, far too much importance has been placed on this religious leader. The Dalai Lama of course means a lot to Tibetans, but he has become a silly symbol for Americans, the point having once been suggested by Bill Murray.

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