I am very pleased that today President Obama will greet the Dalai Lama in the White House. My passion for his matter runs deep. I had stated several weeks ago that such a meeting should take place. I was wrong however to have assumed that the President would never meet Tibet’s spiritual leader in the White House. Reports are that the meeting will indeed take place in the people’s house!
The very fact that this meeting will occur in this fashion underscores the gravity of concern that President Obama feels over the severe manner in which China deals with both political and religious opponents. That is a huge statement, and one that places Obama in a more firm position regarding his foreign policy stance, and no doubt initiatives going forward.
I am filled with pride that our President will have a meeting in this fashion as it makes a very necessary statement. Even though China is a major international player and one that we have a very complicated relationship with, we are not going to shove human rights aside. Secretary of State Clinton has made less than artful comments about the need to have other issues placed ahead of human rights, thereby giving China a pass in hopes of allowing other policy goals such as Iran sanctions a better chance of success. Time has proved the folly of this thinking about China. We all know that China is not reliable when it comes to Iran, or many other matters that the United States understands to be vital.
Today’s meeting is another example of the power that a President can exercise. The gesture of this meeting will not be missed around America, across China, and most importantly in the hearts of the Tibetan people.
Thanks, Mr. President.