Dalai Lama pawn in Bush’s oil wars?

We’ve already had to warn the heroic Buddhist dissidents of Burma and colonized Uighur people of China’s far west against allowing themselves to be exploited as propaganda fodder by the Bush White House. Now it seems we have to warn the Dalai Lama—whose official website boasts the text of his Oct. 17 Capitol Hill acceptance speech upon being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is truly perverse to witness a single news story in the Los Angeles Times that day in which Bush defends his decision to attend the ceremony for the Dalai Lama (and to hold a private schmoozing session with him at the White House a day earlier)—while calling the Armenian genocide bill “counterproductive” meddling in Turkish affairs! This double standard should clue the Dalai Lama in that he is being used. Turkey is a strategic ally that Bush needs keep on good terms to stabilize Iraq—and, at this moment, to restrain from threatened military incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan. China is an imperial rival in the critical scramble for Africa’s oil—and the key nation now falling under the rubric of the 1992 Pentagon “Defense Planning Guide” drawn up by Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby which said the US must “discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”

China is reacting to the Congressional award much as Turkey is reacting to the progress of the Armenian genocide bill. “We solemnly demand that the US cancel the extremely wrong arrangements,” Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Oct. 16. “It seriously violates the norm of international relations and seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China’s internal affairs.” China protested the honors for the Dalai Lama by pulling out of an international strategy session on Iran sought by the US and planned for the same day the award was given. (AP, Oct. 16) The day after the ceremony, Yang also summoned US Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt to lodge a formal protest. “The move is a blatant interference in China’s internal affairs. It has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and gravely undermined bilateral relations,” ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news briefing. He urged Washington to correct “the terrible effects of its erroneous act and stop conniving with, and supporting, ‘Tibet independence’ secessionist forces.” (China Daily, Oct. 19)

The Dalai Lama’s speech anticipated that he would be accused of “hidden agendas”:

On the future of Tibet, let me take this opportunity to restate categorically that I am not seeking independence. I am seeking a meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people within the People’s Republic of China… I have no hidden agenda. My decision not to accept any political office in a future Tibet is final.

The Chinese authorities assert that I harbor hostility towards China and that I actively seek to undermine China’s welfare. This is totally untrue. I have always encouraged world leaders to engage with China; I have supported China’s entry into WTO and the awarding of summer Olympics to Beijing. I chose to do so with the hope that China would become a more open, tolerant and responsible country.

Ironically, principled activists concerned with Tibet, Burma and Darfur, as well as sinister neocons who seek to exploit these issues, might consider the Dalai Lama too soft on China! Nonetheless, most telling that His Holiness is in danger of being co-opted by the all-too-worldly agenda of the Bushites is that his speech contained not even the most allusive criticism of the war in Iraq—a nation being ravaged by US imperialism as surely as Tibet has been ravaged by Chinese imperialism.

See our last posts on China, Tibet, and the global struggle for control of oil.

  1. confusing the issues
    ” his speech contained not even the most allusive criticism of the war in Iraq”

    What would have been productive about an ‘allusive’ step into US foreign policy commentary? While the image that the Bushies would be suddenly enlightened by His Holiness is entertaining I think we can agree that it is very unlikely, as is the idea that any further public moral outrage at this round of imperialism would tip any scales, anywhere.

    As far as I know, the Dalai Lama only speaks out against Chinese civil rights violations in his own country which are legion. He probably doesn’t see the world through the lens of domestic US media spin and I, for one, can’t blame him.
    While you and I, and probably many of the readers of this site, take a global view of imperial oppression and organized state terror regardless of the imperial or corporate capital, I see no problem with this man not participating.

    What have the Bushies gained by using their ‘pawn’? As it looks like Putin is about to announce ‘check’ and the Chinese are financially many pieces ahead, I don’t see any advantage gained by the White House. Bush has already lost profoundly the global propaganda war.

    1. I’m afraid they were already confused
      The Dalai Lama would have no special responsibility to speak out about Iraq—if he were not receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor, from the same body that approved and funds the Iraq war. Just like it irks us when Evo Morales gets all cozy with Beijing because it is a betrayal of Tibetans (and, more ironically given the Bolivian experience, the oppressed Chinese peasantry), we are likewise irked when the Dalai Lama cozies up to Bush because it is a betrayal of the Iraqis (and Bolivians).

      Sure the Bushies have already lost the global propaganda war, but that doesn’t mean they’re gonna stop trying. And the fact that the Chinese are financially many pieces ahead just raises the imperial imperative on Bush to keep them away from the Persian Gulf oil, and to dislodge them from Africa.

      1. Yeah you’re right but …
        Evo Morales has real power. With power … The Dalai Lama is purely a religious leader with no hidden agendas – though I do have to put up with Dalai Lama + CIA + Tibetean Nazi spam from some idiots – and no power what so ever.

        My question, what would a reference, veiled or not, have accomplished? Besides befuddling GWB? ok, that might have been funny.

        1. What would it have accomplished?
          What did it accomplish when John Lennon returned his MBE? You are overstating the case that the Dalai Lama has no power. He wields great moral power, and I fear that he may be squandering some of it—as has, alas, Elie Wiesel.

          “Tibetan Nazi spam”? Oy vey, I’m not sure I want to know…

          1. tibetan nazis, lol
            That’s hilarious. People no doubt think that because of the yung-drung, which is now commonly referred to as the Swastika. Then there’s the fact that buddhists often shave their heads…lol, here’s other points, but this is a moot debate.

        2. Dalai Lama has Nazi ties
          You may not like the truth, Bush hates the truth, but the truth is this: the Dalai Lama has strong Nazi ties. Two Nazi SS officers are top advisers in his government in exile. Check it out; Dr. Bruno Beger and Heinrich Harrer. The Dalai Lama frequently visits top Nazis such as Miguel Serrano of the Argentina Nazi Party and tries to free neo-Nazis such as Augustine Pinochet and takes millions of dollars from admirers of Hitler such Shoko Asahara, the Tokyo subway gasser. Don’t be like Bush or the Chinese government which dismiss any facts they don’t like.
          My suggestion: check out the facts before you post again.

  2. I think
    Dear Bill,

    Only one thing I would like to bring to your attention is that Dalai Lama is surely smarter than persons of your or my intellectual capacity and knowledge. Therefore, it is my advice that you save your advice and gray cells for yourself and study of logic as your posting seriously lacks it.