Ed Morrissey writes that President Obama blowing off a meeting with the Dalai Lama isn’t as big a deal as it first seems:
This is an instance where everyone on all sides make too much of the situation. While no one disputes that China’s rule over Tibet has been brutal and totalitarian, it’s been about the same as its rule everywhere else in China. The Dalai Lama has been an international celebrity for many years, but successive meetings with presidents have done nothing to change Tibet’s status. Furthermore, American Presidents have to focus on America’s needs, and if Obama can get China to bend on North Korea and especially Iran, skipping one meeting with the Dalai Lama would be well worth it.
Obama will be President for another three years, during which he will have plenty of time to meet personally with the Dalai Lama. In fact, even the Telegraph reports that the White House tried to get the Dalai Lama to reschedule his visit for after Obama’s negotiations with China, presumably allowing Obama to then meet him personally, but that request was refused. That certainly seems like the Obama administration made a good-faith effort to balance human rights with our need to gain cooperation with China on Iranian nukes.
I don’t think that snubbing the Dalai Lama will gain us that cooperation, of course, but avoiding a deliberate diplomatic provocation hardly counts as appeasement. In this case, I’d say that the Obama administration got it right, and that American interests trump a photo op with the Dalai Lama.
Still though, Roger L. Simon worries that if Obama has lost Richard Gere, he’s lost Buddhist-America! (But note that Roger catches himself at the end: “Are you really sure he’s lost the Richard Gere vote?-ed. No, some toadies will always be toadies.”)