By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
The United States has delayed a meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, in an apparent attempt to gain favor with China, the Washington Post reports. Video from the Dalai Lama's first public meeting with a sitting U.S president, George W. Bush, is above.
Is this more evidence that promoting religious freedom, historically associated with left-leaning advocacy for international human rights, is becoming more a Republican cause? It will be interesting to see how pro-Tibet groups respond to today's report.
Background from the Post :
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. Most times the meetings have been "drop-in" visits at the White House. The last time he was here, in 2007, however, George W. Bush became the first sitting president to meet with him publicly, at a ceremony at the Capitol in which he awarded the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest civilian award.
The U.S. decision to postpone the meeting appears to be part of a strategy to improve ties with China that also includes soft-pedaling criticism of China's human rights and financial policies as well as backing efforts to elevate China's position in international institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund. Obama administration officials have termed the new policy "strategic reassurance," which entails the U.S. government taking steps to convince China that it is not out to contain the emerging Asian power.