If it was stage-managed to avoid the impression that he is the head of a country, nevertheless it was a tribute to Tibet that the Dalai Lama sat down for coffee with the president of the United States the other day in the White House.
Good for him, in fact for both of them.
President Barack Obama met with the Tibetan leader despite furious protests from the communist government of mainland China, which has occupied Tibet since the 1950s.
China’s government accused Obama of letting the Dalai Lama use the White House to promote anti-Chinese activities. “It is a severe violation of the principles of international relations,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry. “It will inflict grave damages upon the China-U.S. relationship.”
The president has rightly met with the Dalai Lama before, and we think it is valuable for the United States to express, as the White House put it, “strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions.”
That doesn’t mean Tibetan independence, as the Dalai Lama does not seek that result.
Indeed, he is the voice of reason and peace that we in Louisiana were delighted to hear earlier this year.
The charm and wisdom that was on display when the Dalai Lama visited New Orleans in May is only part of the reason that we are pleased he was received by the president. If the oppressors of Tibet are upset, so much the better.