Friday, March 21, 2008

Tibet – Some Thoughts

Nancy Pelosi is doing good politics in visiting Dharmshala and high lighting the issue of Chinese oppression in Tibet. It is really impressive of her in willing to go out of way to continue to pursue her Tibet advocacy. In the core boiler room of American National politics which she presides, she has hardly any benefits to draw from such Tibet advocacy. But her desire to continue to respond to the moral underpinnings of Tibet issue is sterling and very right.

It also highlights a very responsible policy followed by India over the years – to continue to shelter Dalai Lama in India along with his notional government. Most of the political parties in India (except pro China Leftist parties) have broad support to this cause and intend to continue it. Many may expect more forceful advocacy by India in this matter, but India’s international interests in not perturbing China more than certain limits are understandable. As long as India continues the current low key, but substantial on ground, support to Tibetan exile community; it is a big contribution to a moral cause.

Moral weight – that is the only real strength Dalai Lama has in this, kind of one sided, political struggle. Otherwise it is Beijing which controls all cards. One can not expect anything but total control by Beijing communists and they will continue to be ruthless in destroying native Tibetan culture by force.

If some reports are to be believed (one in Washington Post) the real cause for the current protests by Tibetan population in Tibet is the Beijing planted economic boom which is systematically and totally eclipsing natives in garnering any opportunities. So it seems people in Tibet are fighting for getting a chance in new economy which is essentially leaving them behind; the new economy which is coming at the cost of their traditional way of life.

Beijing is smart enough to rectify this situation and it is possible that indeed some locals will be brought in the boom. If nothing else, world pressure will move Beijing in that direction. Otherwise as NYT reports, some militant efforts on younger generation of Tibet would arise; which unfortunately mean more blood shed.

Bringing in locals in the economic boom - will that be a long lasting solution? Doesn’t seem like. Cultural autonomy and some sort of political space for native Tibetan way of life is the eventual solution. But the way contemporary Chinese nation state is getting build, maniac control of Communists in greater China is unlikely to cede any political space to alternative political forces like Dalai Lama and Tibetan nation.

Boycotting opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics or boycotting Olympics altogether, may ratchet up the issue; but it is unclear how that would help to resolve this conflict in any meaningful manner. On the other hand, such a measure would compel Communist China to adopt more antagonistic policy with current World Powers and we will see the repeat drama of Olympic boycotts as seen during waning days of Cold war. Nothing else, it will alleviate China to the stature of Soviet Union formally.

The path to Tibet resolution is patience. Consistent moral arguments and politics along the lines of Pelosi (and background policy measures of India government) are the paths available. Many nations have survived centuries of oppression. There is no reason to believe that Tibetan nation would not survive Chinese State aggression. It can and duty for rest of the world is to support this struggle; the Pelosi way.

(It seems presence of so many Buddhists in and around San Francisco Bay Area is making some difference in making it ‘good local’ politics for the House Speaker to take up Tibetan cause. In any case, it is encouraging.)

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