Ethical Dilemma #6: Should President Obama Meet the Dalai Lama?

the Dalai Lama reading The Taipei TImes on Taiwan's High-Speed Rail
Creative Commons License photo credit: ctsnow

This week news came out saying that President Obama would be the first President since 1991 not to meet with the Dalai Lama while he is on tour in the United States. This has produced a mixed reaction from pundits, Tibet supporters and peace advocates around the world. Some people say that it shows weakness on the part of the United States while others believe that Obama is trying to build good relations with the Chinese Government before approaching the Tibetan issue.

This weeks ethical dilemma is:

Should President Barack Obama meet the Dalai Lama? Why has he chosen not to meet with him and do you think it was the right thing to do? What are the likely consequences of his decision?

This issue is likely to stir up a lot of emotions in readers as it is a mixture of politics, human rights debates and spirituality. Any comments that are overly aggressive or hate filled will be deleted (censored?). For example, I do not want people to just say bad things about the Chinese or American Governments without reason as I do not think that helps. I am interested to hear your opinions on this one as I myself have a few things to say.

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9 thoughts on “Ethical Dilemma #6: Should President Obama Meet the Dalai Lama?

  1. Respect Obama and he’ll learn to respect.

    I’m sure the Dalai Lama is patient enough =]

    I wonder what the Dalai Lama has to say about this ‘not meeting’..

    Maybe he was just busy?

  2. Great article, Sidney, and I agree.

    I don’t have an opinion on whether President Obama should or should not have met with the Dalai Lama, but the fact is that he didn’t and I respect his decision. I suspect the Dalai Lama does, too. I don’t believe he intended the snub to be a disrespect, but rather a political move. I also don’t believe that the Dalai Lama possesses an ego that took it as a sign of disrespect.

    Why he made the choice that he did and if it was the right thing to do, I won’t speculate on. I don’t have an inside track on his entire motivation and I don’t want to make assumptions. As far as consequences, I don’t think there are any. Most people don’t care and those that do care have already accepted it at face value and moved on. I suspect the Dalai Lama has done the same. I suppose that conservatives will probably dwell on it for a while, but I can’t fault them for doing what they do, either.

    Like Sidney said, the two men live in two entirely different realities and have different motivations. It takes a lot to walk in either man’s shoes and I don’t want to speculate on what’s right and who’s wrong. It simply is what it is.

  3. I am surprised that he did not choose to meet with the Dalai Lama especially since I had heard stories that some members of his administration went to Dharmasala to figure out the details for such a meeting to take place.

    That said, I am sure that the Dalai Lama is not upset or effected. The decision is a political one. However, to be fair, in light of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize win, you kind of wonder if it is line with his philosophy.

    The Nobel commission stated that they choose Obama because of his belief in the importance of diplomacy and how he is doing what he can to create peace. So it makes me wonder why he chose not to meet the Dalai Lama.

    Whatever the case may be, I am still a big fan of both men. Both are doing what they can to make the world better. It also proves the power of a non-violence stance because the Dalai Lama was snubbed by South Africa earlier this year too. It is amazing that such a simple man (the Dalai Lama) can be so threatening to world leaders that they cannot meet him.

    Apologies for the length of this comment but this is a very interesting topic.

  4. I think he should.

    Not sure why he said he wouldn’t, so he may have a good reason. Maybe the Universe feels that it is not the right time.

    Nadia, what you say is so true. The world leaders fear a man of truth, love, peace, harmony and respect as they will be “exposed” for what they are.

    PS I will be attending a Dalai Lama conference in Dec in Hobart, Australia.

  5. I find it interesting that assumptions or suggestions are being made that world leaders who do not meet with the Dalai Lama avoid doing so because they fear him or because they feel threatened by him. Interesting, indeed.

  6. Hemm…pardon me for saying this.Whether he does or does not meet the Dalai Lama to me is of no relevance.It may be that Obama is of the same view.Any decision that Obama has to make with concern to anything is upon his shoulders.His responsibility.Dont get me wrong here.I respect the Dalai Lama as I respect any other person.No more and no less.I believe that we are our own caretakers.Individualistic I know.However, due care must be adhered to.Various opinions of the experts in their respective fields must be heard.If it is or not taken into account is another thing.It may be that Obama view the Dalai Lama as a man of peace,however,not fully well versed in the ongoing political entirety.Thus he respects but does not deem the meeting to be important.Just my 2 cents.

  7. The point is not so much about whether Obama considers the Dalai Lama to be important politically, but the fact that China’s ongoing human rights abuses and genocide is being ignored in favor of commerce and economic relations.

  8. Dear sir, I fully understood that.In life, there is always options.This or that.I believe in critical thinking,various types of reasonins eg. adoptive,inductive,fallacious etc.I am not for nor am I against Obama seeing the Dalai Lama.Maybe, Obama understood all this.But he has to weigh in the current scenario all of these.For every action there will always be an equal but opposite reaction.Maybe after he has done so,he deems that the course of action he takes is the best.Maybe by not going to see the Dalai Lama,China will be more receptive of his approach.In time he will be able to influence the Chinese government to discard or even abolish some of their practices.Nobody listens to an enemy or the friend of the enemy.But will always be receptive to the enemy’s enemy.Since automatically he becomes a friend.Get me here?Human beings are always controlled by their hearts whence sound reasoning is thrown out the door.Thus we have to speak to their hearts.To those in the know,they would understand that the approach that I am taking is the psychological approach.The worst type of war is the ear to the hearts and mind.For it destroys all other things.

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