Ever since growing up in Palm Beach, I’ve always heard that Americans are hopeless, naïve “babes in the woods” on foreign policy because they’re always pursuing some moral cause without reference to the realities of the situation. I was also told that we should emulate the Europeans in their more “realistic” and “sophisticated” approach to politics, foreign policy and even life.
It looks like the Europeans, and specifically French President Nicolas Sarkozy, have hung around us too much:
Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama in Gdansk, Poland, during celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of former Polish President Lech Walesa winning the Nobel Peace prize. France currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency and Beijing warned that China-EU relations may suffer, adding that the Dalai Lama was a separatist and a “political hooligan”.
As I noted last April, Tibet has become the romantic cause for leftists on both sides of the Atlantic. It wasn’t that long ago that Mao Zedong and his communists in Yanan were in the same category. Now Mao’s successors have to put up with this kind of political sentimentality directed against them.
This year, Beijing has proved it is a cooperative and responsible member of the international community on three different but highly significant occasions. The Beijing Summer Olympic Games in August were in the words of Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, “truly exceptional”.
After the crisis in Georgia, Moscow did not succeed in bringing Beijing on side to recognize the breakaway Georgian states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. By refusing to back Moscow, Beijing avoided perpetuating the sterile antagonism between the West and the Sino-Russian axis. Last but not least, during the recent financial turmoil, Beijing has been a key factor of stability. Despite China’s constructive and balanced behavior, the EU ends 2008 by an unnecessary quarrel with one of the main pillars of the 21st century’s global order.
By officially displaying strong support to Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, some European politicians want to believe that they are doing the right thing. They are, in fact, demonstrating shortsightedness, ignorance and, to a certain extent, irresponsibility.
Today those on the left are crowing about the arrival of real rationality to the White House. But, if you look at the Democrat Party’s upper income constituency, you’ll find many romanticists about Tibet, encouraged by this kind of European rubbish. If the Europeans can’t come to reality about a situation like this, what hope is there for us?