Why Washington Plays
‘Tibet Roulette’ With China
By F. William Engdahl
Washington has obviously decided on an ultra-high risk geopolitical game with Beijing’s by fanning the flames of violence in Tibet just at this sensitive time in their relations and on the run-up to the Beijing Olympics. It’s part of an escalating strategy of destabilization of China which has been initiated by the Bush Administration over the past months. It also includes the attempt to ignite an anti-China Saffron Revolution in the neighboring Myanmar region, bringing US-led NATO troops into Darfur where China’s oil companies are developing potentially huge oil reserves. It includes counter moves across mineral-rich Africa. And it includes strenuous efforts to turn India into a major new US forward base on the Asian sub-continent to be deployed against China, though evidence to date suggests the Indian government is being very cautious not to upset Chinese relations.
The current Tibet operation apparently got the green light in October last year when George Bush agreed to meet the Dalai Lama for the first time publicly in Washington. The President of the United States is not unaware of the high stakes of such an insult to Beijing. Bush deepened the affront to America’s largest trading partner, China, by agreeing to attend as the US Congress awarded the Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal.
The immediate expressions of support for the crimson monks of Tibet from George Bush, Condi Rice, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany’s Angela Merkel most recently took on dimensions of the absurd. Ms Merkel announced she would boycott attending the August Beijing Summer Olympics as her protest at the Beijing treatment of the Tibetan monks. What her press secretary omitted is that she had not even planned to go in the first place.
She was followed by an announcement that Poland’s Prime Minister, the pro-Washington Donald Tusk, would also stay away, along with pro-US Czech President Vaclav Klaus. It is unclear whether they also hadn’t planned to go in the first place but it made for dramatic press headlines.
The recent wave of violent protests and documented attacks by Tibetan monks against Han Chinese residents began on March 10 when several hundred monks marched on Lhasa to demand release of other monks allegedly detained for celebrating the award of the US Congress’ Gold Medal last October. The monks were joined by other monks marching to protest Beijing rule on the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
The geopolitical game
As the Chinese government itself was clear to point out, the sudden eruption of anti-Chinese violence in Tibet, a new phase in the movement led by the exiled Dalai Lama, was suspiciously timed to try to put the spotlight on Beijing’s human rights record on the eve of the coming Olympics. The Beijing Olympics are an event seen in China as a major acknowledgement of the arrival of a new prosperous China on the world stage.