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What If the Chinese Killed the Dalai Lama with a Drone Strike? | Common Dreams

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Published on Friday, February 22, 2013 by Common Dreams

What If the Chinese Killed the Dalai Lama with a Drone Strike?

by Tom Gallagher

His holiness the Dalai Lama. Is might be absurd to consider the hypothetical, but then again, what has become the reality of US policy, like the extrajudicial killing a US teenager, would have also once been decried as absurd.On the same day we learned of the Obama Administrations intent to dig in its heels and refuse to share its standards for drone strike targeting with the U.S. Senate, we also learned that China had considered becoming the second nation to launch a drone-based missile strike against one of its enemies on foreign soil. Had it happened as contemplated, the attack in Myanmar would certainly have made waves in Washington. The nature of the target would not have been very controversial though, in that Burmese national Naw Kham is a drug lord blamed for the killing of 13 Chinese sailors who refused to pay protection money while working on the Mekong River in 2011. (China decided against the strike and instead captured him in Laos last April and subsequently sentenced him to death.)

But what if China decided that the Dalai Lama were a legitimate target?

Absurd? Well, yes and no. Yes, its not going to happen. Obviously assassinating the Dalai Lama would be rightly denounced as an atrocity in every capital around the world and I dont for a moment mean to suggest that the Chinese Government would actually consider it. But would it be absurd in the sense that it would somehow be beyond the pale of world standards for drone-based assassination, that is to say, the standards of the one country that has done this the U.S.? Well, no.

We know that the Dalai Lama isnt guilty of terrorism, but then by now we also know that some of Americas drone strike victims werent either.

From official Beijings point of view, the Dalai Lama is an enemy of the Chinese state, a secessionist whose remarks, according to the official Xinhua news agency remind us of the cruel Nazis during the Second World War in advocating policies that would expel Han Chinese from Tibet, which China deems an integral part of the country. Of course, when it comes to comparing any imagined Chinese action with real life American policy, we are at something of a loss, in that, as weve been reminded over the course of the Senate hearings on John Brennans appointment as CIA Director, President Obama maintains his right to assassinate without telling us on what basis he does so.

Still, there are a few relevant things that we do know. Were we to continue our reality stretch in imagining a Chinese Government hit on the Dalai Lama, we would likely also then imagine critics jumping on the irony that, since China considers Tibet an inextricable Chinese province, it would then be killing one of its own citizens. But as we know, in that Beijing would not be going Washington one better, since when a drone-based missile killed Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011, the President had for the first time authorized the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen or at least the first time that we know of.

Or we might well note, that overblown official Chinese rhetoric notwithstanding, the fact is that the Dalai Lama is a man of peace who has never killed anyone or ordered anyone killed, while the people the U.S. kills via drones are men guilty of violence terrorists. Well, not exactly right there either.

Again, while we citizens dont currently have the right to know the basis on which the President issues death sentences, we do know that there are such things as signature strikes, which target people on the basis of suspicious activity. When Anwar al-Awlakis 16 year-old son, Abdulrahman, was killed in such a drone strike the month after his father, not only did he become the third American citizen known to die in that manner, but also the first never even accused of terrorist activity. And as for those who arent American citizens, weve read of the State Department joke that so far as the C.I.A. goes, three guys doing jumping jacks constitutes a terrorist training camp.

We know that the Dalai Lama isnt guilty of terrorism, but then by now we also know that some of Americas drone strike victims werent either. So if the Chinese government were to take down the man it regards as a dangerous separatist would it actually be acting below the level of current world, i.e., American standards for the use of drone attacks? As the saying goes, Im just saying.

Tom Gallagher

Tom Gallagher is a San Francisco antiwar and Democratic Party activist. He is a past member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.. Reach him at TGTGTGTGTG or TomGallagherwrites.com.

Read the original story at the link below-

As you may know if you’ve read my writing before, the Dalia Lama is one of my personal, lifelong heroes. Oddly, being raised in a polarized place like the US, I am also a huge fan of Chinese cinema, literature and culture.

I have often been confused by the Chinese government’s stance on the Dalai Lama, but it is not so different from the similarly inexplicable US stance on indigenous issues-both appear to make perfect sense when you factor in the land, resources etc that both the Native Americans and the Tibetans would be blocking free access to if they had true sovereignty over their ancestral lands.

While the Black Hills have been taken without being ceded, just as Tibet was and both areas are now operationally part of the larger nations-can anyone really argue that this is for any reason other than force of arms on the part of the larger entity?

The big difference appears to be that the Chinese government places a greater value on the appearance of being moral and decent-or perhaps with more pragmatism and less disgust toward my own country I should say that even if China decided using a drone to kill the Dalai Lama was a good idea, they surely do not wish to provoke a nuclear exchange with well armed India over one very elderly gentleman who is not really a threat to them.

Of course, the US uses drones only in countries that cannot fight back. (unless they are using them against Native people on behalf of that country, as in Caledonia in Canada in 2009)

As much as I respect my President, I am disappointed beyond words that he is choosing or being forced to go along with this horrific agenda of murder, domination and imperialism by remote control.

I hope that if the people make ENOUGH noise about our disagreement with it, he will be empowered to act on his conscience and bring it to an end. From all I know about our President, I simply cannot imagine that he feels comfortable, justified in, or supportive of this drone war. I hope that I am not wrong about him.

Author: ohnwentsya

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