FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
In a move sure to get the Chinese all riled up - President Obama met today with the Dalai Lama at the White House.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/18/art.dalai.dc.jpg caption="The Dalai Lama draws in the snow with his finger outside the White House after meeting with Pres. Obama earlier today. The meeting drew angry protests from China."]
The president commended the Tibetan spiritual leader's commitment to non-violence and stated his support for the preservation of Tibet's identity and human rights.
After the meeting, the Dalai Lama told reporters he was very happy with the session; and that Mr. Obama was very much supportive. The exiled leader says he admires the U.S. as a champion of freedom and talked about promoting religious harmony and human value.
Here's the problem: China warned ahead of time that the meeting would damage relations with the U.S. The Chinese view the Dalai Lama as a separatist who wants to overthrow Chinese rule. The Dalai Lama insists that's not true. And - critics are after the president for not meeting with him last fall when he came to Washington.
All of which is why the White House kept today's meeting very low key - it wasn't held in the Oval Office where presidents usually meet with world leaders, and there were no reporters allowed. The White House only released a single photo.
Meanwhile it might not be the best time to tick off the Chinese. Relations are already strained between the two countries due to trade disputes, a recent U.S. arm sales deal for Taiwan, and a censorship disagreement over Google. Not to mention the fact that the Chinese hold a staggering amount of U.S. debt - hundreds of billions of dollars worth.
Here’s my question to you: Is now the time for the U.S. to irritate China by meeting with the Dalai Lama?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Lisa in Portland, Oregon writes:
Any time is a good time to "irritate" the Chinese regarding their human rights abuses... they need us economically as much as we need them, giving us the bully pulpit no other country has. The Chinese will change their ways if they are pressured from within and without. A strong American voice on behalf of human rights can only help strengthen those cries for justice within China
Obama had him over to his HOME on the top floor, his residence. The president can invite whoever he wants to his home and it's not any of China's business. If we bow to them for that, what else will we have to bow to them about?
Matt in Washington writes:
Jack, Who cares about angering a bully? President Obama has an opportunity to help resolve the 60 year Chinese occupation of Tibet through diplomacy and negotiation. It's the least a Nobel Laureate can do.
Ted in Illinois writes:
Of course President Obama should meet with the Dalai Lama. They should all get together and drink some beer.
Lisa in San Jose writes:
Jack, The Chinese are *choosing* to be irritated by Obama meeting the Dalai Lama. That makes it *their* problem, not ours. Meanwhile, are you sure your site isn't being knocked out by a Chinese-authored hacker attack, for even asking the question?
It's just insignificant saber rattling. There will always be something to make China irritated with the U.S. or vice versa. We are two of the most powerful countries in the world and we will always maneuver for dominance of the other. But our futures are so linked economically, we have like each other. China wants the US to be healthy and prosperous. How else will we make our loan payments?