Concern for Tibet seems to no longer be U.S. policy

It was only last year that the National Society of Poseurs, Frauds and Phonies took to the streets to wail and rend garments (conveniently purchased from the bargain shelf of a nearby thrift store) as part of their expression of outrage at the treatment of tiny little Tibet by big, bad Red China.

Never mind that few would know Tibet from Timbuktu, much less care.

But the Olympic torch was being carried across part of the United States. It just seemed like a good idea to stick up for plucky little Tibet, home of the Dalai Lama and funny orange robes.

Suddenly, the market boomed again in silly “Free Tibet” bumper stickers and the feel-good crowd was all atwitter at the prospect of thumbing the Chinese regime in the eye.

The Chinese were, well, let’s say, unperturbed.

The Chinese did what authoritarian regimes do. They got more authoritarian.

Dissidents, and it takes a lot to be a dissident in an authoritarian state, got booted out of the view of television cameras. Happy, smiling faces only.

Got smog? Eat it. And remember, it’s Chinese, You’ll be wanting more in an hour.

The outrage, once palpable, was, well, absent when the games began.

All those friends of Tibet and enemies of authoritarian rule were suddenly preoccupied.

Tibet? As in, “Sure, I’d like tibet $10 on Phelps to win. Give me two to one?”

The soon-to-be leader of the free world opined in March 2008, when the faux frothing was near its apex, that Tibet “should enjoy genuine and meaningful autonomy. The Dalai Lama should be invited to visit China, as part of a process leading to his return.”

On his presidential visit last week to China, it was autonomy be damned.

“The United States respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China,” Obama said at a joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

In appeasement-speak, the president gave permission for the Chinese to do what they wish with Tibet.

“Farewell, Lama, it’s been swell, Lama, but we really owe these guys big and, well, you used to be from Tibet. Note the tense, bucko. And no, there won’t be a little somethin’ for the effort.”

And what of the hordes of Tibet-lovers who only last year were all Tibet or bust?

Let’s just say that real Tibetans have figured that a “Free Tibet” bumper sticker is probably there to hold together some rattletrap piece of automotive machinery so useless as to fail to qualify for even the Cash for Clunkers program.

“We should not let ourselves believe that the United States would come forward and help us in solving the Tibetan issue or neither should we believe that the European Union or any powerful countries could do that,” said Tenzin Cheoying, the president of the Students for Free Tibet in India. “For us, now, what we firmly believe is that it is only up to the individual Tibetans, all the Tibetans unitedly, we need to come out with a new strategy.”

Forget independence, forget freedom. Now it’s just a game of survival.

Cheoying has figured out that the one new certainty is that the United States no longer stands as a beacon for freedom, no longer will it inspire defiance of tyranny.

Now, it’s a buddy of the baddies. Worse, one that owes them money.

Still driving around with a silly “Free Tibet” bumper sticker?

Drop the smugness and at least be honest enough to scratch out the “free” part.

If you really are into honesty and transparency, put a “Screw Tibet” sticker next to the Obama one.

At least you couldn’t be accused of hypocrisy. Anymore.


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