Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hello Dalai

I'm not the world's most spiritual guy, but in this case the Lama took the words right out of my mouth:

In other words, Us is Them.

See also: Axioms

The Lama's visit provided the world with another stunning example of Dutch diplomacy: allow the Lama to come, but don't let the prime minister meet with him. But do let the foreign minister meet with him.

*Eyes glaze over*

What's the strategy here? As far as I can see, the intention is to sow confusion about the Dutch position. Because it's a) complicated and b) just the Dutch, no one will pay much attention.

The Chinese will see the Netherlands as a 'borderline' case and the Dutch won't be first in line for economic retaliation. Dutch western allies, to the extent they notice, will regard this as a bit of a weasel move. But how mad can they be? The government did let the Lama meet the foreign minister and after all, it's just the Dutch.

It reminds me a lot of the Dutch position on Iraq: support the war politically but not militarily.

I can just see Osama bin Laden at the meeting where al-Qaida is planning future attacks and going down the list of "coalition of the willing" members.

"The Dutch, I don't quite get this. Were they for the war or against it?" he asks his Western Europe attache.

"Well, it was complicated sir. You see..."

OBL: "Give me the exective summary, curse you!"

"They're not a top priority, sir."


Mission accomplished: the Netherlands stays in Washington's good graces but doesn't make itself more of a terrorist target.

This strategy is kind of like not taking vaccination shots: good for the individual (Holland) but bad for the herd (the rest of the West).

Do I have a personal opinion about Balkenende not meeting the Dalai Lama? Well, I think B. should spell out the exact reason why not. Who knows, it could be...enlightening?


Anonymous said...

sophomore commentary

Toby Sterling said...

Petty critique

Anonymous said...

critique petite

Anonymous said...

Not taking vaccination shots is NOT good for the individual.

Branko Collin

Toby Sterling said...

@Branko _ Well, depending on the frequency of vaccination. If the herd is vaccinated, the chance of an individual catching the disease is so small that the risk of bad side effects from vaccination is greater.

Maybe different for say, chicken pox, where regimes vary so much.

(I'm not an anti-vaccination type).

Anyhow, point taken, the vaccination analogy isn't great.

Maybe paying a ransom to kidnappers would be a better comparison.

The Dutch are doing something that's good for them but will make it easier for China to single out others for 'punishment' the way it did with France.

This is one of the reasons people argue the EU needs a single foreign policy, so it can present a united front in these kinds of situations.