Due to overwhelming demand –just kidding, of course– I’d like to extend yesterday’s remarks concerning the Dalai Lama and the application of non-violence. While the Dalai Lama may express his doubts that non-violence will succeed against terrrorists, he apparently (you may point out) is still willing to employ it against communist China. Why? Open-mindedness, the quality which the Dalai Lama identified as the prerequisite for an effective non-violent strategy, hardly seems to be a major driver in Chinese affairs.
Well, first, what other choice does he really have? The Chinese have already demonstrated a ruthlessness that would be equal to any guerrilla insurgency, even if one could be mounted. Second, the Dalai Lama enjoys the luxury of being able to operate in Dharmamsala behind a defended border. India is neither pacifist nor weak. In fact it’s a nuclear power. China may easily dispense with Tibetan sovereignty; India is another matter. And so, even here, the strategy is –is this a word?– semi-violent. Sure, the exiled Tibetan government is not itself contemplating a military offensive, but it’s perfectly comfortable with the assumption that India would provide a military defense –to include, I’m confident, a retaliatory offensive strike– in the event one were ever required.
And isn’t that always the problem with any posture of non-violence or pacifism? You’re always just one convenient remove from violence and war, dependent on someone else –a police force, the US military, some bigger buddy who’s willing to kick the ass that you aren’t– to provide the back up.
If a bigger fig leaf is desired — and you aren’t put off by a little corruption, hypocrisy, and incompetence– you can always send in the UN. You know, the peacekeeper guys. There’s reason to doubt, however, that they can rise to the level of the “rough men” that Orwell and Kipling knew to be required.
Or, and this is the other fork in the pacifist road, you can be willing to let the whole world burn.
Somebody needs to explain to this sorry-excuse-for-a-Buddhist where the good karma lies in either of those choices.