President Obama and the Dalai Lama: A Historic Opportunity Squandered

President Ronald Reagan successfully led the Greatest Generation’s ultimate triumph, over the transformational challenge posed by the Soviet Union and its strategic threat and rival model of governance, in part because he understood the gravest threats to communism were the free exercise of religion and free and independent labor unions.

Free and independent labor unions obliterated communism’s exclusive claim to speak for the “proletariat,” and enabled enslaved men and women to experience a core principle of America: individual liberty, for which they fought, often with great sacrifice. Thus, former Screen Actors Guild President Reagan worked closely with American organized labor to foster and defend workers’ unions throughout the Eastern bloc, most notably Poland’s Solidarity.

The free exercise of religion destroyed atheistic communism’s ideological claim to be an historical, “scientific” inevitability. In this cause, Reagan united with Pope John Paul II to spur the peaceful implosion of the Evil Empire.

Today, our Global Generation confronts the transformational challenge posed by communist China’s rise as a strategic threat and rival model of governance. Ominously, President Obama has not learned the lessons of history; and has sought to appease rather than implode the Beijing regime to free a billion souls from the shackles of statist servitude.

Ironically, though a Democrat, President Obama has not effectively marshaled the power of American organized labor to push for workers’ rights in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Indeed, fearing communist China’s economic leverage over the U.S. economy, President Obama has calculatedly muted America’s call for the recognition of all human rights in the PRC, including the right to free and independent labor unions.

Similarly, President Obama has also missed a historic opportunity regarding the free exercise of religion. In refusing to meet with the Dalai Lama prior to meeting with the Beijing regime, President Obama is squandering this generation’s opportunity to see an American President unite with a religious leader to free billions from oppression — namely, the Dalai Lama.

There remains time for President Obama to realize his mistake; and embrace the moral and practical power of both American labor and the Dalai Lama to triumph over the transformational challenge posed by communist China’s as a strategic threat and rival model of governance. Still, history’s hands remorselessly round the clock….  

U.S. Representative Thaddeus G. McCotter (R-MI) is the Chair of the Republican House Policy Committee.

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