Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Otero Effect

Get ready Nepal, here she comes again.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Maria Otero is coming to Kathmandu again and she's probably bringing that big chip on her shoulder about Nepal's treatment of Tibetans.  Unfortunately, it's not a very informed chip.

Ms. Otero will more than likely make some proclamation about how Nepal is not doing enough to protect Tibetans.  This is true and Nepal can do much more in this regard, but Ms. Otero does not live in Nepal and does not see the ground realities or the Chinese pressure that Nepal must deal with every day.

It won't matter, Ms. Otero will make her case, scold Nepal and retreat back to safety on the other side of the world.

Her's is a sound-bite diplomatic effort on behalf of Tibetans.  Otero's use of terms like "gentleman's agreement" tells blogdai that she's gotten most of her Tibetan data from the Tibet lobby in DC and not from more permanent and credible field and diplomatic channels.  

I'm sure it was one of these uninformed sources that gave  her the brilliant idea of coming to Kathmandu just a few days before Losar, the Tibetan new year.  In recent years, Losar has been an exercise in Nepali repression of Tibetans at the request of the Chinese. All indications are there will be a similar effort to stifle Tibetan expression again this year.  So is Otero's timing a deliberate act?  Is Otero of the belief that a few words of support or warning might stave off some police action?  

Naive and dangerous.  Her visit just before Losar--even if she says nothing about Tibet--will trigger an increase in Chinese pressure on Tibetans in Nepal.  Bank on it.  Yang Houlan can't wait to show the Americans who's boss in Nepal and loves to pull the trigger in the name of "regional stability" as he says.  She's courting trouble if she believes American hegemony has any staying power in Nepal,  plus, the Chinese look to her every utterance on Tibet as evidence of meddling by "foreign Free Tibet groups."

Maria Otero (right) asking herself: "Who is this guy in the robe again?"

As annoying and childish as the Chinese are on the Tibetan issue, they DO perhaps have a point. blogdai has  learned that during her last visit, Otero was accompanied by junior staffers of the DC Tibet lobby who undoubtedly were spoon-feeding their positions to her and providing her with briefings.

It was an unfortunate coincidence that shortly after her visit, the consular section of the U.S. embassy was caught designating Tibetan travelers as "refugees" and having some (unclear) involvement in a phony visa miscue involving Tibetans.  The DC Tibet lobby strikes again?  blogdai says this is too coincidental and too precise of a move to be pulled off without some form of planning and access from interested groups.  Just sayin....


Anyway, Otero's last visit started a cavalcade of criticism of Nepal from obscure State Department officials and U.S. legislators alike.   We can't let this happen again as we seek to build credibility on the world stage and attract foreign investment, so contact representatives of the Nepal media and Nepal trade organizations and have them be alert for this onslaught.  Perhaps if we see the Otero effect coming we can plan for it, address it publicly, and then ultimately dismiss it.


2/14 Update:  Otero cancels Nepal visit for the time being.  Did she realize the volatility of showing up just before Losar or did she just read blogdai and cave?   -=BD


At 8:27 PM, February 07, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Koti ramro americama? talk and money .

At 8:35 PM, February 07, 2012, Blogger blogdai said...

Oh, we put this stuff out, conceive it the best we can, and hope someone with the ability to affect anything will at least read it.

The bottom line is: there is no depth of understanding on any issue anymore. All issues are sliced up for their cheap entertainment value. None of you really care anymore. blogdai's peak was during jana andolan when we had 10,000 hits in a week. Why? because it was mostly screaming brain-dead revolutionaries spouting off about nothing. All emotion and no substance.

Show me the rational, intellectual revolutionary and I'll show you Armageddon....

But alas, such human capacity is perhaps lost forever.


At 1:37 PM, February 08, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A bit of a downer that last post, BD.

cant lose hope

At 7:03 PM, February 09, 2012, Blogger blogdai said...

Right, sorry. Actually my favorite revolutionary these days is Wael Ghonim, author of Revolution 2.0

He speaks like a leader, he espouses the new ethos of leaderless revolution, he's been imprisoned by the Egyptian meanies, and he absolutely positively does not apply too much significance to the role of social media in revolutions. I like him.


At 3:20 PM, February 14, 2012, Blogger blogdai said...

Can't help but think the Nepal media had a hand in Otero's cancellation. They were waiting to pounce on her every utterance as soon as she was scheduled to land in Kathmandu.


At 1:44 PM, March 01, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite, the Tibetans claims of mistreatment, in reality the Tibetans enjoy far greater protection and support than they do from India. For years the Tibetans enjoyed great freedom to trade and business. The Tibetans in Nepal are economically successful. The Tibetans in Nepal are richer than those in India, who live in refugee camps. If the Tibetans are treated so badly, how come all the Lamas and Rinpoches moving to Nepal to establish their monasteries? How does US treat Mexican migrants? Don’t they deport them back to Mexico? Don’t they shoot poor Mexicans trying to cross their borders? More people killed on US Mexican border than on Tibet-Nepal border.

The stories of Nepal's mistreatment in generated by highly paid Tibet lobbyist in Washington DC to squeeze funding and money to support their comfortable life style. It has nothing to do with actual conditions in Nepal.

Do these lobbyist and activist care about Nepal? No, they don't. US make a great deal about taking 1000 Tibetans but in Nepal we have over 30,000. Will US be willing to take 30,000? Nepal pays high price for accommodating Tibetans. Most of my Tibetan friends say, they love Nepal and happy in Nepal.

The Tibet lobbyists in US are the main cause of tension in Nepal by their refusal to recognize problems Nepal is facing. They have not the slightest idea of current difficult situation in Nepal. The Tibet lobbyists are creating tension between Nepali and Tibetans to serve their own purpose. Internationally, the lobbyists have proven that Tibet issue is just an extension of US foreign policy interest and anti-China ploy. The fact is US is not important to Nepal. US does not have any economic or strategic investment in Nepal, so they had huff and puff as much as they like, it wouldn’t make any difference.

At 10:21 PM, April 18, 2012, Anonymous seo in nepal said...

nice bloging blosdai......i like in your work

At 9:37 AM, May 14, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article! Its good to see that you are back in the business of writing insightful analysis on Nepal. Dont give up! It takes time to regain the readers.

I thought I would bring to your readers attention www.help2educate.org which is a no nonsense charity that provides education and care to needy girls in Nepal.

Hope you don't mind! I just wish to raise awareness!


At 10:05 AM, May 19, 2012, Blogger blogdai said...

Nice to hear from you again, Ian


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