Obama and Clinton on NAFTA

To my big surprise (yes, I am still surprised by the political games) I have read that both these two Democratic candidates vowed to re open the NAFTA issue, and more concrete, to take the USA out of it.
In a debate in Ohio, Clinton bluntly vowed to tell “Canada and Mexico that we will opt out (of the North American Free Trade Agreement) unless we renegotiate the core labour and environmental standards.” Not to be outdone, Obama quickly echoed her: “I think actually Senator Clinton’s answer on this one is right.”

Hilarious to hear the Americans talking about environmental standards, right?
Aside from that, I am pretty sure the Canadians were left fuming over the remark. WTF??!!! Is it like NAFTA has done something to bring advantage only to Canadians? Well, it looks like over here, on the other side of the fence, the things look quite different then in the USA.
On the past disputes over the softwood treaty, most of them arbitrated by third parties, the Canadians did not win, and if they did, somehow the Americans turned the tables in their favor regardless.
Newsflash for Obama and Clinton: We would like changes to NAFTA, too. They must to be careful about what they ask for.
Remember that back in 1993 Jean Chrétien wanted something we would still like to have: an effective dispute resolution mechanism to shield us from U.S. bullying on issues like softwood lumber. He also sought for Canada the right Mexico has to cut oil and gas exports if a continental energy shortage occurs. And he wanted anti-dumping and subsidies codes.

Some people managed to see beyond the political rhetoric and tell it like it is, or better said, it would be: a disaster for the American manufacturing industry. Hello!!! the energy is coming from the North of 49.
“That would be a disaster for American jobs,” warns Frank Vargo, from the National Association of Manufacturers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called the Democratic candidates’ remarks “troubling.”

Following is an article written by Laura Carlsen, the Director of the Americas Policy Program (www.americaspolicy.org) of the Center for International Policy, article called: The North American Union Farce.

Enjoy it!

The North American Union Farce

It’s got millions of rightwing citizens calling Congress, sponsoring legislation, and writing manifestos in defense of U.S. sovereignty. It comes up in presidential candidates’ public appearances, has made it into primetime debates, and one presidential candidate—Ron Paul—used it as a central theme of his (short-lived) campaign.

Not bad for a plan that doesn’t exist.

The North American Union (NAU) conspiracy theory is an offshoot of an all-too-real trilateral agreement called the “Security and Prosperity Partnership” (SPP). Cultivated by xenophobic fears and political opportunism, the NAU soon outstripped its reality-based progenitor. The confusion between the two today has made it difficult to sort out the facts. A little history helps.

The Impossible Leap from SPP to NAU After the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into force in 1994, the three governments began to talk about expanding the scope of the agreement. Mexico , in particular, hoped to negotiate a solution to the border/immigration problem. However, the process was brought to a grinding halt by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center .

In a 2005 summit of then-Presidents George W. Bush, Vicente Fox, and Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco , Texas , plans for “deep integration” between the three countries finally progressed with the official launch of the SPP. In the post-September 11th political context, immigration was off the table and U.S. security interests, along with corporate aims to obtain even more favorable terms for regional trade and investment, dominated the agenda.

As the executive branches of Canada , the United States , and Mexico conspired to expand NAFTA behind the backs of their unconvinced populaces, an independent task force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations floated the idea of deeper integration under the name of the North American Community. Their paper, published in May of 2005 and financed by Archer Daniels Midland, Merrill Lynch, and Yves-Andres Istel, was not authored by an underground network of conspirators against U.S. sovereignty, as NAU critics would have us believe, but by a staid group made up mostly of former government officials and big business representatives.

This group envisioned regional integration as the creation of a “community” with shared commercial, security, and environmental purposes. It proposes sacrificing national policy tools to regional goals in areas such as creation of a common security perimeter, a permanent NAFTA tribunal to settle disputes, expanding NAFTA to restricted or excluded sectors, and adopting a joint resource agreement and energy strategy. Indeed, some of these recommendations could very well present threats to democracy in all three countries. But the report does not include adopting a common currency or a single regional government and in fact states that a “union” along the lines of the European Union is not the right approach for North America .

The CFR paper was an academic exercise with pretensions of reaching policymakers. While some of its recommendations were later taken up in the Security and Prosperity Partnership talks, particularly suggestions on ways to improve transnational business, many of them were unanchored by reality and quickly went the way of the vast majority of policy recommendations.

The SPP, on the other hand, established working groups, rules, recommendations, and agreements that have had a huge and largely unknown impact on rules and policies. It is a complex web of negotiators who work without congressional oversight, public right-to-know, or civil society participation. The corporate world, however, has ample representation; the SPP advisory body called the “North American Competitiveness Council” reads like a “Who’s Who” of the largest transnationals based on the continent.

While the lack of transparency and the U.S. corporate and security-dominated agenda of the SPP are cause for great concern, they are not evidence of a plot to move toward a North American Union. Among the most bizarre assumptions of NAU scaremongers is the contention that the SPP will threaten U.S. sovereignty and erase borders. The idea of a regional union that effaces U.S. sovereignty is light-years away from George W. Bush’s foreign policy of unilateral action and disdain for international law and institutions. On the contrary, the precepts of the Bush administration’s foreign policy point to a return to the neocon belief that the world would be a better place if the U.S. government just ran everything.

Real and Conjured Threats

A poli-sci undergrad can tell you who will prevail if Canadian, U.S. , and Mexican negotiators get together to set out a common agenda. (Hint: it’s not Mexico or Canada .)

Officially described as “… a White House-led initiative among the United States and the two nations it borders—Canada and Mexico—to increase security and to enhance prosperity among the three countries through greater cooperation,” the SPP poses a much more palpable sovereignty threat to NAFTA’s junior partners. Canadians have been the most active in opposing the SPP, not out of fear of a mythical NAU but because of real threats to their ability to protect consumer health, natural resources, and the environment. SPP rules would force open oil production in environmentally sensitive areas and channel water supplies to U.S. needs. Likewise, Mexican civic organizations have protested against SPP pressures to privatize Mexican oil and allow greater U.S. intervention in the Mexican national security system.

Both these fears have been born out in Mexico in recent months. President Felipe Calderon is expected to announce a plan to privatize segments of the state-owned oil company PEMEX any day now. Plan Mexico (also called the Merida Initiative) currently before the U.S. Congress goes farther than any other measure in the history of the binational relationship toward developing a common security perimeter, within which U.S. government teams and private defense companies would train security forces, coordinate intelligence-gathering, and provide defense equipment for use against internal threats. Few countries in the world have been willing to take this kind of risk.

As for moving toward a borderless North America , the years since the SPP began have witnessed a hardening of the U.S.-Mexico border never seen before in modern history. Fifteen thousand Border Patrol agents, 6,000 members of the National Guard, and a border fence powerfully belie any suggestion that the U.S. government aims to eliminate borders as it moves toward a secret North American Union.

Right Wing Red Herring?

How, then, to explain the fact that the NAU conspiracy has gone viral among rightwing populists in the United States ?

How to explain how a baseless myth has garnered the support of millions, made it into presidential candidates’ debates, and become the subject of 20 state resolutions and a federal one?

Given the absolute lack of factual data to support the existence of a secret plan to create a North American Union, it’s tempting to assume that the NAU scare was put forth as a red herring to divert attention from real issues facing the country. By channeling the insecurities of white working-class Americans into belief in an attack on U.S. sovereignty, the NAU myth obscures the very real globalization issues raised by NAFTA—job loss, labor insecurity, the surge in illegal immigration, and racial tensions caused by the portrayal of immigrants as invaders. This is convenient for both rightwing politicians and the government and business elites they attack because real solutions to these problems would include actions anathema to the right, including unionization, enforcement of labor rights, comprehensive immigration reform, and regulation of the international market. Instead, these options are shunted aside with the redefinition of the problem as a conspiracy of anti-American elites.

But espousing a conspiracy theory to contradict another conspiracy theory would be absurd. It’s unlikely there’s a central kitchen that cooked up the NAU red herring. The NAU myth taps into deep-rooted traditions and fears of many Americans and so, it has found a broad audience. This audience is predisposed to defend imagined communities from external threats, rather than face the complex task of unraveling the contradictions within their real communities brought about by a model of economic integration that generates insecurity and inequality.

In this context, outrage over a nonexistent NAU should not be confused with growing criticism of the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The SPP has proceeded to change national regulations, and create closed business committees without the participation of labor, environmental, or citizen voices. SPP negotiations provide a vehicle for more of the corporate integration that has eliminated jobs, impoverished workers, and threatened the environment across borders.

It has also served to extend the dangerous Bush security doctrine to Canada and Mexico , despite its lack of popularity in those countries and among the U.S. public. Its latest outgrowth, the $1.4 billion-dollar Merida Initiative or Plan Mexico would extend a militarized model of fighting the real problems of drug-trafficking and human smuggling that would lead to greater violence and heightened binational tensions.

The NAU is a red herring. It serves to divert attention from domestic problems that have more to do with layers of contradictory policies and unmet challenges than any kind of anti-U.S. conspiracy.

It’s time to separate out false threats from real threats. A good place to start is to demand transparency in trinational talks (April 21-22 in New Orleans ) and informed public debate on regional integration.


A dangerous precedent : Kosovo

On Sunday February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared independence and only God and maybe the master puppeteers know what’s going to happen next.
One thing seems to be clear: a dangerous precedent has been established.
And where? In the Balkans, known for being ‘an accident waiting to happen’. The First War started because one guy, Gavrilo Princip shot the archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to Austrian throne

Maybe my opinions would not be considered strong enough to matter, therefore I will add to this post the article written by Patrick Buchanan with regards to the above subject.

February 19, 2008

Does Balkanization Beckon Anew?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
When the Great War comes, said old Bismarck, it will come out of “some damn fool thing in the Balkans.”

On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot the archduke and heir to the Austrian throne Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, setting in motion the train of events that led to the First World War.

In the spring of 1999, the United States bombed Serbia for 78 days to force its army out of that nation’s cradle province of Kosovo. The Serbs were fighting Albanian separatists of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). And we had no more right to bomb Belgrade than the Royal Navy would have had to bombard New York in our Civil War.

We bombed Serbia, we were told, to stop the genocide in Kosovo. But there was no genocide. This was propaganda. The United Nations’ final casualty count of Serbs and Albanians in Slobodan Milosevic’s war did not add up to 1 percent of the dead in Mr. Lincoln’s war.

Albanians did flee in the tens of thousands during the war. But since that war’s end, the Serbs of Kosovo have seen their churches and monasteries smashed and vandalized and have been ethnically cleansed in the scores of thousands from their ancestral province. In the exodus they have lost everything. The remaining Serb population of 120,000 is largely confined to enclaves guarded by NATO troops.

“At a Serb monastery in Pec,” writes the Washington Post, “Italian troops protect the holy site, which is surrounded by a massive new wall to shield elderly nuns from stone-throwing and other abuse by passing ethnic Albanians.”

On Sunday, Kosovo declared independence and was recognized by the European Union and President Bush. But this is not the end of the story. It is only the preface to a new history of the Balkans, a region that has known too much history.

By intervening in a civil war to aid the secession of an ancient province, to create a new nation that has never before existed and to erect it along ethnic, religious, and tribal lines, we have established a dangerous precedent. Muslim and Albanian extremists are already talking of a Greater Albania, consisting of Albania, Kosovo, and the Albanian-Muslim sectors of Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia.

If these Albanian minorities should demand the right to secede and join their kinsmen in Kosovo, on what grounds would we oppose them? The inviolability of borders? What if the Serb majority in the Mitrovica region of northern Kosovo, who reject Albanian rule, secede and call on their kinsmen in Serbia to protect them?
Would we go to war against Serbia, once again, to maintain the territorial integrity of Kosovo, after we played the lead role in destroying the territorial integrity of Serbia?

Inside the U.S.-sponsored Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the autonomous Serb Republic of Srpska is already talking secession and unification with Serbia. On what grounds would we deny them?

The U.S. war on Serbia was unconstitutional, unjust, and unwise. Congress never authorized it. Serbia, an ally in two world wars, had never attacked us. We made an enemy of the Serbs, and alienated Russia, to create a second Muslim state in the Balkans.

By intervening in a civil war where no vital interest was at risk, the United States, which is being denounced as loudly in Belgrade today as we are being cheered in Pristina, has acquired another dependency. And our new allies, the KLA, have been credibly charged with human trafficking, drug dealing, atrocities, and terrorism.

And the clamor for ethnic self-rule has only begun to be heard.

Romania has refused to recognize the new Republic of Kosovo, for the best of reasons. Bucharest rules a large Hungarian minority in Transylvania, acquired at the same Paris Peace Conference of 1919 where Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina were detached from Vienna and united with Serbia.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two provinces that have broken away from Georgia, are invoking the Kosovo precedent to demand recognition as independent nations. As our NATO expansionists are anxious to bring Georgia into NATO, here is yet another occasion for a potential Washington-Moscow clash.

Spain, too, opposed the severing of Kosovo from Serbia, as Madrid faces similar demands from Basque and Catalan separatists.

The Muslim world will enthusiastically endorse the creation of a new Muslim state in Europe at the expense of Orthodox Christian Serbs. But Turkey is also likely to re-raise the issue as to why the EU and United States do not formally recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Like Kosovo, it, too, is an ethnically homogeneous community that declared independence 25 years ago.

Breakaway Transnistria is seeking independence from Moldova, the nation wedged between Romania and Ukraine, and President Putin of Russia has threatened to recognize it, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia in retaliation for the West’s recognition of Kosovo.

If Putin pauses, it will be because he recognizes that of all the nations of Europe, Russia is high among those most threatened by the serial Balkanization we may have just reignited in the Balkans.
Find this article at:
http://www.antiwar.com/pat/?articleid=12386

Thank you Pat Buchanan! And shame on the rest of the world for doing what they have just did.


The Rise of India and China

One of Nostradamus prophecy said that “the yellow race will inherit the earth”
Any skeptic would say: “yeah, right, Nostradamus who?”
But like it or not, the reality is that India and China will lead to a new world order, probably sooner than later. So they will inherit the earth.

Last week I found a very interesting article in The Vancouver Sun, written by Jonathan Manthrope , for whom I have an immense respect.
According to him, the future is going to be a difficult place for countries like Canada.
The rule-based international system is not going to survive the rise of superpowers like India and China.
They will make their own rules and impose their own values.

Note: I am not going even to touch the number of recalls we were confronted with this year.

Even the administration of president Bush recognized this when it decided it was better to be India’s nuclear partner than to continue berating New Delhi for not giving a rat’s ass to the nuclear management regime.

C.Raja Mohan, a former member of India’s National Security Advisory Board, is speaking in a lecture series sponsored by BMO Financial Group and the Canadian Institute for International Affairs. According to him, the western world has not grasped the full implications of the rise of Asia, especially India and China.
Both will match or overtake the superpower status of the United States within 30 years.
And with combined populations of about 2.5 billion people the demands these two countries are going to make on the world resources is beyond imagination.

Note: No it’s not; it’s pretty clear that we are going to be in deep s*eet.

To go back to the above mentioned Mr. Mohan, the challenge would be for India and China not to get involved in military conflicts with each other, in the race to control the resources.
It would be a big mistake for western countries to believe that China and India as superpowers will slot into the template for international behavior created by the nations of the North Atlantic basin.
Throughout history, superpowers fashioned the international system to fit their needs and interests.
India is the world’s largest democracy but it does not automatically support other democratic countries. India supported Sudan and Burma (Myanmar) making a classic trade-off between its values and its national interest in securing access to resources of those two countries.
India is going to be a revisionist power.
Mohan said:
“The issue for countries like Canada is if India and China have the power to change the rules, you are going to have to deal with it. If India and China decide to melt the ice cap, you are going to have to deal with it”

Note: I guess that’s in answer to our Prime Minister stance to global warming, as in if India and China are not forced to follow the Kyoto protocol, why should Canada?

Conclusion: instead of asking our kids to learn the fancy schmancy French maybe Cantonese, Mandarin or Punjabi would be more appropriate.

Read Jonathan Manthrope’s blog here

An interview with Dalai Lama

Looking for information on Tibet and trying to find an answer to my question: why did China invade Tibet? I came across the following interview with Dalai Lama.

Why do you think China invaded your country?
China, as our Eastern neighbour, has had relations with Tibet for almost 2000 years. In the early days, Tibet was a very powerful nation. Many times it invaded certain parts of China. Then, when Tibet became weak, the Chinese became stronger, and position was reversed. In the spiritual field, we had stronger ties. During the period that the Mongols were emperors of China, the spiritual relations were genuine. During the Manchu dynasy, again there were spiritual ties. On one occasion, the Manchu emperor genuinely wanted to receive the Dalai Lama as a high lama. But some Chinese advised the emperor not to receive him. This shows that despite some genuine spiritual feelings, there was some kind of political thinking or chauvinism. In the Chinese records, they have deliberately tried to achieve more influence. Because of this, they regard Tibet as a subject of their emperor.

The Tibetan records are different. In certain Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, there is a mention of some very important sacred places in the world. In the south, we believe there is a special place of Avalokiteshvara. In the east, there is a place of Manjushri. There is a belief that the emperor in that place is the reincarnation of Manjushri, who showed respect to Buddhism. The Tibetans had respect for the Chinese emperor. The reason was spiritual. But there was another reason that was sad and unfortunate. Whenever a small nation experiences internal fighting one side always tries to get support from a bigger neighbour. Thus, due to internal fighting in Tibet, one Tibetan side tried to get support from the Chinese emperor.

During the Vth Dalai Lama’s time, I think it was quite evident that we were a separate sovereign nation with no problems. The VIth Dalai Lama was spiritually pre-eminent, but politically he was weak and disinterested. He could not follow the Vth Dalai Lama’s path. This was a great failure. So, then the Chinese influence increased. During, this time the Tibetans showed quite a deal of respect to the Chinese. But even during this time Tibetans never regarded Tibet as a part of China. All the documents were very clear that China, Mongolia and Tibet were all separate countries. Because, the Chinese emperor was powerful and influential, these small nations accepted Chinese power or influence. You cannot use the previous intention as evidence that Tibet belongs to China. In the Tibetan mind regardless of who was in power, weather it was the Manchus, the Mongols or the Chinese the east of Tibet was easily referred to as China. In the Tibetan mind, India and China were treated the same. Two separate countries.

There is another important reason. I am not criticising them, but, if you look at the history of Chinese, they are always expanding. That is their nature. Before the Chinese Communists took power, during the Kuomintang time, it seems that the Kuomintang on some occasions were to invade Tibet, but they did not succeed. When the Chinese Communists came to power the whole of China was united, and thus then had enough power to invade Tibet. If you look objectively, there is clear sign that the two are separate countries. In the Chinese’ case, they had a very belief that the whole working class of the worlds should unite and destroy the imperialist or Capitalist. Therefor, when the Chinese reached Lhasa, one Chinese general explained that the liberation of Tibet was not only for the Tibetans but for the neighbouing nations as well. They also believed in the power of the gun. So Tibet was strategically important to them. I think that these are the reasons.

In your opinion what are the most important interests of the Chinese in Tibet? — economic, strategic or both?
* think both. Militarily, Tibet is an important place; it is strategically important, also economically. Although the Chinese proudly say that they spend a large amount of money in Tibet in order to develop it, you can look at it from the other side. There are many places where there are different kinds of minerals and it is obvious that the large areas of forest and their timber have been destroyed. I think there is a large interest in the mineral resources found in Tibet. In some cases, the Chinese keep their findings secret.

The Chinese say that they liberated Tibet from slavery and feudalism. Is that the truth?
The old Tibet was backward in its technological and social systems. Nobody denies this. If, however, you look at the faces of those Tibetans who were born and grew up in that society, you can easily notice their genuine smile. When compared with other communities, the Tibetans were generally quite peaceful and warm-hearted. If they were really as cruel as the Chinese claim, then I think the people who were born and grew up under those circumstances would be different. The people living at the time were happier and calmer than the people in this new generation. At that time, unfortunately, there were people who were used by the landlords. Now the whole nation has become a slave. That is the main point isn’t it? (laughter) The Chinese have come up with some very silly reasons, like saying that the majority of Tibetan people were suffering from syphilis, so they came to liberate them. That is one of their reason (laughter)

What do you feel about the atrocities committed by the Chinese people against the Tibetans?
It is very sad. Ultimately, the Chinese themselves have lost a great deal. If the Chinese follow a more positive, constructive path, rather than the negative, destructive path that they have been following for the last 40 years, things would be different. What the Chinese have created is mutual misery. We Tibetans suffer a great deal and face misery under the Chinese. At the same time, the Chinese themselves find it very difficult to stay there (in Tibet).

Does the fate of Tibet have in itself a message to the world?
I think since the tragedy of Tibet in 1959, many Tibetan Buddhist practitioners and lamas have escaped from Tibet, and as a result we have a new opportunity to have closer contacts with faiths such as Christianity, Judaism and of course different Indian religions. Through this contact, we have a good opportunity to learn different traditions. In similar way, they have new ideas and new experiences from our religion. So there is mutual benefit. Also as Buddhists, we consider it very important to study the facts and realities. Buddha himself said that it is important to investigate and experiment rather than to accept without reason. That is the basic Buddhist attitude. Therefore, in recent years, we have had a closer relations with scientists in different fields. In certain fields of study, there are certain relations between the two. Discussion brings mutual benefits. That is the benefit of becoming a refugee.

Would you agree that the resettlement of a large number of Chinese in Tibet is China’s ‘final solution’ for your country?
I seems like it. For the last forty years, they have adopted various methods. In the 1950s, they used a certain method. Then in the 60s and 70s they adopted a very cruel and harsh method. Yet despite all these methods, they cannot buy the Tibetan mind or heart. The Tibetans still remain Tibetans. The Chinese want to have some kind of genuine loyalty from the Tibetans, but that has never happened. I think their last alternative is to make the Tibetan people a minority in their own homeland, and thus, the Tibetan voice would be ineffective.

Is forced sterilisation of Tibetan women and men a part of China’s genocide in Tibet?
At one time, this was quite obviously happening. Recently, documents on birth control policy stated that it was carried out only on the Chinese not on the minorities. In reality, the same thing is happening to the minorities — the one child one family policy. In one way, the Chinese say that the Tibetans need a larger population and more manpower to develop Tibet economically. At the same time, the Chinese implement birth control for the Tibetans. This also is a clear indication that they want to bring more Chinese into Tibet. There have also been some incidents where sterilisation or abortion had been forced, but we don’t have clear evidence.

In the event that the China is allowed to complete its ‘final solution’ in Tibet, what do you see for the future of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism? Will what is perhaps the most spiritually advanced civilisation i on earth disappear completely?
Oh yes, probably only what is found in the books will remain. That is the real danger. Once Tibet as a nation completely disappears or become insignificant then the Tibetan culture, the people and the Buddhism that we practice will be in great danger, even though there are more than 500 centres in the world to teach Tibetan Buddhism. If the Tibetan nation completely disappears, I really don’t know how much we can preserve. It is a danger for one of the important Dharmas. If Tibet remains as Tibet, including the Tibetan culture and the Buddha Dharma, it eventually may help the Chinese nation in the spiritual field. The Chinese destroyed their old structure and philosophy, yet they failed to introduce anything new. Marxism has its good points and yet it still does not have the full answer for human life and problems. So definitely, the Chinese community needs another different ideology or philosophy. Buddhism could perhaps become an important contribution to the Chinese mind, There is no doubt about it.

If you go to China for a visit, what would you discuss?
That is the key point (laughter). My stand until now is that I want to make clear that Tibet is a separate country from China. But the future is open and there are three different options. Regarding options, there is still a lot to be worked out, so I do not feel that I should reveal too much at this moment. At the moment, my position is that I do not want to break my links with the Chinese Government, at the same time I cannot discuss certain things that may discourage the Tibetan will and determination. I am thinking that eventually some sort of referendum among the Tibetans should be carried out. Then try to get some suggestions and thoughts of what the Tibetans really feel. I also want to get as many views of the Tibetans inside Tibet. At the same time, I do not want people to blindly follow my choice. I want people’s real feelings. I do not want to be imposing my will on the people. In 1963, I made a draft Constitution and made it clear that the power of the Dalai Lama can be changed with a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly. So now, I really want to listen to the people’s ideas. I prefer to make a number of options which I feel are possible, and to present them to the Tibetan people and listen to their wishes. It is my responsibility for the possibilities and the difficulties. This is my plan. In the near future, I think things will become clearer.

In the case that half the Tibetan people want independence and the other half do not want independence, then what would you say?
I think more discussions will be useful. I think the majority of the Tibetans want complete independence, maybe about 90%. But then we have to think of the reality . Sometimes, though you want something, in reality it may not be practical. So we will see. If it is fifty, then I think a more thorough discussion will needful.

What is a possible solution?
I think more discussions will be useful. The Tibetan people want complete independence, but the Chinese will never accept that. As the free spokesman, I have every right to make suggestions. My idea is that it is worthwhile to find some middle way. One important aspect being equal rights.

How quickly do you think you can move in some positive way?
I think we might soon finalise some more detailed proposals and then we will see. I am not sure.