Ben Buchwalter


Dalai Lama: Non-Violence a Weak Weapon Against Terrorism
January 25, 2009, 9:09 am
Filed under: Foreign Affairs | Tags: , , ,

Delivering the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture in India this week, the Dalai Lama, the world’s symbol of non-violence in the face of oppression, declared that the practice is an ineffective tool against global terror. “It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence… [because] a strong ill feeling is bred in them. Their minds are closed.”

Though I have enormous respect for the Dalai Lama, I think that this quote misses the point. It focuses too much on the effect of violence (or non-violence) and how it directly impacts military targets, terrorists and the organizational structure of terrorist groups.

He’s right, if the United States stopped using military force to combat terrorism, terrorist organizations would not dissolve. But by continuing the war on terror and accepting the frequent civilian deaths as collateral damage, the violent method of opposing terrorism makes the enemy stronger by improving their image in international opinion and increasing their recruiting potential.

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