International politics of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama
Otgonbayar Sarlagtay, Mashbat
Miller, Alice Lyman
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This thesis analyzes Mongolia's strategic options in the event of a Mongol-Chinese confrontation over a clash of interests arising from the potential succession the next Dalai Lama, understood in Mongolia religiously through a process reincarnation. Mongolia would welcome the Dalai Lama's reincarnation in the country since Tibetan Buddhism enjoys the allegiance of many of Mongolia's people and is a part of Mongolia's national identity. Mongolia's democratic government in Ulaanbaatar must therefore respond to its people's religious sentiments. Theoretical considerations regarding the rational behavior of small powers suggest that Mongolia would likely seek to maximize its interest by manipulating the interests of great powers to balance against China. Insight into Ulaanbaatar's dilemma in such a circumstance may be gained from the current cross-Strait politics regarding the Taiwan independence issue, in which voter preferences favor Taiwan's independence and lead it to balance with the United States against China's growing military power. This thesis argues that even though Beijing unlikely to threaten Mongolia with military power since such steps would negatively affect its relation with Moscow and its reputation among the international community, could nevertheless exert pressure on Ulaanbaatar. In such a circumstance, American, Russian, and Indian support for Mongolia would be crucial to countering Beijing.
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