Boycotting The Summer Olympic Games In China

I for one was very pleased to see the protests taking place in Paris, London, and now San Francisco over the human rights abuses and dreadful foreign policy decisions by China.  At a time when too many here think of Iraq and the Middle East when the extremely broad topic of foreign policy is mentioned, it is important that Chinese policies be brought to the center of our global awareness.

I have long argued that the decision by President Nixon to go to China was more important than the Watergate affair.  As deeply damaging as Watergate was to the political culture in our nation, the fact is the positive effects of Nixon’s famous China trip are more important.  The long lasting impact of opening lines of dialogue and trade has benefited both our nations, and fostered connections that will serve all in the future.  If we do what is right.

By having international connections with China does not mean there are not serious differences that will require honest debate and action.  We should not be blind to the fact that every nation that we consider to be a rouge state has the support of China.  China policy to these nations comes in various forms, be it militarily or economic.  Iran is but perhaps the most central example to many who follow the headlines.  But the issues that arise from Chinese policies in places like Tibet and Darfur, and which do not see the banner headlines everyday, are worthy of the reaction that has been seen over the Olympic Games to be held this summer in China.

The ability of leveraging China to move in a more humane direction is one of the benefits of having diplomatic relations with the most populous nation in the world.  We should not, and must not abdicate our role on the world stage.  There is an old saying that “the road to the East runs through the West.”    If the United States uses the clout we now have on the world stage, and in conjunction with our European allies, we can set again a tone and series of expectations about Chinese foreign policy.   There are rules that govern civilized nations, and the world community.

We have the ability to do this, since our primacy on the world stage is not in doubt today.  But with China growing in economic and military power, that chance will not be forever ours to take.  By banding together with leaders such as Prime Minister Brown, and French President Szarkozy we have an opportunity to make a statement about what we think is most important in the world.  As China rises as a world power it does so at a time when open and democratic nations rule the world.  To not coerce China to play by the international rules will set up a world struggle that we will soon regret. 

We have an opportunity with the Olympic Games.  The protestors have opened the door.  Will the United States be willing to lead the world through the door?

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5 thoughts on “Boycotting The Summer Olympic Games In China

  1. If anyone believes that boycotting the Olympic games is going to make China change they are as naive as they come. A boycott will not damage China, they will still be doing billions of dollars in trade around the world. They are still go to mfg all of their products for Walmart, even the company I work for won’t change how they do business there.

    A boycott will only hurt the athletes, and that is what is wrong with any type of boycott.

  2. Marion

    Although I believe China should be brought to heel with their human right violations, I believe it wrong to take it out on the Olympic games. There is a time to express outrage at human rights violations and such but it is not at the expense of these good will games. Kids of all nations go in peace to these gatherings and it is a show of universal good will not to be injected with politics which is a nasty byproduct of our society as a whole.
    Like religion and state, the Olympics and politics should never be combined but should remain separate.
    Fostering good well through this sporting event should not be a stepping stone to get on a political stage to protest Tibet, Darfur, or any other human rights violation. Wrong as these human atrocities are, the Olympics is not the place to do this to the hard working athletes who come in peace.

  3. I had thought that my remarks in this post would be seen as reflecting the international debate on this matter, and therefore meant only that the opening ceremonies should be boycotted. That is what some world leaders are urging, and China is fearing. I did not urge the athletes to not attend.

  4. lactatingbookworm

    A leader from the Free Tibet movement here in Australia suggested that the athletes leave their medals in Beijing. I can’t see that happening.

  5. yao

    I’m pro complete boycott of the 2008 OG. China should never have had the OG. It is not a democratic contry. It is a Maoist system working for its own good. In their mind, people right is not even existing. Their goals are trillions kilometers away from the Olympic spirit. The Chineese government is just trying to polish its image.
    Demonstrations around the world are good. It revealed the true face of china. We see Mao’s picture rising again. We see manipulated protesters exactly as in the Cultural Revolution period.
    Lets boycott the games for good as in Moscow. I’m not so naive to believe such boycott will ever happen at government or athlete levels. The only power I have is not to watch the games.

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