I want to say something really scathing about people not being serious about budgets and spending, about the future, about anything, but I just can’t get it out right now.
By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008 4:20 PM PT
Geopolitics: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner mulled a boycott of China’s Olympic ceremonies to protest its crackdown in Tibet. It may or may not work, but he’s right to tell Beijing that repression doesn’t pay.
Read More: East Asia & Pacific
Just four months before the Olympic torch is lit in Beijing, China sent in goon squads to break heads and shoot dissidents as frustrations boiled over in Tibet. Web sites were censored, and anyone reporting the news was kicked out of Lhasa.But photos of China’s atrocities got out anyway, and Tibetans say that 80 people have been killed. As the global Olympic games begin in August, this won’t be far from anyone’s mind.
So much for the ancient Olympic tradition of truce during the games. Or Beijing’s promise to the International Olympic Committee that the media would have full access to the country.
But more to the point, why would anyone from a civilized country want to be associated with a murderous regime putting on an empty show while acting as an oppressor?
The Tibet actions are a reminder that China is still little more than a nasty feudal state with Marxist and state capitalist overlays. Amid the glass skyscrapers and new technology, the ugly truth about its oppression is real — as is the prospect of the unrest spreading across the country.
Boycotting the Olympics entirely is one response. But having tasted that approach during the Jimmy Carter administration, it’s not a good one. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Carter’s 1980 boycott penalized American athletes, instead of confronting a major strategic challenge. It didn’t accomplish a thing.
But Kouchner’s “interesting” idea for the European Union to boycott only the Olympic opening ceremonies could be a better option. Although he has now backtracked on the idea, apparently in response to economic pressure from Beijing, it still has merit because it deftly takes aim at Beijing’s effort to create a good image of itself — leaving China room to change some of its behavior.
Olympic opening ceremonies are prestige events for the host country. Boycotting one — or perhaps the audience turning its back or waving Tibet flags when communist officials speak — has the potential to knock the Chinese over with a feather.
It may be the only proportionate way to send a message to China that barbarism shoved defiantly in the world’s face merits no applause. Unless China moves soon to lighten its oppressive hand at home, it needs to feel the global sting of losing face.