Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Boycott the opening ceremonies, not the games themselves

Captain Ed has picked up on an interesting idea being posited regarding the Olympics in Beijing. Dubbed "Boycott-Lite" by him, the AP reports rumblings of a boycott of the opening ceremonies:

Moves to punish China over its handling of violence in Tibet gained momentum Tuesday, with a novel suggestion for a mini-boycott of the Beijing Olympics by VIPs at the opening ceremony.

Such a protest by world leaders would be a huge slap in the face for China's Communist leadership.

France's outspoken foreign minister, former humanitarian campaigner Bernard Kouchner, said the idea "is interesting."

Kouchner said he wants to discuss it with other foreign ministers from the 27-nation European Union next week. His comments opened a crack in what until now had been solid opposition to a full boycott, a stance that Kouchner said remains the official government position. ...

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said last month that he expects many heads of state - including President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy - to attend the opening ceremony.

Such an opening ceremony boycott presumably would not include the athletes, who under Olympic rules are forbidden from making any kind of protest at events or venues - including the opening ceremony. It's not mandatory that every athlete participate in the opening ceremony.

"We strongly encourage our athletes to participate in opening ceremonies," said U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Darryl Seibel. "It is a tremendous honor to walk into the Olympic Stadium behind the flag of your nation, and to do so in a ceremony honoring and celebrating athletes from around the world."

While it is an honor for athletes to walk into the Games with their flag, this would also send a clear message to the Chinese that what they've done is condemned by the world. Captain Ed notes that the Chinese propaganda machine has gone into overload, and many Chinese do support the government's crackdown in Tibet. But if the countries involved int he Games boycott the opening ceremonies, it does slap China in the face. They couldn't use the ceremonies as a piece of propaganda to wave to the world; a sort of "the world approves this message" sort of statement.

We don't agree with an outright boycott. It didn't work in 1980 when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and it didn't work out too well for the Soviets when they did it in '84. All in all, boycotts of the Olympic games are stupid because you're not necessarily punishing the host country as much as you're punishing the athletes who have worked and trained most of their lives for a shot at winning a gold medal.

We can side with the idea of boycotting the opening ceremonies, and should the EU decide to do it, we hope that the US, Australia, Japan, and other nations participate in the boycott as well. Furthermore, maybe the IOC will learn a lesson in this as well. That the choice for the Olympic venue should be based on more logical conclusions. China has a terrible record on human rights, and should have never been awarded the games. Giving the games to China is akin to letting Iran or North Korea host them.

Publius II


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