Why the US won't boycott the Olympics

PHOTO: Beijing Olympics 2008 protester in London

My theory on why the U.S. won’t boycott the Olympics: You don’t piss of your banker.

As I wrote in a previous post about U.S. debt to China, it’s not unreasonable to think we owe the Chinese about $1.5 trillion. I wrote then that “As our biggest investors, we will have to afford the Chinese government their due influence.” In this case, that means playing along at the Olympics no matter how bad things get in Tibet. (For background on the situation in Tibet that’s causing the Olympics protest hubbub, check out this BBC Q&A)

Matt Dupuis at Foreign Policy Watch has an interesting viewpoint along the same lines:

A related point is the profound impact that a rupture in Sino-American relations would have on stability, both in the East Asia and Pacific Rim region and the evolving international order. Boycotting the Olympics would deliver just that, and severely disrupt the emerging model of cooperation between Beijing and Washington and do undue damage to the relationship. Every thing from moderating climate change, persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, keeping peace in the Taiwan Straits, and countless economic interests would immediately be put at risk. The tradeoff – supposedly gaining the moral high ground against Beijing – is not very high considering the costs.

Finally, it is more than likely there would only be a handful of nations joining in on the protest, leaving Washington merely isolating itself.

Then, there is also the little issue of hypocrisy. It’s just a tad bit dubious for the torture regime in Washington to lecture anyone about human rights abuses.

Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if we hadn’t institutionalized torture and sold our souls to a repressive regime in Beijing?

For more information, check out Jordan’s roundup of Olympic protest links from Wednesday.

Flickr photo by matahari_lu


The correct order for Friday’s post was: Obama the America hater vs. Clinton the cold-calculating b*tch vs. McCain the All-American hero.

One Comment

  1. Ian

    You are right in why we won’t boycott the Olympics (and we shouldn’t anyways). Regardless, China wouldn’t change anything even if we did so all we would be doing would be meaningless posturing. Also, Tibet isn’t 100% innocent. Not that what China has been doing is anywhere near right, but it isn’t like the protesters in Tibet are being peaceful. I can’t find it right now, but I have read stories of Tibetan protesters attacking Chinese civilians in the area. Its hard to find unbiased journalism about it. It is all so completely anti-China.