Monday, March 31, 2008

Nan gets it partly right

From ABC News:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not want the U.S. to boycott the Beijing Olympics, but she says that President George W. Bush should consider skipping the opening ceremony.

"I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table," Pelosi, D-Calif., told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview airing Tuesday. "I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will not attend the Olympic Games, set to begin on August 8, 2008. Pelosi, meanwhile, has been outspoken in support of Tibet, the site of recent crackdowns on human rights demonstrators by the Chinese government.

In a recent trip to Dharmasala, India, home of the Dalai Lama's displaced Tibetan government, Pelosi said, "If freedom-loving people don't speak out against China's oppression of people in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out against any oppressed people."

In her interview with GMA, the speaker continued to denounce China's rule over Tibet and expressed regret that the communist nation would play host to the summer games.

Ms. Pelosi's moral outrage at China would have more credibility if she had not opposed the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Hussein treated the people of Iraq worse than the Chinese are treating the people of Tibet.

However despite San Fran Nan's hypocrisy I am in partial agreement with her. However I believe that the US should completely boycott the Chinese Olympics. The decision to boycott the Moscow Olympics was almost the only thing I agreed with Jimmy Carter on during his entire presidency.

Much was said then, and will be said today, about how the games are not political and are in fact a chance to put aside politics and celebrate international sporting competition. It will be noted that in ancient Greece wars would be put on hold in order for the nations to send their athletes to compete in the games.

However it should also be noted that in ancient Greece the competitions in the games were all of a martial nature. Either the ability to engage in hand to hand combat, use weapons or run (a military skill - see Marathon, Battle of). Nations found it worthwhile to support the games in order to show off their warrior's skill and gage the ability of current or potential enemies.

In the modern era they do not serve that purpose but instead showcase international cooperation and goodwill. To serve that end only nations which earn the goodwill of the world community by embodying the principals of democracy, free market economics and adherence to individual rights should be allowed to participate.

In other words the Olympics should be reserved for the world's civilized peoples. Red China, North Korea, Cuba and Iran need not apply.