October 17, 2007

The Human Rights Violations Of Today Seem Less Compelling

As the enthusiasm wanes for alienating a key ally in the war on terror, Congress seems much less interested in tweaking a nation for its current abuses of human rights and support of genocidal regimes. A proposal to boycott the China Olympics this year has attracted almost no support, nor has any other proposal condemning China for its support of Sudan's genocidal government or its repression of Tibet:

While Congress seems willing to pick a fight with Turkey over the World War I-era killing of Armenians, members have been much more cautious about confronting China over next year’s Olympics in Beijing.

Three House bills urging a boycott of the Olympics because of various human rights and foreign policy concerns regarding China were introduced in August, but so far the measures have struggled to find support.

“They think it punishes the athletes rather than the people you want to punish,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who is the lone sponsor of legislation calling for a boycott of the Beijing games in response to China’s support for a Sudanese government accused of genocide.

Three House resolutions urging a boycott so far have gained a total of only five additional co-sponsors since their introduction in August, and Democrats in particular have been wary of throwing their support behind the measures.

“I would have thought that Democrats would be much more supportive than they have been,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), whose resolution criticizes China’s support of the military dictatorship in Burma and its treatment of the Tibetan minority in addition to its Sudan policy.

First, let's note that another Olympic boycott would be a dumb idea. We tried that when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and it didn't remove a single Soviet soldier. Instead, it made us look weak, petulant, and completely ineffective. The Soviets made the same mistake when they boycotted our Los Angeles Olympics four years later, and the only people who suffered were the athletes.

Still, this points out a rather large level of hypocrisy in this Congress. While they attempt to scold a government over a genocide conducted by a predecessor nation over 90 years ago, Congress seems to have no stomach for scolding China for its human-rights abuses now. China lobbied the Congressional Black Caucus into silence on its Sudan alliance earlier this year. They apparently have done much the same with the rest of the members.

Congress could certainly pass the same kind of resolution they aimed at Turkey for abuses conducted by China's current government. They could highlight religious repression, a lack of free speech, oppression of Tibet, and so on. Unlike their obsession with the Armenian genocide, Congress doesn't seem interested in defining history. If people wonder why that may be, they need to ask themselves whether Tibetan-Americans have enough political clout to determine the outcome of elections in swing districts in California.

Again, the boycott idea should not be tossed aside lightly, but flung with great force, as Dorothy Parker once quipped. Congress should focus on paying its bills and passing a budget rather than act as sports-event schedulers. However, their choice to focus on one past genocide while ignoring the one in motion for finger-wagging is quite revealing.


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Comments (14)

Posted by InfallibleDemocrat | October 17, 2007 8:23 AM

They are probably just waiting for the right time to release a statement condemning China. We all have to remember that the Democrats move at their own pace, and we must remember to have trust in Their wisdom.

Posted by rbj | October 17, 2007 8:37 AM

Cheez. There were some calling for an "Olympics truce" in Iraq & Afghanistan for the last summer & winter games. They claimed it was based on the historical games (but not true) and that the Olympics should not be political. I wonder if any of these are the same people now calling for a boycott.

Posted by John Steele | October 17, 2007 8:45 AM

The Democrats are not interested in condemning China --- China provides way too much money to their candidates.

Posted by rudytbone | October 17, 2007 9:02 AM

I beg to differ. It also hurts the networks that bid extravagant sums of money for the broadcast rights. Without American participation, the ratings will be much lower (mostly in the US), revenue from advertising will be lower and the networks will still have to pay on their bid.

I hate to say I agree with Maxine Waters (HUGE shudder), but I would not mind a principled stand here.

Posted by TomB | October 17, 2007 9:16 AM

The real objective of the Armenian Resolution is simple: to sabotage the war effort, and possibly to destabilize Iraq by alienating one of our key allies in the area. It is intended to be anti Bush, but it is also a deeply treacherous and anti-American action to please the Left. Even if eventually it wouldn’t pass (or would it?), the damage is already done.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 17, 2007 9:40 AM


We better not do a boycott unless we are ready for real war, and not just the ecomonic one going on right now (which the Chinese appear to be winning, by my lights). As I remember, the Japanese looked at our trade boycott (scrap iron and oil), determined that it was an economic warfare tactic against them in an undeclared war, and responded accordingly.

I don't see the current Chinese government as differing much from the Japanese government of the 1930's -- they are building their empire and marking out their economic sphere of influence among the lesser peoples. That sphere reaches now into Latin America, and we have failed to react to it.

I think a trade boycott by the USA would do serious damage to the Chinese economy, and the Chinese would certainly take any such action as tantamount to a declaration of war.

Posted by NoDonkey | October 17, 2007 9:56 AM

If the Democrat Party could get away with what the Chinese Communist Party does, they would do it.

There is no Democrat Politician with an ounce of sense, a pinch of morals or (fortunately), with the spine of a chicken.

If spine transplants were possible, Democrats might be dangerous. As it is, they are just incompetent and corrupt buffoons.

Posted by patrick neid | October 17, 2007 10:10 AM

Don't be messing with Tibet and Darfur. There's a huge bumper sticker crowd that will get really upset if anything would happen to change the status quo.

Posted by David M | October 17, 2007 10:16 AM

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Posted by Jose | October 17, 2007 2:27 PM

The United States is in no position to pick a fight with China, who by the way provide the United States Government with financing to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars regularly.

Posted by rbj | October 17, 2007 2:45 PM

Heck, why not condemn the USSR for the starvation of the Ukrainians in the 1930s. Or the Romans for the deaths at Masada.

Do we really need to go around and condemn this past bad act, or that one, especially when we had nothing to do with it? What gets condemned and what doesn't?

Posted by Jim | October 17, 2007 3:11 PM

So then why should we be boycotting Cuba?

Posted by Artie Curtis | October 18, 2007 9:00 AM

So why does Congressman Rohrbacher think that the Congressional socialist democrat communist party would say anything detrimental about human rights violations to their communist cousins in China?
Besides, if we make China mad, where would we get our lead encased toys and lead filled lipstick?
China's making lots of money off of us and I suspect our politicians are making lots of money off of China.
Just opinion.

Posted by Artie Curtis | October 18, 2007 9:03 AM

"Heck, why not condemn the USSR for the starvation of the Ukrainians in the 1930s. Or the Romans for the deaths at Masada."

Because that would not adversely affect our war effort. It would not cause any breaks in any supply lines to make "W" lose the war.

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