In 1936, the summer Olympic Games were held in Berlin. Some Jewish groups protested, but most Americans were impressed by Germany’s recovery from the depression in the early part of the decade. Industry was humming, the people seemed happy and carefree.
What they didn’t see were the concentration camps already filling up with Jews and other “undesirables” that eventually led to 6 million deaths. So the Olympics were held and were very successful.
In China, their genocide isn’t hidden. One of the last acts of the Trump administration was to declare Beijing’s oppression of the more than 1 million Uighur Muslims a “genocide.” It’s one of the few acts by Trump that Joe Biden isn’t trying to roll back.
There’s also the matter of the criminal coverup of their role in starting the coronavirus pandemic; the suppression of the formerly free island of Hong Kong; the ongoing oppression of Tibetans; and the brutal subjugation of their own people.
But let’s reward the Chinese with a couple of billion dollars of hard currency for putting on the Olympics, right?
Republicans disagree among themselves on what the best course of action would be.
While there’s broad consensus on the left and right that Beijing’s authoritarian vision, military build up, and economic prowess poses a geopolitical threat to Western democracy, there’s less of a consensus on exactly what tactics are best to counter that challenge — even among Republicans, who have broadly taken up a tough-on-China mantle ahead of the 2024 presidential primaries.
A boycott would be “a serious mistake,” potential 2024 contender Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a brief interview with POLITICO, citing what he described as former President Jimmy Carter’s “blunder” in boycotting the 1980 Olympics hosted by the Soviet Union. “I don’t think we should be punishing athletes who have spent their entire lives training. We should go to Beijing, compete, and win.”
How about lobbying the International Olympic Committee to change the venue? Aside from the futility of trying to get that corrupt bunch of septuagenarian kleptocrats to act in a moral fashion, the suggestion is impractical. There’s just not enough time before the games are scheduled to begin in February 2022.
So is boycott the only moral option?
“We must boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China,” former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley wrote on Twitter. “It would be a terrible loss for our athletes, but that must be weighed against the genocide occurring in China and the prospect that empowering China will lead to even greater horrors down the road.”
Mike Pompeo was even more outspoken.
“In the end, we cannot allow American athletes to travel to Beijing and reward the Chinese Communist Party all the while that they (are) doing all of the nasty activity that they’re engaged in,” Pompeo told conservative media host Hugh Hewitt.
The Biden administration has been non-committal on a boycott and says they are talking to other nations. Indeed, it would be futile if the U.S. acted alone. But Biden wouldn’t seriously contemplate keeping our kids home unless most of the rest of the world agrees.
It might help if some of those woke clothing companies that buy their cotton from China would join in a boycott. But they’re too busy moralizing about American racism to pay much attention to a little thing like genocide.
If the world could celebrate holding the Olympic games in Berlin in 1936, there’s no reason to expect nations to keep their athletes home for the 2022 games in China.