Republican Congressmen Craig Smith (New Jersey) and Frank Wolf (Virginia) today called on President Bush to skip the Beijing Olympics because of the country’s poor human rights record. That comes after the duo was snubbed by China’s Government, which prevented dissidents from meeting with them during a trip to Beijing.
Staying home, however, would be the right thing for President Bush to do. He could frame his decision to boycott the Games as part of his overall “freedom agenda.” It would be a big chunk of the President’s legacy, remembered the same way as Nixon going to China. Nixon going to China is as important to Nixon’s legacy as Watergate. Boycotting China could help Bush on Iraq.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will decide next week about whether to attend the opening ceremony of the Games. His decision will be based on progress made during this week’s talks between Chinese Government officials and the Dalai Lama. With all due respect to Sarko, who cares? The Frenchman just doesn’t have the same PR juice as Bush. A Bush boycott would be a game-changer.
Officials say the 20,000 people who have been dragooned into scooping out the mess will have everything spiffy by the time the Olympians hit the water. What if they don’t get the job done? Imagine the fun the international media will have filming the world’s fastest boats stuck in the muck. Would China dare ban the international media from filming boats going nowhere? That would be a risky move.
One wonders what is next for the embattled Games. How about a plague of locusts?