But about a week ago, peaceful protests by Tibetans became violent riots in the country when China tried to crack down on them. In an effort to re-establish control, the Chinese have now issued "shoot-to-kill" orders to their troops.
The situation in Tibet is not good. Now some are even saying the United States should boycott the summer Olympics, which are to be held in China this year. The boycott would be to protest the Chinese actions in Tibet.
I think this would be a mistake. The United States tried this kind of protest before. We boycotted the 1980 Olympics held in Moscow. The only thing that boycott accomplished was to deny our athletes an opportunity they had been working toward for four years.
We should not repeat this mistake. An Olympics only comes around once every four years, and we should not punish our athletes in a futile political gesture. It will be the only time many of them get to compete in such an important venue.
I also think it goes against what the Olympic ideal is supposed to be. It is not supposed to be where nations fight over political differences, but where they come together peacefully to cooperate and compete regardless of the political differences. A boycott would be a violation of that lofty ideal.
I'm also not sure if any other country would follow our lead this time. After eavesdropping on our own citizens, jailing 10% of our male black population and one percent of our total population, continuing our use of capital punishment, torturing of prisoners of war, and starting an unnecessary war and bloody occupation of a country that was no threat to us, I'm not at all sure we have sufficient moral stature to lead such an effort.
I doubt if Bush will take any kind of action. After all, Tibet has no oil. But whatever happens, an Olympic boycott would be a mistake and should not be done under any circumstances.