In light of what the Chinese government has been doing in Tibet as of late, there has been increased murmuring about a possible boycott of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in China. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) should have known better than to award these Olympic Games to an evil, totalitarian country like China. The crackdown currently going on Tibet serves to remind the IOC of that fact.
However, as much as I dislike China's policies regarding Tibet, regarding forced abortions and infanticides, harvesting the organs of executed political prisoners, and a myriad of other issues, I do not support a boycott of the Olympic Games in any way, shape, or form. A boycott has happened in two other Olympics - it accomplished nothing, and it was hypocritical to boot.
The United States and its allies (sans Great Britain) sat out the 1980 Moscow Olympics in order to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Did it get the Soviets out of Afghanistan? No, they didn't leave until 1988. Then, four years later, the Soviets and their allies (sans Romania) boycotted the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Did that do any good either? No. In both cases, government officials, diplomats, and the average Joe didn't experience a lick of difference in their lives. Amateur atheletes on the other hand - athletes who dedicated their lives to sport and only had so many chances to make it to the Games - were devastated.
Boycotting an Olympics is hypocritical because that is the only thing that is boycotted; other relations with the country in question go on. Let's say the United States did boycott the Games in Beijing: would we stop trading with China? If what China is currently doing is bad enough for its Olympics to be boycotted, then it is only right that we should stop buying their goods as well. Boycotting an Olympics is an empty gesture that only hurts the athletes and the viewers who have both spent the last four years awaiting the world's best competition.
The interesting part about this state of affairs is that when the Olympics were going on over 2,000 years ago in Greece, wars were actually postponed or suspended while the Olympics were under way. Once the games ended, the war started back up again. Compare that to the modern Olympics when they were canceled in 1916, 1940, and 1944 due to the two World Wars. If a war couldn't stop the ancient Olympic Games, then a disagreement with a host country's policies shouldn't either. In the future, the IOC should circumvent the issue by only awarding the Olympics to countries that have a proven track record as one that does its best to champion human rights, not violate them.
Good Day to You, Sir