Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Tibetan Protests: Beijing, Blood, and Money

The protests both in Tibet and abroad against China’s repression of Tibetan culture and the demands for greater autonomy for the region will probably not succeed but on another level the protests have served a useful and educational purpose: they have effectively re-exposed the brutal (indeed savage) policies against dissent that the Chinese government has enforced since June 1989.

The protests also have exposed what, in my opinion, has been one of the most shameful episodes in the history of American foreign policy: the policy of appeasement that the Bush-Clinton-Bush administrations have maintained with the Chinese government since the massacre in Tianamen Square in Beijing in 1989.

There is no better word to describe our tepid and ineffectual policies in reigning in the growing assertiveness of the Chinese in world affairs. That assertiveness has gone a long way in undermining our influence in the world and will pose an even greater threat to American security than Al-Qaeda or Iran poses at the present time.

Indeed if anything affirms our nation’s appeasement policies it has been the relative silence of the Bush Administration in the wake of China’s crackdown of the Tibetan protesters and the willingness of the Bush Administration to participate in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The Beijing Olympiad will, I feel, be seen as the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and the 1980 Olympics in Moscow were in the history of the Olympic games: a deliberate attempt by a brutal, sadistic regime to use the Olympic games as a means of gaining legitimacy while cloaking its repression of its citizenry amidst the pageantry and pomp of the Olympic games.

The protests in Tibet will not stop the Beijing Olympiad nor will it dissuade the U.S. from attending. The only time the U.S. boycotted an Olympiad was in 1980 in protest of the Soviet Union’s 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. Since then, the takeover of the U.S. Olympic program by the corporations makes the possibility of a boycott remote if not impossible. (The only way America would boycott another Olympiad would be if World War Three broke out). There is too much profit potential to be gained from participating in the Olympics. The lust for money has outweighed whatever moral integrity our government may have possessed before 1989. Since then China’s increasing role in the American economy has reduced us to a form of fiscal vassalage.

The Beijing Olympics will take place despite the Tibetan protests and the corporations will rake in their billions but remember this, ladies and gentlemen, the billions they make will be tainted with the blood of countless innocent people slain since 1989.

And that’s the real bottom line of the Beijing Olympics.

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