N. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
Would a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics in February make a difference? Should western politicians stay away because of ongoing human rights violations in China? In EurActiv, an International Olympic Committee member, Dick Pound, let know that there is nothing wrong with China from a sportive perspective. He continued with saying, that the decision to choose Beijing was not made ‘as an indication that we support the political objectives of that country’.
But President Biden already has announced such a diplomatic boycott. Australia, Canada and the UK followed and calls for other countries to join are growing. President Macron decided that France wouldn’t join the boycott. A reminder for Washington that France was not included in the AUKUS (Australia-UK-US) Indo-Pacific defense strategy, designed to counter the growing Chinse power. AUKUS costed France a 100-billion-dollar contract for delivering nuclear submarines to Australia. The order moved to the US and the UK!
Emmanuel Macron indicated that such a boycott would be ‘insignificant and symbolic’. And Germany? The new government in Berlin has so far dodged the question, emphasising the need for an EU position. But it looks like the EU will shun the boycott, the member states are divided and many of them do not like to take the risk of economic consequences. China was clear when it said that countries that boycott the Olympic Games ‘will pay the price for their mistaken acts’.
You could call the EU position a more ‘cautious’ approach! Anyhow, would a diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics make a difference? Not for the participants and the millions of watchers at home.