When President Joe Biden’s White House on Monday announced a “diplomatic boycott” of the Beijing Olympic Games, the idea was obviously aimed at letting the world see how tough Biden really can be.
What the world saw instead was how little the host country cared as China’s Foreign Ministry mocked the move as “wishful thinking and pure grandstanding.”
And how Biden has embarrassed his nation yet again.
The announcement about China was made with suitable gravity by White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who aimed for the moral high ground while representing a president whose own family members are already tarred with suspicions about using Biden’s previous office of vice president to enrich both him and themselves internationally — very much including businesses in China.
“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRC’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” Psaki declared, according to The Associated Press.
While any suggestion of a moral backbone in the current White House is welcome (if ultimately illusory) the boycott really isn’t fooling anyone.
It won’t keep American athletes from participating in the Games, the second in this century to be staged in the Chinese communist dictatorship.
It will only keep representatives of the American government from attending, which means approximately nothing.
In fact, judging by the statements made at a Monday news conference by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, it means less than that.
“U.S. politicians keep hyping a ‘diplomatic boycott’ without even being invited to the Games,” he said, according to a foreign ministry transcript. “This wishful thinking and pure grandstanding is aimed at political manipulation.”
That’s biting, but it’s at least somewhat civil.
Other major mouthpieces for the Chinese Communist Party were openly offensive.
As Breitbart noted, Hu Xi, editor of the Chinese state-run Global Times used a Twitter post to mock the Biden administration as “narcissistic,” “picky and pretentious,” and stated, “You are the people Beijing residents least want to see.”
In another post, he accused the Biden White House of arrogance.
With the premise that Washington was not invited to the Winter Olympics, it has made a big deal announcing it will not send a government delegation to the Games. They are so arrogant that one day they could ask for an appearance fee to go to public restrooms in foreign cities. pic.twitter.com/vAKn5jJrMe
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) December 7, 2021
No decent American can take pleasure in the mockery of the United States president by a foreign rival — especially a rival as belligerent and dangerous as the Beijing regime.
Even more than Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping has been clear about establishing his country as a rival to the United States on the global stage. The U.S. needs a firm response to Xi more than anything else, but it’s not going to get it from the Biden White House and its self-induced handicaps in foreign policy (see the humiliation of Afghanistan, for example, being forced to beg OPEC for more oil production or lower prices, the international embarrassment of the porous southern border).
The Biden administration’s policy on China has been compromised since its beginning — remember the president referring to China’s genocide against its Uyghur Muslim minority as simply being a question of different “norms”? (And this isn’t metaphorical genocide — this is concentration camps, forced labor and forced sterilization, populations disappearing. By all accounts, this is the real thing.)
Things have not improved on the diplomatic front since, with Beijing representatives humiliating Secretary of State Antony Blinken on American soil during a meeting in March.
The Chinese military has mounted an increasingly bellicose stance toward Taiwan, a county with a longstanding economic and military friendship with the U.S.
And, of course, the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 5 million worldwide and more than 800,000 in the U.S. is virtually certain to have arisen in Wuhan, China, either through incompetence or malice.
This is only a handful of reasons the Biden administration should be taking a tougher line with Beijing, including refusing to participate at all in the farce of an Olympics Games being hosted by what is likely the most dangerous regime on earth when it comes to threats to world peace.
In Congress, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton called the “diplomatic boycott” a “half measure” that would have little effect, according to the AP. He alluded to the case of star tennis player Peng Shuai, who dropped from public view after accusing a high-ranking Chinese government official of rape.
“The United States should fully boycott the Genocide Games in Beijing,” Cotton said. “American businesses should not financially support the Chinese Communist Party and we must not expose Team USA to the dangers of a repugnant authoritarian regime that disappears its own athletes.”
It’s worth pointing out that the Women’s Tennis Association, which runs the women’s tour competitions worldwide, is mounting a full boycott of China, as CBS News reported last week. So a sports association is taking the treatment of one player more seriously than the Biden administration apparently considers genocide of an entire population — not to mention international aggression.
Obviously, there are many factors to take into account when talking about an Olympic boycott — athletes who have trained all their lives to reach the pinnacle of their sport primarily, but also international prestige as well as international relations. It’s not a move to be taken lightly.
But what the Biden administration has done with this “diplomatic boycott” has been the worst of both worlds. It’s a toothless, ineffectual protest that’s helping no one, fooling no one and impressing no one — least of all the allegedly intended targets in power in Beijing.
What it has done is open the Biden administration to mockery from its biggest international rival — that will be heard around the globe.
And it opened, once again, the United States to embarrassment at an inept president’s hands.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.