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Diplomacy 101
Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 07, 2008

A little case study in why it is very often easy to criticize if one ignores the bigger picture and refuses to understand that in the world of diplomacy, everything is connected (and remembered). This doesn't mean I agree with the goal in this particular case, but this is instructive.
President Bush said Sunday he does not feel the need to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics to state his opposition to China's human rights record. Skipping the event would be an "affront" to the Chinese people, he said.
There a many who would say, "hey, it's about time we began doing exactly that to some of the countries out there who have human rights records like China's."

However, in the world of diplomacy, that's not really as useful a stance as some might like it to be. Many of the people who are hollering about skipping the game's opening ceremony are probably the same people who want to see this happen:
At the summit, presidents and prime ministers hope for a deal that would set targets for reducing the pollution that causes global warming. But few analysts expect major headway or concessions from Bush. He insists on holding China and India, fast-growing economies and among the world's biggest polluters, to the same emission-reduction standards as older, developed economies.

Bush said that he hopes to get China and India to agree to a long-term goal to cut emissions.
Anyone - although a deal is unlikely, which scenario sets the table for talks about emission reductions in China, no matter how improbable, and which scenario ensures no talks at all on the subject?

You may not like it, but that's how diplomacy is conducted in the real world. Pretending these things can be done in isolation is simply naive as well as being self-defeating. We dis China at the Olympics, China tells us to pack sand in emissions reductions talks, or anything else we want to negotiate with that country.

Like I say, I don't buy into the whole CO2 emissions theory of global warming, but this is a convenient example of the sometimes unfortunate concessions necessary if one wants to achieve other more important goals through diplomacy.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

It’s the mentality of the "free tibet" crowd.

They don’t understand that short of a war (which they would never, ever support ever never under any circumstances) it won’t happen. Wanting it to happen isn’t nearly enough.
Written By: shark
URL: http://
If you wanted to make a point, then the proper time would have been before China was awarded the games. They haven’t changed since in the last couple years, they’re just acting the way commie dictators always act.

snark, to quote that eminent philosopher, Mr. Freeze, egg-friggin-zactly.
Written By: Veeshir
URL: http://
From various reports of China, there are plenty of emissions, that have virtually nothing to do with believe or disbelieve of AGW, that need to be reduced.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
So....if they won’t kowtow to the GW emissions standards reductions, and that’s what it means to boycott...I’m suddenly in FAVOR of boycott.

The more felled timber and rubble in the road between us and global warming hysteria treaties, the better.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Your argument also assumes that anything useful would come out of a hypothetical emissions treaty that included China. I am skeptical that they would subscribe to any such agreement, and even more skeptical that they would actually perform their obligations under such an agreement. Heck, it’s in their own self interest to reduce pollution and emissions, even you confine the matter to the effects of pollution on China itself, and leave out global warming altogether. But they don’t for reasons that range through short term self interest through long range complications of corruption and internal politics.
Given that, boycotting the Olympics would simply provide them with a convenient excuse to avoid facing the emissions problem.
Written By: kishnevi
My thinking is if they don’t sign it, we make them the goat.
Otherwise if they sign, and we fail to live up to any part of our end, regardless of what they do...we’re screwed because the hand-wringers will point at us and blame US for their failure to comply
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Your argument also assumes that anything useful would come out of a hypothetical emissions treaty that included China.
My argument assumes no such thing. My argument, in full, is that you can’t act in a vacuum when engaging in diplomacy. If you want something from a country at a future negotiation, the way to ensure not even having a chance at getting it is to do something like not attending the opening ceremonies for the Olympic games in their country.
Written By: McQ
Come on now, shark, we all know that Afghanistan was freed because Jimmy Carter boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://

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