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Friday, August 08, 2008

OT: About The 2008 Olympics

I am not watching the 2008 Olympic games out of protest. China is the last true empire, their politics are noxious to what the United States truly stands for, their ambitions are nothing short of horrifying, and I have no desire to help a repeat of the 1936 spectacle along. Pass. And that is all I have to say about that.


I plan on wearing my "Free Tibet" shirt quite often over the next couple of weeks. I share your feelings about this Olympics. Actually, considering that the subjective officiating and judging in Olympic events is so flawed and corrupt these days, they're hardly worth watching for anyone who has any interest in honest competition and fair play.
The Olympics are nothing without the USSR.

The world misses Jim Craig and Mike Eruzione.
I don't disagree with you on the politics of this...

...but god damn, the opening ceremonies were awesome.
I'm not gonna bag on people for watching TV.

But the whole thing makes me Leni Riefenstahl sick.
And I'm sure you buy nothing that is made in China either...

Not saying China is a great country but things are a lot different today. Comparing China to 1936 Germany is flawed.
It's flawed, but neither is it wholly incorrect.
I do love your site. You do a great job. Keep up the good work! :) and buy American!
Luckily, high energy prices are having the effect of negating some of the advantage of China's low labor costs.
It's flawed, but neither is it wholly incorrect.

No, it's also wholly incorrect. Not only is the world-historical context completely different, the global aspirations of the Chinese govt are also substantively different. It may feel slick to name-check Riefenstahl's Olympia, but anyone who bothered to watch the opening ceremonies would acknowledge that each regime is mobilizing spectacle to completely different ends. The degree to which the Chinese were approval-seeking and appealing to symbols of peace and reconciliation was actually bathetic at times.

I'm someone who usually shares your politics, Rob, but I'm also someone who studied Mandarin for several years, specialized in Chinese history and politics, and who works with continental Chinese in a business context on a daily basis. Comparing China to the German Reich couldn't be more facile.

It's disturbing to me how many of my libertarian and left-of-center friends think they have a handle on China and some grasp of the structural challenges the nation currently faces, when their knowledge of China moreorless begins and ends with Tibet and Tiananmen. It's actually easier to compare the left-libertarian posture on China to the Bush administration's incurious and ill-informed posture toward Iran and Cuba than it is to compare 1936 Germany to 2008 China.

China is a flawed country, but it's also come a long way in a short amount of time for a nation with nearly five times the US population, with an infrastructure far younger and less developed than our own. To dismiss it out of hand, or to conflate the aspirations of its citizenry with the excesses of its government at this critical historical juncture seems like a mistake, and perversely, just yet another manifestation of incurious America-firstism in another guise.
Not only is the world-historical context completely different, the global aspirations of the Chinese govt are also substantively different.

How do the former citizens of Tibet like their new Chinese-flavored lebensraum? I just don't buy that the Chinese have anything besides imperial ambitions in their region and perhaps beyond. The Chinese would like the rest of us to shut up, accept or misread their plans, and fall asleep while they steadily build up their blue-water navy.

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