Olympic Fallacies

An op-ed in the Washington Post by Anne Applebaum questions whether it is realistic to try to separate the Olympics from politics in China:

The chairman of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, was also quick to declare that “a boycott doesn’t solve anything” — just as he was quick to dismiss the demonstrators who waved a black banner showing interlocked handcuffs, in mockery of the Olympic symbol, at yesterday’s lighting of the Olympic torch in Greece. “It is always sad to see such a ceremony disrupted,” he declared, rather pompously.

And no one was surprised: Companies that have invested millions in sponsorship deals and Olympic bureaucrats who have spent years trying to justify their controversial decision to award the 2008 Games to Beijing are naturally inclined to use those sorts of arguments. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to believe them.

Look a bit closer, in fact, and none of those statements holds up at all. “A boycott doesn’t solve anything.” Well, doesn’t it? Some boycotts do help solve some things.