Saturday, April 12, 2008

Flame out!!!

This is inspired by a post after at my freng's blog, where he posed the question:

Is it just me, or is anyone else delighted at the fiasco that the Chinese Olympic flame torch run has become?

Yes, Vance, I. Am. What's also delightful is the notion that granting a country the olympics will somehow cajole them into getting their shit together.



But I won't stop there.

You know what's even better? Seeing this retarded version of modern diplomacy fall flat on its face. You all know what I'm referring to. It's this cowardly brand of international relations that somehow hopes to gain acquiesence through granting prestigious rewards and privileges given before, yes, before seeing results, and without clearly stating the desired outcome.

Here's how we used to do it:

If you don't knock off [whatever], [undesirable outcome] will happen.



Here's how it's done now:

Here, take this prestigious opportunity -- welcome to the international community! Now that you're one of us, act like one of us! We insist!



It's kind've like paying it forward, but with really important stuff. Like peace prizes, territory, or the Olympics.

It blows my mind that anyone in either the internatinal community or on the Olympic community thought that giving China the olympics would be a good idea. I also think it's funny that everyone bought the idea that China had some sort of committment to cleaning their shit up in time for the games. "Hey, congrats guys. You have 7 years to clean up your environment, labor practices, relationship with Tibet, and unfuck 5,000 or so years of backwardsness. Welcome to the international community!! Now if you could go ahead and refrain from not freeing Tibet, that'd be superduper!"



Then after making such a politically based decision, they expect everyone to be a-political and let it go. I love the olympics and what it represents, but folks don't want to let it be what it is. And haven't for a while. It's pretty freakin' ridiculous when the torch runners are doing route recons, SDRs, and rate a PSD.

My suspicions are confirmed over at AoSHQ, where he mentions the IOC President discussing China's "moral engagement" to improve human rights. The idea of China engaging in some sort of "moral engagement" is like expecting North Korea to take part in the 21st century.:

[The IOC President] also told a news conference that China -- under fire over a crackdown in Tibet and a host of other issues -- had promised that winning the right to host the Games would lead to an improvement in human rights.

"We definitely ask China to respect this moral engagement," he added.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters that Rogge's view of a "crisis" might have been exaggerated, and made it clear China would not engage in a discussion on its human rights performance.


That's how China tells you to go fuck yourself. With Jiang Yu. Neither she, nor her coiffure, messes about. Or discusses Human Rights, apparently.



I'm often dumbstruck by the fundamental lack understanding that so called intellectual elites have when it comes to dealing with fellow human beings. I remember in college (as an anthropology major), lower-classmen would get jumped on all the time by professors for not embracing cultures or countries they weren't used to. Being ethnocentric was as good as being a racist. That's why I get such a kick out of this sort of stuff. Moral Engagement??? Its ethnocentricity is eclipsed only by the sweet, sweet irony that accompanies it -- that the Chinese were somehow expected to adopt our views, be them environmental, economic, or humanitarian -- in return for being granted the opportunity to host an international athletic event. Or the idea that they would, given their histroy, comply or do what they said they'd do. Chinese and Judeo-Christian Europeans do not share the same value systems. There's nothing wrong with that, but to expect otherwise is silly, and, if I may be so bold, ethnofuckingcentric.

The best part still goes back to this form of diplomacy and why it's so cowardly. I bet they have a team of blond/grey-haired-blue-eyed IKEA-sittin round-glasses-wearin british-english-speakin really-hard-to-get-into-name-school-graduatin funny-facial-expression-havin people coming up with this stuff. I bet they're easily outraged over stupid shit and enjoy engaging in "intellectual" conversations about moral relativism. They enjoy disagreeing with things and see it as a very important contribution of their essential existence. They like this kind of passive-aggressive diplomacy because if it blows up in their face, they're not responsible for anything really happening (cuz they didnt do shit), but if it works out they can all sit there and congratulate themselves and sing themselves praises in academic journals about the success of their new diplomatic paradigm. And they'll definitely use the word "paradigm". They'll give it a name that begins with neo- or post- and ends in -al or -ism, likely containing the word "classic" or "modern", depending on how they spin their "theory". They're all jockying to see who can do the most by doing the least and by being the biggest pussy.

This whole situation reminds me of getting drunk. It's really funny at first but too much of it makes me throw up and scream at loved ones.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Vance said...

That's racist.

Bwhahahaha. Especially this:

"This whole situation reminds me of getting drunk. It's really funny at first but too much of it makes me throw up and scream at loved ones."

Paul,

Obviously you didn't go to the Fletcher School Of International Relations and Buttsniffing like the members of the IOC.

It's called "silent diplomacy".

Or in other words, silence.

We don't say shit because we're afraid you'll cut off our imports of cheaply made, lead paint based goods.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Hammer said...

I took 3 negotiations classes in grad school, inluding an international negotiations class which might as well have been renamed "Negotiating with China 501" considering how little time we spent on other countries. Failure to understand Chinese culture or to understand their unique interpretation of an agreement that is viewed by westerners as comprehensive, straight-forward and air-tight are the things that leave western parties hosed and baffled. And yet when you get down to it, even after you put cultural spin aside, it's more basic than that, because Negotiations 101 will tell you on Day F-ing One to always negotiate from a position of strength, and only sit down with the people who are authorized to make a deal.

The Chinese held all the cards the day they were given the olympics, and I have no doubt that in the back rooms behind the photo-ops, all negotiations between the IOC and their Chines counterparts (who are no doubt not authorized to do a damn thing but smile and stonewall) boil down to a Mad Max - Beyond Thunderdome scenario.

IOC: We'd like to talk about our concerns with your moral enagagement efforts.
China: Who run Olympictown?
IOC: Ah, yes, well we were just...
China: Say it. Say who run Olympictown.
IOC: Uh... Mao-ster Blaster.
China: Say again.
IOC: Mao-ster Blaster runs Olympictown.
China: Thank you. Embargo lifted.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite frankly I don't really understand it all....

I was going to have the block party at my house, but nobody wanted to come because I always kick my neighbors dog and don't go to church. Which is funny because they're always over here using my bandsaw and drinking my cheep Icehouse beer. Sure they like me, because of my cheap conveniance and because they can't kick my ass.

It ended up being down at this other guys house around the corner. The nice creamy white guy everyone likes because he waves, and asks you how your doing. He's always calling the cops on the mexican family two doors down and gets his shit in they're business whenever he can. He insists that they're constantly vandalizing things in his yard and dealing drugs. But they're good people, he just doesn't like mexicans. So lets party, nobody likes mexicans anyway.

2:18 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

i like, but i dont get

4:48 PM  
Blogger Hammer said...

Okay, I found the Master Blaster clip. God bless YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgq4w4dqKsU

12:31 AM  
Blogger Consul-At-Arms said...

I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2008/04/re-flame-out.html

1:58 PM  

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