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.