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Olympic boycotts – a bad idea

They don't work. Instead, promote the Olympic truce.

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Opponents of Chinese policy in Tibet, Darfur, and elsewhere are calling for total or partial boycotts of Beijing's summer Olympics. Protesters disrupted the running of the torch in London and Paris this week, triggering talk of canceling the international leg of the relay. And Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called on President Bush Monday to boycott the opening ceremonies in Beijing.

These efforts are mistaken. History suggests a better idea: Revive and promote the idea of the Olympic Truce period, when violent conflicts halt for the period of the Games and sometimes afterward.

As the Olympic flame began its long ceremonial journey last month to Beijing from Greece, the Games' ancient birthplace, International Olympic Committee chairman Jacques Rogge rejected the boycott idea. The 2008 Games, he said, would help to open China, including its human rights policies, to the world media.

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