Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics will not “make much difference at all” in light of Beijing’s human rights violation, and is a waste of diplomatic leverage.
“I don’t think it will make any difference in China’s human [rights] or their discrimination or the abuses of different peoples,” Gohmert told NTD, an affiliate of The Epoch Times, on Dec. 10.
The United States said on Dec. 6 it won’t send an official delegation to Beijing for the 2022 Games in protest against the Chinese regime’s ongoing human rights crisis in Xinjiang. Countries including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom also followed suit in the past week.
The move allows American athletes to compete if they wish. Yet Gohmert said even an athletes’ boycott would unlikely to effectively restrain authoritarian regimes, as the one doing the punishing has more to lose.
“We had a president named Jimmy Carter, who was one of the least effective presidents we’ve ever had on Foreign Affairs. And he did a lot like [President] Joe Biden, where he thinks he can just be nice, and convince people that have a little bit of evil in them to do the right thing.”
“It doesn’t work that way,” he said.
Four decades ago, the 1980 U.S. Olympic team lost the chance to compete in Moscow after then-President Jimmy Carter pulled it back as part of a boycott due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979.
“Russia wasn’t really hurt, they went on,” said Gohmert. “The people that were really hurt were the athletes, the American athletes paid the price of having a weak, ineffective president.” This shouldn’t be the case, according to Gohmert.
He said everything involved with foreign diplomacy or business relations is all about leverage. “And when you give away your leverage for nothing, then you’re not going to have anything to negotiate with.”
“In order to be effective, they would have to demand better treatment for whomever they chose, whether it’s the Uyghurs, the Christians, or Falun Gong, whomever. You have to take that stand before you cut your billion-dollar deals.”
Yet efficiency is the shortcoming of the Biden administration, Gohmert said. “Nobody’s afraid of him. Nobody thinks he’s going to do anything to stop them.”
President Joe Biden confirmed on Dec. 8 that sending American troops to Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion is “not on the table.”
“If you’re going to be effective, you don’t take anything off the table,” said Gohmert.
Yet Biden told Russian President Vladimir Putin a day ago during a video call that the United States and its allies would respond “with strong economic and other measures” over a potential attack by Russia.
Earlier this month, Gohmert introduced a bill to impose duties on Chinese merchandise due to China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, which caused the United States “billions and billions of dollars per year,” he said.
On Dec. 10, Washington put a ban on American investment in a Chinese artificial intelligence firm over concerns of its role in aiding the Chinese regime’s repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
The move was among a suite of sanctions announced, which targeted 24 other individuals and entities tied to Beijing, Burmese military entities, and North Korea, marking International Human Rights Day.