I must confess that I never thought I would actually ask that question. For years, it seemed silly to even consider it. Not even the revulsion over the Tibet crackdown in the spring led me to believe the Beijing Olympics would be anything but the propaganda bonanza the Communists wish it to be (the aftermath is another matter). Now, suddenly, with the news that Communist China is directly helping the Sudanese regime's mass killing spree in Darfur (BBC), I'm not so sure.
Lest anyone forget, it was the Darfur issue that first made an Olympic boycott an acceptable conversation in the mainstream. It has been the Darfur activists who (prior to the Tibet crackdown) caught the attention on MSM and first put meaningful Olympic pressure on the Communists. It was on the Darfur issue that the Communists began making symbolic gestures to appease critics in the hope of silencing them for the Games.
Well, those of us who have watched the Chinese Communist Party knew this was bunk, much as their claims of moderation on Tibet was bunk (Times of London), and their claims of lightening up on the hideous "one child" policy were bunk (World Net Daily), and their supposed willingness to help the rest of the world deal with Robert Mugabe was bunk (Washington Post), and their claims of a harmonious China awaiting the Olympics with joy was bunk (BBC, Between Heaven and Earth, Boycott 2008, Epoch Times, and the Washington Post). For the Darfur folks, however, this is a new and fresh outrage. They won't take this lying down.
When Tibet was bleeding in March, there was still enough time for people to forget and for the "engagement" crowd to rationalize. Four weeks out is not enough time for that. This all but guarantees that Darfur activists will be demanding attention during the Games themselves, and as past history has shown, when they demand attention, they get it. In other words, every moment of Olympic triumph will be countered by the Darfur tragedy. The regime that wanted the world to see them as wonderful Olympic hosts will instead see them as war-mongering merchants of death in Africa - and that's if the Communists are lucky.
If the cadres are unlucky, Darfur will become a political nexus for things like spying on politicians in the free world (Canberra Times via BH&E), intimidating exiles overseas (The Epoch Times), traditional espionage (BBC), muscling in on NTDTV broadcasters (Rapid TV News via Boycott 2008), propping up the bloodthirsty and dishonest Korean tyrant Kim Jong-il (BBC, CNN, CNN again, Washington Post, and the Washington Times), and of course, how the CCP treats the Chinese people (Epoch Times).
The odds of all of these cans of worms opening up on the Communist Olympiad is fairly small. Then again, the odds of the Darfur issue crashing the Games seemed small, too, until this past weekend. For the moment, anything is possible.