After the jump, a message from a reader who makes very vividly a point that I've been trying to convey for quite a while. Namely, that it is in no one's interest for the Beijing Olympics to be jinxed, troubled, or in any other way "unsuccessful."

I know that some people outside China have a kind of schadenfreude wish that the pollution, or the mishandling of protests, or the logistics, or something else will backfire on the organizers of the Olympics and stand as a protest for whatever is objectionable in government policy. This is related to the previous idea that it would make sense to boycott the opening ceremonies or the Games themselves.

Unt-uh. As my correspondent points out, the only thing that will happen if these Olympics somehow go bad is a concerted focusing of blame, inside China, on the foreigners who want to "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people" and hold China down.  Outsiders who think that a pollution emergency or a spiraling protest would focus domestic blame on the Chinese government are dreaming. No kidding, everyone should want these games to work well, including with the air.

Letter is in response to this post, and comes after the jump.

Indeed, many of us expat types have long predicted this [polluted air not improving in time].  Inner Mongolia is stinking with coal-fired plants -- everywhere.  Take a train through there -- a toxic wasteland. ... Non-filtered emission blow in, bucket here in the Beijing basin.  They shut those down, they shut down Northern China.

So, they are betting on a wish.

As to the PSB [Public Security Bureau] checks -- An American associate ... has been been enjoying continuous visits, more than five after 9:00 pm.  And last week met an EU native, been here for nine years, about age 60, obviously harmless -- four visits in recent weeks to "check papers."

I'm guessing this will go bad.  Too many variables, not the least of which presented are the athletes -- cocky, feeling they have been screwed by bad air -- who have no need to be *diplomatic,* like during a live worldwide feed.

And, I'm sure you know, for all that goes wrong -- big and small -- the foreigners will be blamed.  They'll fire up the nationalistic torch, get 'em on the "Hurting the feelings of the Chinese People" collective rickshaw....

The sky looks pretty bad this morning, with eleven more days to go until the games begin .It really will be best all around if it improves fast..