Saturday, April 12, 2008

Olympic Troubles

As you are probably aware, the olympic torch has run into some protests as it travel through Paris, London and San Francisco. The tradition of the relay of the torch was first conceived as way to promote Nazi ideology before the 1936 Olympics. It is fitting that another sinister state has attempted to use the olympics as fodder for propaganda.

Hillary has called for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the games, and Obama and McCain sound as if they're open to the idea.
I won't take these claims to seriously. Boycotting the opening ceremony would be a small move, not akin to boycotting the entire games. Besides, I doubt what the candidates have said is very predictive of what their real policies toward China would be. Many recent US presidents have come in promising to get tough with China, and in the end kowtowed to Beijing. I won't rule the idea out, though. Daniel Drezner argues that using a boycott as leverage might not be such a bad idea. More on China later.
The Greek games were held usually without incident for roughly 10 centuries. The modern Olympics already have a worse track record. The reason, as an op-ed in the New York Times makes clear, was that the games was consistently held in the same place (the one time it wasn't the games usual hosts sent soldiers to storm the arena). Perhaps it is time to return to this tradition, and always hold the games in- say- Athens.
(Posted by Ewan)

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