Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Olympic Politics and Fashion [J. Mark English]

I'm not sure how many sport fans actually watched the Democratic debate the other night, but many of the Democratic candidates offered up a solution to the Darfur genocide. Because China is responsible for buying two thirds of the oil supply from the region, they are to blame for keeping the government in power. If China were to stop buying the oil, they could force the weak government into bankruptcy. Many of the candidates proposed that the United States should boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics if China does not change its policy towards western Sudan.

New Mexico Governor, and presidential candidate, Bill Richardson said: We need China, to lean on China, which has enormous leverage over Darfur...And if the Chinese don't want to do this, we say to them, maybe we won't go to the Olympics.

From my own point of view, I think it would be a mistake to boycott the Olympics. We tried this once before in 1980 when the United States refuse
d to participate in the Moscow Olympics because the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. What exactly did that limp move accomplish? The Soviets remained in Afghanistan for another nine years.

What accomplished far more...or at least bolstered national morale...was when the United States played the Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics in La
ke Placid. The Soviets did not pull out of those Olympics, and gave the nation the chance to witness the USA hockey team to upset the Soviets is known as the miracle on ice. (It may be worth noting that although the Soviets did not boycott the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics they did return the favor in 1984 by boycotting the Los Angeles Olympics)

By boycotting the Olympics we are selling short the athletes who work hard
to achieve the zenith of their athletic efforts. It is not fair to use them as political pawns.

If the situation in Darfur is as serious as it seems, then use economic, but more importantly military force to end
the slaughter. Not a limp boycott that in the end achieves little.


On a lighter note,
the image below is the official symbol for the 2012 Summer Olympics which will take place in London, England. Many are furious over the strange image, thinking that it is way too weird. Others defend the symbol explaining that it is appropriate given the new age that the Olympics are entering. What do you think?