Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The word boycott is not being used yet...

...but you can certainly see the natural leap to it.

Kurt Volker is a former U.S. ambassador to NATO who argues in this editorial that the United States and the West must hold Russia's (political) feet to the fire before committing to participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Unfortunately, this is a specious argument. The notion of a boycott of the Olympics as a tool for political purposes was tried in 1980 and 1984, and these were proven to be empty in strength and value.

Now, let's be honest, the Russians are not the great diplomatic partner they are often cited as being by the Obama administration. But that misses the point -- the Olympic Games, while political in nature, offer little in the way of inducing a nation to uphold supposedly universal human values.
One need to look only at the sham that was the 2008 Beijing Games to realize that nations will say a lot to secure the Games and follow through on almost none of it.

To suggest that using a potential Olympic boycott as a means of getting Russia to be a better local and world partner is ridiculous. It won't work.

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