Thursday, February 22, 2018
 
Dark Geopolitical Cloud Hangs Over Winter Olympics, Like Nearly All Games Before

WASHINGTON, D.C. Feb. 13 (DPI) – It is downright grotesque that the world has assembled 50 miles from the border of a backward and oppressive hermit state, and more grotesque still that we allow that state to use the event to promote itself.

But these are the Olympics, and no Olympics would be complete without such geopolitical theatrics and gamesmanship. The problem of course is that these Olympics are not over, and – if history is any indication – the closing ceremonies have a way of setting off disruption, like a hostage taking or a mass defection or even, say, the annexation of a country.

I for one will welcome the day when the Olympics changes its format: When world-class athletes get to compete as individuals, and the state, and the national anthems and the medal counts that appear with it, all get relegated to the networks’ editing-room trash bin. In this age of Trump-Putin jingoism, getting rid of even a small source of nationalist passions would be a godsend.

After all, aren’t we as a nation getting past being a nation? A snowboarder who won a gold medal this week, 17-year-old Chloe Kim, was born in Long Beach, California, to parents from South Korea. She told NBC she was happy to represent both countries.

And how ironic that a few hundred athletes from Russia get to compete – for themselves, but not for their country, whose officials turned out to be systematically cheating on a grand scale.

Yes, political differences in the world are real. But we in the Free West have the capacity to reform ourselves, to toss out the bums from time to time. And the rest of the world, well, knows their various forms of authoritarianism will always be on the defensive.   In that respect, China is more like North Korea than we like to admit.

Americans have fought and died for freedom, and we will continue to, for ourselves, for our free friends and allies. It’s a fight to defend and preserve a free way of life – our ideals – and that fight may never end. But that doesn’t mean we must succumb to blind and petty nationalism.

Every day we text and share photos instantaneously with our friends in countries like Germany and Japan, and think nothing of it. Our world is shrinking. Hopefully, with any luck, all the great peoples of the world will shake off the nationalism that the winter and summer Olympic Games like to promote every few years.

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