When did the Olympics turn into a microcosm of the world? And I don’t mean in a happy, “I’d like to teach the world to sing,” pro-diversity kind of way. Allow me to expound:I have read tons upon tons of articles misrepresenting the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a bargaining chip at the negotiating table of global affairs. Yes, it is a global event. But these athletes are under enough pressure to perform without all the added stress of ending wars and solving world hunger while simultaneously passing a baton and pulling off a perfect dismount.I saw the movie “Miracle.” I understood the Cold War anti-Soviet sentiment. Yay America, boo Russia. Not difficult. But people, it was a HOCKEY GAME. What do you remember when you think of the end of the Cold War? Personally, I conjure up images of Reagan asking for some interior remodeling in Berlin. Did hockey win the Cold War. No. Did it help? Not unless you think the name ‘Cold War’ was literal.Admittedly, China has some problems to solve. It is a nation rising in prominence on the world scene and will therefore be thoroughly scrutinized before being granted permission into the Big Boys Club. But does anyone else get the feeling that Beijing was chosen for 2008 so the rest of the world could get the political negotiation ball rolling? Economic development. Environmental safety. Human rights. Intellectual property. All these problems must be solved within six months because we deemed Beijing worthy to hold a few football matches and some foot races. China does not have to solve these issues before the Olympics and even if we required them to, I doubt they would or could. Chinese foreign policy is like finding the queen of hearts on a street corner in the Bronx. Only the guy holding the cards knows where to find her.Does anybody know who’s dealing?

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About Rachel

Once a great traveling-bard-slash-philosopher, Rachel lost her mandolin to a migrant kiwi picker in a roadside dice match in the Yangtze River Valley. Penniless, mandolin-less, and blindly wandering the spit-laden streets of Beijing, she's now subjugated by the man and wants to know if the NAACP will grant her official permission to sing the blues.

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  1. The complexity of things makes my head spin. Does China need to play by the WTO’s rules to get the benefits of membership, or does the WTO need to play by China’s rules to gain access to this huge market?

    The one thing I’m sure of is that the only one that looks foolish or is compromised by Beijing not living up to the requirements of their Olympic Bid is the Olympic committee.

    All that crap about “the great race equalizer and human spirit mobilizer” is just PR crap. The Olympics are about money, and Beijing 2008 shows now clearer picture of that.

    BTW: Nothing, and I mean nothing, cannot be solved on the ice with a puck. Why do you think there’s so much turmoil in ice-free nations? Burma, Sudan, Kenya, Iraq, Pakistan, Thailand, Indonesia … these countries just need three periods on the ice to sort themselves out 😉

  2. All that said, given the heat of the spotlight that’s going to be on ’em come late summer, I’d be very surprised if China doesn’t roll out some big environmental initiative right in the middle of the games.

    There’s gonna be a ton of bad press about China, and they’d be wise to drop a diversionary “good news” bomb.

    …now my head is spinning too.

  3. Ryan, I’m not sure if hockey can fix the problems in the “ice-free” nations. I don’t think it is lack of hockey that is causing the problems, but rather, too much soccer. Evidence: countries with hockey and soccer seem to peaceably play hockey, but errupt into violence over soccer games. So I think you need to institute MANDITORY U.N. regulated hockey games and eliminate soccer in these war torn regions.

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