Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Putin and the Paralympics

("US Cancels Paralympics Delegation but Athletes Will Compete")

In 1979 the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provoked much anger and protest from the government of the United States. President Carter threatened a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow if the Soviet's did not withdraw from their unwarranted incursion. When the battle raged on, the boycott occurred.

Now, in the face of the recent Russian action in Crimea, and the imminent threat that this could escalate to other parts of Ukraine, the United States has spoken once more, but quite differently. This Friday, the full contingent of US paralympic athletes will be in Sochi to begin their competition. Whether it is the timing of the event, merely days into the present crisis, or other factors that militate against the United States taken a stance similar to that of 1980 is uncertain.

What is clear is that the light that shone on Sochi in recent weeks has been extinguished. It is far more than the Olympic torch that has gone out, as the reality of the Putin era has been brought into full view. These paralympics will forever hold a very strange place in political history.

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