Between the World Cup and the Olympics, the geopolitics of 2022 will shift from sports

Between the World Cup and the Olympics, the geopolitics of 2022 will shift from sports

It was April 10, 1971, when star athletes and national table tennis were the first Americans to enter Beijing since Mao’s rise, helping to weaken the political and cultural specificity between the United States and China. What the media renamed table tennis diplomacy It was, however, the tip of the iceberg of a delicate strategy woven by the Nixon and Kissinger duo, who were preparing for their theatrical moment. Nixon goes to China of the following year. That year perpetuated an increasingly recurring trend in contemporary geopolitics, already highlighted in Berlin in 1936, which was to transform sports fields into a modern arena, in which tensions generated elsewhere would be defused or defused. With different goals and results, politics broke into the 1972 Munich Olympics and, again, the US boycott of the 1980 Soviet Olympics, Jimmy Carter’s strategy in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The year 2022 that is about to come seems to intensify all these past trends, not only because of the intense tension that has covered geopolitics in the past two years, but above all in light of two major sporting events such as world Cup in Qatar and Winter Olympics Beijing.

the world Cup in Qatar

Qatar 2022 It will launch there on November 21. This event immediately aroused indignation and controversy, because more than football, here is where the alarm is raised. Today, more than ever, champions of sport play a moral role in contemporary society: sport does not want or can no longer ignore issues related to civil and political rights in the world, which Qatar stumbles upon and not a little. We’ve seen it with the seven-time world champion in Formula 1 Lewis HamiltonWho was wearing a flag-colored helmet LGBTI Pride Advance During the Qatar Grand Prix. The same goes for the Danish Football Association, the governing body for Danish football, which is critical of Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers: according to a recent report by the British newspaper. WatchmanMore than 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since the country was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup, of which at least 37 of them are directly related to the construction of stadiums. The same crucial issues have been raised regarding women’s rights, which travel the Gulf in a very thin thread covering the mistreatment of ordinary women with sequins. The hero of the decisive front towards the Gulf state was the British football team: after Norway, Germany and the Netherlands, England are also taking measures in this regard, studying how to act in the coming months, even if the boycott of the event remains out. from the question. , saw and considered that David Beckham, luxury player English with distinction, he agreed to a generous sponsorship contract as a World Cup certification.

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For Qatar, this is a delicate project aimed at diversifying the country’s economy, reducing its dependence on oil and gaining influence among Western countries. For critics, it’s about sports mixed soft powerIt is the path that all the Gulf states are taking to clean themselves up in front of world public opinion. In this logic, the creeping controversy space that arose in 2011, after the company bought the majority of Paris Saint-Germain, should be framed. Qatar Investment Authority and set Nasser Al-Khelaifi as club president. The latter, then, last April 20 was confirmed in the UEFA Executive Committee, and subsequently elected as Chairman of theEuropean Club AssociationInstead of resigning Andrea Agnelli.

Then the complex depends on the Qatari sports strategy Regional Dispute With neighboring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, they are no strangers to the world of football. Only in January 2021 the Saudi-led coalition re-established diplomatic relations with Qatar after four years of economic blockade in retaliation for Qatar’s alleged ties to Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

We still have a year before the event, but the tensions are certainly not diminishing.

Winter Olympics in Beijing

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is just as much hexagonal cotton starting February 4. And not just because of the complex relations between the United States and China – which are still affected by the echo of Anchorage – but because the boycott announced by the US government will draw Europe, NATO and the entire Indo-Pacific region into the debate. The Chinese policy in Tibet, the policy toward the Uyghurs, the Hong Kong issue and, last but not least, the tennis player issue are all on the scale. Bing Shuai, still shrouded in mystery. Then, under the embers, there is the genesis of the epidemic, the aura of secrecy and lies that he now enjoys that have marred relations with Beijing for nearly two years.

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The White House said that no official delegations would be sent to the Games due to concerns about the human rights situation, but confirmed that American athletes would be able to participate and would have the full support of the government. The United States will “pay” for Diplomatic boycott From the Olympic Games Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was shocked: “They should stop politicizing sports and interfering in words and deeds against the Beijing Olympics, otherwise they will undermine the dialogue and cooperation between the two countries in an important chain of international and regional fields and issues.”

This is not a new tactic. Three years ago, some European countries, including Great Britain, declared a diplomatic boycott of Russian Football World Cup After Salisbury poisoning. Diplomatic rudeness was announced, showing a will not to shut the door completely at once. For the United States, however, the hope for the next province is pure utopia when we consider how economically most liberal democracies are endangered with the Celestial Empire.

Complete boycotts, as Anthony Viola argued a while ago Washington Post, are blunt devices that often do little harm to boycotts while inflicting real pain on the boycotters. Top athletes are robbed of their extreme windows to win the medal. To make matters worse, bitter feuds can open up between politicians and competitors, national sports officials, broadcasters, corporate sponsors and national viewers who struggle with such decisions. While a complete boycott of Beijing 2022 seems unlikely, some Uyghur and Tibetan advocacy groups are cooperating to urge a diplomatic boycott of the campaign. #NoBeijing2022. This will allow athletes to compete by mitigating some soft power Which could lead to hosting the Olympic Games. Olympic boycotts don’t seem to work. The influence of Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands in 1956 on the Soviet invasion of Hungary had little geopolitical impact. Most of Washington’s European allies failed to join President Carter’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, undermining his goal of isolating the Soviets. The same is true of boycotts in 1980 and 1984. Proponents of this approach, for their part, however, point out that sports boycotts are linked to an issue.racism In South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, they were evidence that such an approach could play a crucial role in putting pressure on the rulers of a country.

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Since the United States announced its diplomatic retaliation, new ZelandAnd Great BritainAnd AustraliaAnd Canada e Kosovo They have followed suit. Days before the US announcement, representatives of top Lithuanian officials reportedly said they would not participate in the Games. embracing what some critics have described as a half-measure, Joe Biden Other leaders may still come to a conclusion. However, the first influences are already evident among those who chose not to follow him in his choice: Norway, the queen of winter sports, will not join the United States nor NATO allies France e Italia. Eastern European governments such as Poland and Hungary, which have poor human rights records and are eager to woo China as an economic partner, are also ignoring the boycott.

It is unlikely that new fluctuations will occur within a month. In Beijing, however, the whole world will be in attendance Xi Jinping After two years of pandemic and aggressive foreign policy. What governments have not announced that athletes will be able to do? maybe.

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