Sunday, October 6, 2013
Sea Change I
A sea change is taking place in the international arena, but most Americans will not notice it because the discrete events that mark it are systematically under-reported by our media. Today’s event is an upbeat one, a rarity. Russia will host the 1914 Winter Olympics in what appears to be a completely remodeled blackSea resort of Sochi. The Soviet Union hosted the summer Olympics in 1980, but this was during the Afghan War, which caused many countries to boycott the event. Today, the United States is bogged down in Afghanistan and Vladimir Putin is having the first installment of what promises to be a long drawn out revenge. The reception of the Olympic Flame in Moscow was a spectacle that could have been orchestrated in New York - or London if you remember last year’s Olympic extravaganza. It’s important for Americans to go beyond the event itself to take the full measure of its significance. American presidents routinely call on governments that are not our allies to ‘rejoin the community of nations’. WIth Russia, it is getting more than it bargained for. The flame will not only travel through Russia’s nine time zones, it will be transported by sea and air, and even go up in space, coming down just in time for the kick-off. It will be interesting to see which media instinct wins out among America’s big three cable companies: the urge to report a colorful story, or the 1%’s requirement that it show and tell only negative things about our former enemy.