When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

10 August 2008

Returning to the global stage after its "century of humiliation"

Returning to the global stage after its "century of humiliation" and the tortuous insanities of Mao Zedong's long rule, China naturally views the Games as its coming-out party. To that end, Beijing seeks to control every possible aspect, seeking to burnish the image of the "China model."


But the harsh costs of China's model are also inescapably put on display -- to wit, Beijing's now-legendary smog. The Communist Party wants the world to focus on medals hanging around the necks of Chinese athletes, but the Games' dominant image will undoubtedly be the pollution-filtering masks attached to many competitors' faces.


Beijing's frantic attempts to manipulate the weather for smog-clearing rain speak to a wider human hubris: that we can easily engineer our way out of the problems associated with global climate change. Again, the biggest social trade-offs are inherently political questions, not simple equations for unelected technocrats to solve one afternoon sitting around a table -- no matter how supreme their mandate seems.
Thomas P.M. Barnett (Scripps Howard News Service)- What Beijing Olympics Tells [sic] Us About Our World

P.S. Tom also really, really likes "Mad Men" - the cable series, not Ahmadinejad and Kim.

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