This is a combination of two posts that I've been throwing around in my mind whenever I have free time.

Disclaimer: I am not a polisci major. Most of this post just comes from my laymen's knowledge of geopolitics, economic necessities, and general observation. Feel free to correct me on anything you find wrong.

History teaches us that humans have constantly evolved their social groups ... we've gone from tribes to fiefdoms to kingdoms to nation states ... but where does it stop? I can't imagine that 50 years from now that nation-state would be the highest level of government. Right now, you're seeing the formation of the European Union (which for various reasons is just gonna _fail_ or make Europe weaker than it already is), which does hint at the formation of these super-nationstates. But is that the end of the line?

The fall of the USSR actually did more to fragment hte world than one would think; before the fall of the Soviets, there was a clear dichotomy: you're either them, or you're us. Whether or not the Europeans liked it, we were in the same boat. Even if they have to sacrifice their self-interest, they had to row the boat in the same direction.

But since then, the power of the American hegemony has failed, and we now see these situation where most of the world is against what we're doing and actively speak up against it. Not that this is a Bad Thing, of course... but a lot of Americans seem a bit naive ... let me explain.

Let us first assume that each governmental form is self-serving. That is to assume that all governments are constantly jockeying to maximize their power. Now, (I'm stretching this) ... let us also assume that power within the nationstates is a zero-sum game. That is to say that if one country gains power, it is at the expense (or prestige) of another country. Obviously, this is not the case all the time (for example, the N. Koreans and Americans could agree on a peaceful way to solve that pesky nuclear problem, an we would both benefit) ... but it can be used as a broad generalization for where I'm going.

Now, you will have noted that almost every citizen in the world has been urging the Americans to vote for Kerry. This, in and of itself, is not too troubling. But if you take a cynical view of the world, given my situation above, you must also assume that citizens of the world are constantly trying to mazimize the power of their own governments limiting the power of the world superpower.

Can we honestly believe that the citizens and nation-states of the world have the interest of the United States when they endorse a President? It's pretty clear that these endorsements come out of a real and legitimate fear of Bush and the Republicans MIGHT do.

This is not an endorsement of Bush or a criticism of Kerry ... but I am very wary when I see nation states that have no real business in the election process of the US voicing opinions regarding a candidate. It always makes me go, "Hmm..." and question why they are doing such things.

But what is the concept of nation-state? Nation-states are simply a political entity that is accepted by a majority of people with a set boundary of land (note: polisci majors, feel free to rip my heart out right here). A lot of nation-states are based on one ethic group (Korea/Japan), but there are tons of nation-states where they are tons of different ethic groups (Vietnam, Switzerland, Spain, US, Mexico, etc.).

Isn't it somewhat ridiculous that we use these arbitrarily- created nation-states and give them all a "team" of athletes to compete in the Olympics? I've never been a fan of the Olympics because it promotes rabid nationalism. That's not to say pride for one country is a bad thing - but the way these Olympics subconsciously promote the concept that you're "nation-state" is "better" than another nation-state disgusts me.

Let's make one thing clear: winning more medals in the Olympics has absolutely no bearing how good your country is at sports. There was a paper published a little while ago which clearly proved that economic factors within a country have more to do with promoting good atheletes than the genetics of a race (or nation-state race, as the concept of "American" isn't a real racially homogeneous group, but some people justify that living the American lifestyle makes us genetically "bound," if that make any type of sense). That's what makes me sick. When I hear stuff like, "Our genetics naturally makes us better at XXX," I get a sick feeling in my stomach.

What is there to benefit by even letting people think their race is better at something than another race? Isn't this racism? The United States has been tackling racism for so long, yet the racism OUTSIDE the US is much worse than the US ... ours seems like a worse problem simply because we have to deal with it on a daily basis. People in Korea can simply smile at the foreigners because they only have to deal with it once a month.

The only thing the Olympics has done is create a scapegoat for citizens of one country to vent out anger against another country. You would not believe the anger the Koreans had at America as a whole when the Americans "stole" the gold in the winter olympics a few years ago.

Posted by roy on August 29, 2004 at 08:19 AM in Ramblings | 4 Comments

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Comment posted on August 30th, 2004 at 01:15 AM
the olympics is just a facade for waging a 100-way international war against each other. and hey, like any other war, the countries with the most people and the most resources usually comes out on top. [ahem china usa]

diplomacy? my ass. the games lost all remote form of diplomacy once the countries decided that they would devote a large chunk of their time and money to beat out the other nations. that's not the spirit of the olympics. that's just preparing for a patterned three-week slugfest every four years.
Comment posted on August 29th, 2004 at 12:58 PM
The Olympics are a throwback to the archaic days of proving one's mettle against the opposing country. However, sports and anything that pitts one country against the other, all fall into that category. It can breed discontent, racism, and in extreme cases, hatred.

The fact is that we as a species have not evolved away from the animalistic need to fight one another, to be better than the next person, to be the best. Competition is part of our daily experience. It is the nature of the human beast. As such, it will continue to foster racism, intolerance and hatred.

Having said all that, there is a positive in the Olympics, in that it gives the attendees an opportunity to step outside their countries and mingle with citizens of other countries, to view the world from a different perspective. If politics and corruption can be kept to a minimum, these athletes have an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. Many have said that they came away from their olympic experience having made good friendship with athletes in other countries. I think that kind of positive interaction, that exposure to new cultures, is far more important than the number of medals anyone wins.
Comment posted on August 29th, 2004 at 10:17 AM
Interesting post about the olympics taken from a different tack as yours:
Comment posted on August 29th, 2004 at 09:28 AM
"...economic factors within a country have more to do with promoting good atheletes than the genetics of a race."

If it wasn't for slavery in our past history, the USA would probably not be winning most of the Track & Field events. Don't forget that the USSR used to be king on the medal stands even though they were down in the dumps economically.

We are territorial animals. Racism is in our animal nature. Teaching ourselves to overcome the urge is part of what it means to be human.