The Olympic Games began over a hundred years ago as part of an effort to foster peace and friendship among nations. Its originators (French people among them) hoped bringing together athletes from nations throughout the world would be a way to create peace in the world. Since then, during the Olympics the even has been used to glorify Nazi Germany, to challenge Russian policy in Afghanistan in 1980, and to have Israel athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists. President Sarkozy in March expressed the view he might not attend opening ceremonies in protest over China’s policies in Tibet. Yesterday, the French president made clear he would be present both to represent France and the European Union.
His change in attitude is most probably due to fear of antagonizing the powerful Chinese nation which has become an economic factor for all nations in the world. Sarkozy kept open his option to meet with the Dalai Lama in August which naturally led to Chinese threats of retaliation. Somehow, lost in all the threats and counter threats are the athletes who are there to display their talents. Let the Beijing begin.