America Abroad: Power, Politics and the Olympics

The Olympics is more than just fun and games. It's also a forum for international politics. China hopes to make the 2008 Olympic Games its coming out party. It's hardly the first time the five-ring spectacle has been the venue for national agendas or grandstanding — think Moscow in 1980 or Hitler's Berlin. And so far, controversy has surrounded Beijing: Tibet, Darfur, protests, threats of boycotts. Still, fans cheer that the Olympic flame could light the way to liberalization in China, as it did for South Korea in 1988. And that fuels the debate over whether ping-pong and the pentathlon should be tools of political change. Let the games behind the games begin!

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