Friday, December 20, 2013
When I heard that many top western leaders were basically skipping Sochi, I wondered what the effect would be on Putin. Apparently, it was salutary.
There is a school of thought that the Olympics and World Cup can be used to prod recalcitrant regimes towards international norms. In China, not so much, unless you count their move towards some environmental responsibility.
But China is important globally, in a way that Russia still isn't, despite Putin's desire to return Russia to its former glory.
One does wonder how this is playing in Russia. Since Putin's basic appeal is nationalism and Russian greatness, having to bow towards international pressure will have to be massaged. There is always a danger in pushing Russia too far and too fast on anything.
Still, I would like to see at least one figure skater in a rainbow suit...