Though there are now a number of other pressing issues facing the United States and Europe—from the fallout of the US decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran to ever-increasing trade tensions—it is in the transatlantic community’s strategic interest to continue supporting Georgia.
While we frequently advocate for tough action to deter Moscow from its many aggressions, our analysis in this piece still stands: the DETER Act is the wrong way to address concerns about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.
The world’s most successful and enduring alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is facing a potential transatlantic train wreck of American making when it meets in Brussels July 11-12, its first full-fledged summit of the Trump administration.
Unless President Donald Trump shifts his thinking and actions before then, a toxic political division is growing that could undermine the summit’s fundamental objectives of demonstrating unity and projecting readiness, around which diplomats and commanders have arrayed an impressive set of “deliverables.”
Such reach puts a great deal of power and influence in the hands of soccer's global governing body. While FIFA has long used its influence to encourage governments to make the quadrennial tournament safer, more profitable, and more successful, its relative inaction in protecting and advancing fundamental human rights—specifically those of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or intersex (LGBTI) community—around this year’s World Cup is disappointing.
In an essay titled “The Sporting Spirit,” written in 1945 during then-Soviet soccer club Dynamo Moscow’s Cold War British tour, Orwell called soccer “a game in which everyone gets hurt and every nation has its own style of play which seems unfair to foreigners.”
He then extrapolated that sport “is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules, and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.” Orwell recognized the political symbolism inherent in sport and resented it for being one of many drivers of the nationalism fueling international rivalry.
Today’s fans might disagree with Orwell’s joyless characterization of sport as “an unfailing cause of ill-will,” but there is no denying that this World Cup, set in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, is politically charged.
Today, the winds of political revolt are sweeping through the West: in the United States, Italy, Britain, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, Sweden―and in even France, where Emmanuel Macron, the gifted child of the elite has ridden the anti-establishment wave and won what could be just a reprieve.