There's a lot of media talk about USA versus China in the Olympic Games this year. Many are likening the rivalry to a new Cold War (albeit a sporting one), with China taking the place of Russia.
Others are saying that due to the political differences between the two countries, this is spilling over into the track and athletes from both countries are now viewed as "warrior soldiers" and neither country wants to lose to the other.
Personally, I think this is a side story to the real issue—which country is the biggest bully and most hated worldwide? Meaning, what country does the rest of the world want to see lose the most?
Human rights issues work both ways. For example, much of the American media is playing on the fact that spectators of the games are cheering the USA on to "teach the dictators of China a lesson" from a moral standpoint. The same media cites China's (lack of) human rights as a reason everyone wants the USA to beat China.
Hold the press a minute. Yes, China has appalling human rights history and continues to do so. Yet lately, America hasn't exactly been whiter than white in this area.
The USA still has the non-political prisoners and tortures in Guantanamo Bay, the mental and physical torture of Canadian teenager Omar Khadr, and the illegal and non-sanctioned invasion of Iraq, as well as the continued war-mongering of George Bush.
People argue that China is a dictatorship where the citizens don't have a say. Yes, that's true. But do the free people of the USA have a say as well? Did their leaders listen when the public spoke about the War on Terror?
Did the people's views count when Bush was somehow voted into power in the first place despite quite clearly losing to Al Gore?
So as much as we'd like to think we live in a democracy, it depends how you define the word.
Two failing superpowers and one big ego. Another reason why so many people just don't care about who wins the most medals between the USA and China is that the countries aren't as important as they like to think they are.
The US economy is a disaster. The dollar has lost its place as the world's currency, the housing market is in disarray, and the manufacturing industry is shedding jobs by the thousands.
Let's face it. The US is no longer a superpower. The same goes for China.
Although on the face of it their economy is healthy, foreign investment is drying up. The old idiom of "cheap labour in China" is being thwarted by the very same human rights issues that have brought the country to front the media spotlight prior to the Olympics. Simply put, foreign businesses are looking elsewhere for cheap labour.
The only thing super about the US and China now is the "super ego" of their relevant leaders, who believe they have the right to do what they want in the world.
The Olympics simply aren't relevant anymore. Sad, but true. This year's Olympics is the first time I haven't watched any coverage whatsoever. That might have you asking, "Well what right do you have to speak about them then?"
Which would be fair—if it weren't for the fact we're all entitled to opinions.
But after years of tainted results thanks to drug-enhanced performances and the same countries winning the largest amount of medals year in and year out, I just don't care anymore. The fact that the biggest talking point is whether the USA versus China has political connotations merely enforces my view.
The Olympics are meant to be the purest form of sport in the world today—true athletes competing for the greatest prize.
Now, though, commercialism has effectively ruined that ideal forever. And that commercialism began in earnest at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. So the decline of the Olympics could be traced back to the USA.
Don't get me wrong. This isn't an anti-US or anti-China missive. While I personally loathe the Governments and administration of both countries, the majority of people in both the US and China are some of the friendliest around.
Yet as far as caring who comes first in the "battle" between the USA versus China? Forgive me if I pass and concentrate on real issues, such as the world being a safer place all around, the wealth of the richest countries helping the poorest, and the environment being much healthier than it is now.
Until then, the USA and China can go play out their little games and the media hype can take a running jump.
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