Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
There Should Be No Room for
By Ben Tanosborn
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, February 24, 2014
Vic Wild, paying homage to his adoptive Red-White-and-Blue, gave two
gold medals to Russia which if given to the United States would have tied
Russia’s final tally in gold [Russia, however, would have won the final
total medal count by one instead of five]. This newly-medaled
Olympian, who now resides in Moscow with his Russian wife and
fellow-snowboarder, bronze-medalist Alena Zavarzina, happens to hail from
the true paradisiac grounds of our Columbia Gorge. His hometown of
White Salmon is but a scenic 70-mile short trek from my home in Vancouver
(Washington), and a frequented destination point for Sunday brunch at
several of the area’s inns.
And no, Vic is no “traitor” in
his hometown; people are happy and proud of his exploits and bare no grudge,
nor call him a turncoat. After all, aren’t the Olympic Games, summer
and winter alike, the domain of athletes, and not a symbol of jingoistic
display? Well, maybe in White Salmon people think that way, their
hearts combining with their brains, but unfortunately, that’s not the case
everywhere. But more than partisan sick nationalism, what took place in
these Games had a special effect for many of us in the US. It had to
do with envy, “political envy” that is.
We always seem to cast envy as a vice, a capital sin; yet, there are times
when envy is but a desire for something we feel we deserve, not necessarily
as individuals but as members of an equitable, democratic society.
These winter Olympics at Sochi, including both its prefacing and epilogue,
have had many Americans, a majority in my count of those who regularly
follow current world events, coming out of the political closet where they
have been kept captive and thoroughly brainwashed.
lighting of the Olympic torch, the American public received for 2-3 months a
barrage of propaganda belittling, denigrating, and even ridiculing the good
efforts the Russians were making to mount a successful Olympiad. No,
it was not a conspiracy of the American corporate media, although looking at
the intensity and contrariness of what was being said, one might conclude
such to be the case. But it might as well have been; and criticism for
every move the Russians made, from questioning the logic in expenses
incurred for infrastructure, to the security for both athletes and
attendees, to any real or imaginary last minute problem, seemed intent in
criticizing both the efforts and the efficacy of the Russians. It was
as if the entire American media, from the highly-vocal right to the
soft-spoken left, had convened an ideological peace truce combining forces
to reignite the cold war. Never mind that Russia is not a Soviet
republic, or that the issues brought forth had a birth in yellow journalism
and not on an honest appraisal of the apparent truth.
But that early
mean-spirit exhibited by much of the American press to degrade anything
Russian quickly started to erode as athletes, their families, American
visitors and even sports commentators now living the experience saw a much
different reality. And mid-point in the Sochi Games, they started to
sing praises for the host country: extraordinary facilities, evident calm
and security all-around and, most important of all, friendly local people
who had turned the other cheek to an unwarranted harsh criticism from the
American press. And the praise, silent but extremely visual, filtered
upwards to a friendly, energetic and spirited leader of Russia, Vladimir
Putin… who was seen everywhere, including the quarters of American athletes.
Not a Hollywood Red Dawn-character this KGB-bred Putin; more of an
archetypal leader that every country should have, if I agree with the
comments I’ve received during the past few days. Almost in unanimity,
with a tinge of nostalgia and leaving little room for misinterpretation,
these adherents and critics of my sociopolitical thesis offered a resounding
theme: Putin is all about leadership… and diplomacy.
precisely, most say, what the US has lacked in the sorry figures of the last
four presidents, the two Bushes (father and son), Clinton, and the current
occupant of the White House, Barack Obama.
That political envy
portrayed in the comments I’ve received are echoed by much of what I am
seeing being published in the last two days. Even under the formidable
pressure from the Ukrainian powder keg, the consensus remains that Putin
will maintain control of the situation for the benefit of Russia as well as
other eastern Slavic people; even if that means a head-on confrontation with
the European Union and the US. But that’s a topic requiring its own
journalistic venue. Now, we are bidding adieu to Sochi, where we have
experienced an outing of our own closeted political envy.
leaving this Winter Olympics, however, we should bring to light a last-ditch
effort in idiocy two days ago by sportscaster Bob Costas, a key sports
presenter for NBC, and apparent lackey-in-charge at the Sports Desk for
Corporate America. His tirade was strictly self-serving, leaving a
shattered image of a classless a$$hole, his words and uncalled for
criticisms drown by the great success of the Sochi Olympiad.