I am glad that Rio got the Olympics. Brazil is an emerging powerhouse, and South America has never received an Olympics before. Its about time.
Further, the simple fact is that no city in the United States deserved it. If the Olympics are really supposed to be about increasing international cooperation, giving to the Unites States now would be a terrible decision. Here is why:
The fact is that we don't deserve to host such an important international event of cultural cooperation until we actually start cooperating with the rest of the world. In fact, I am pretty sure that is exactly why we didn't get the 2016 Games.
- The United States hosted the Summer games in 1984 and 1996, as well as hosting the Winter Games in 1980 and 2002. If this is really about co-operation, one country should not be hosting one out of every four Olympic Games.
- The last time the United States hosted the Olympics, the leaders of the host city's bid team were charged with bribery by the Justice Department, and ten members of the International Olympic Committee were expelled under related corruption implications. Not exactly the best image for an event that is supposed to be about international fair play.
- It is more difficult for people from many countries to enter the United States than to enter other nations. Again, if this is really about international cooperation, that makes the United States a pretty poor choice.
- The United States recently invaded another country under false pretenses and against the dictates of international law. No country doing that should be given the Olympics for a long, long time.
- The Unites States failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, unlike virtually every other country in the world. Why the one country unwilling to protect the planet from climate disaster should be allowed to host the premier event of international cultural co-operation is difficult to fathom.
- Other examples of our lack of international co-operation include extraordinary rendition, the use of torture, not being a signatory to the land mine treaty, and the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. There is a very long list of our refusals to accept international standards for pretty much anything.
We may often not think that there are any forms of sanctions the rest of the world can levy on us for our actions, but the harsh reception to Chicago's bid--the first city to be eliminated once the political (that is, voting) stage of the finals began--shows that there are. Whether we like it or not, the rest of the world has not taken kindly to the list of actions I presented above. Not getting the Olympics is the first real comeuppance.
This defeat was exactly the outcome should be expected after our actions over the past decade. The 2008 election was not enough to just obviate everything have done--and continue to do--against the wishes of most of the rest of the world. Either we change, or international rejections of this sort will become more frequent.
Update: Oh yeah--as commenter Adam in Portland writes, there was also that bit about the United States crashing the worldwide financial system and sending the world into its deepest recession since World War Two. Bet that made us real popular, too.