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The Olympic ideal is free of political conflict. But from Jesse Owens in Berlin to this year's refugee team, some of the Games' most striking images have sprung when sports and world affairs collide. So much so that the temptation is always great to think of the Olympics as a jersey-wearing reflection of current events.


As we near Sunday's closing ceremonies, the three leaders of the medal table in Rio may offer lessons in the wobbly balance of world powers. A rising China apparently isn't too happy about sitting third, trailing behind the UK and the U.S. The Chinese news agency Xinhua even called Team China's performance "the worst Olympic flop." But as Beijing-based Caixin points out, the fact that Chinese defeats no longer trigger tears and public apologies from the athletes may be a sign of a maturing global leader.


In second place sits Great Britain — the highest it's been since 1908. In a country currently struggling with its sense of belonging in the wake of Brexit, independence supporters, including Eurosceptic-in-chief Nigel Farage, were quick to capitalize on Olympic patriotism, going as far as suggesting that UK's success may actually have something to do with the decision to leave the European Union.


Meanwhile, at the top of the medal board and in the midst of highly charged presidential campaign, the U.S. has descended into online bickering about whether gymnast Gabby Douglas should have put her hand over her heart during the national anthem.


It all may leave us scratching our heads. And yet, if war is considered the continuation of politics by other means, then the Olympics are surely a better way to play.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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