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SPOTLIGHT: DOPING, FROM SOCHI TO RIO

The terminology itself is telling: "State-sponsored doping" is the accusation that the The New York Times reports the U.S. Department of Justice is now pursuing against Russian athletes and officials, linked to the use of banned substances at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and other competitions. "The inquiry escalates what has been a roiling sports controversy into a federal criminal case involving foreign officials," the paper writes. That "state-sponsored," an expression typically attached to such accusations as terrorism or genocide, is now describing an alleged system of sports cheats may simply be a convenient journalistic or legalistic turn of phrase. But in this case, it is also a window into the Kremlin leadership, its attitude toward international oversight — and the importance their macho president places on athletic performance.


But this case is also a reminder of how many fields come into play when world-class sporting competitions are at stake: economics, politics, celebrity, ethics, and so on. Last year's revelations about corruption at FIFA was described in often highly-charged language All eyes will now be on Rio de Janeiro, and the 2016 Summer Games. Needless to say, host country Brazil faces plenty of challenges when it comes to economics, politics, ethics and so on...

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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