THE OLYMPIC MOVEMENT IN WORLD AFFAIRS
To: J. Villiers, E. Landis, J.R. Montgomery et al:
Many thanks for your comments.
In answer to questions concerning the potential of the Olympic Movement to influence the behavior of nations, I will say that with the developments in transportation and communications since 1896 diplomatic activity has dissipated over a wider range of activities including economic, social, and technological matters. The increasing complexity of diplomatic practice has resulted in a general acceptance that diplomacy is more than dialogue between sovereign states and their accredited representatives for it now includes dialogue with non-state entities. These entities include subnational groups with political aspirations and international organizations whose avowed purpose is not political.
The latter includes international sports organizations, most especially, the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In the early twentieth century, the internationalism that followed the First World War and led to the founding of the League of Nations also led to early efforts to develop a role for the Olympic Movement in the wider political arena. But with the decline of the League these early efforts came to an end while the Olympic Movement focused on its original aspirations. With the end of the Cold War, the internationalist aspirations have reemerged as can be seen in the collaboration between the IOC and the Leagues successor, the United Nations. Noteworthy are the efforts to revive the Olympic Truce and the collaboration between the IOC and other international non-governmental organizations.
Yet the recent successes the Olympic Movement has experienced as a factor in international rapprochement must be offset by the damage done by the corruption scandal and the involvement of politicians in reforming the IOC as well as their involvement in decision-making concerning domestic and international sport. One may even argue that the efforts of the Olympic Movement to influence world affairs has left it more vulnerable to political influence and the influence of the IOC somewhat diminished.