The Words of the Ward Family
We can recognize that in two of the most recent Olympic encounters -- Moscow in 1980 and Los Angeles in 1984 -- there was a very clear politicization of the Olympic games. If we wanted to point to the most blatant case of this kind of politicization in the twentieth century, we would have to go back to the Munich Games of 1936. Adolf Hitler saw the Olympics as an opportunity to proclaim the superiority of the Aryan race and the Third Reich.
Today, the Soviets and members of other Eastern bloc nations emphasize that there are two dimensions to educating and training an athlete: One, of course, is physical fitness; the other is revolutionary fervor. The Soviets believe, just as the Nazis did, that their athletic triumphs serve as a proclamation of the overwhelming superiority of their system.
The Soviet approach also involves a skewed viewpoint of morality. Lenin's definition of morality was developed in 1919 but still persists in the Soviet system and its philosophical texts today. According to Lenin, that which promotes the movement of society toward communism is moral. Such a perspective justifies cheating: If cheating in the Olympic Games promotes the movement of society toward communism, then it's moral.
Karl von Clausewitz, a famous German war tactician, once stated: "War is the pursuit of politics by other means': When Lenin came to power he changed the phrase around to be: "Politics is the pursuit of war by other means:' What he meant was that the world is in the midst of a war, and anything that can advance communist objectives is legitimate, whether it's politics, cultural exchange -- or even the Olympics. It was Lenin who, by 1919, had also legitimized terror as a justifiable means for the Soviet Union to achieve its goals.
In recent times South Korea, the site of the 1988 Summer Games, has had to cope with some very serious problems, such as the jailing of political dissidents, student uprisings, and national tragedies like the downing of the KAL 007. Korea also remains a divided nation, which is a source of tremendous grief to its people. There are constant confrontations along the 38th parallel and at Panmunjom. The DMZ between South and North Korea is like a strip of dynamite.
Today the five nations of Libya, Syria, Iran, Cuba -- and North Korea, together referred to as the Radical Entente, are the prime perpetrators of terrorism throughout the world. North Korea was responsible for the 1984 Rangoon bombings which killed half the members of the South Korean cabinet. Thus the possibility of terrorism and the need for security must be fundamental concerns in 1988.
North Korea has always had its doors almost completely closed to the rest of the world. Within its borders Kim Il Sung is constantly referred to as the Great Leader. Sometimes on one page of the North Korean newspaper you can read his name with flowery titles about a hundred times. He is a bona fide Stalinist leader -- the only one among all the communist nations of the world today. A whole history has been fabricated of Kim Il Sung as the individual responsible for liberating Korea from the Japanese. Also the North Korean people are continually told that the people of the South are in extreme poverty and dying from hunger every day. This propaganda is used to create revolutionary fervor to "liberate" them.
The big question is what Kim Il Sung will do at the time of the 1988 Olympics. It's going to be very difficult and embarrassing for him to keep the doors of his country closed and not permit his people to see the Olympics in the South. There's even been some discussion about having some of the events held in the North. Mainland China, which up until now has been creating ties mostly with North Korea, will also now have an opportunity to relate to South Korea. Will Kim use terror to obstruct the Games or prevent them from taking place? If not and the Games go forward smoothly, they could have tremendous geopolitical impact, at least as significant as the table tennis matches which opened relations between the United States and China.