The Olympics open under the clouds of war

The opening ceremonies of the 2022 Winter Olympics took place Friday in Beijing. Two thousand nine hundred athletes gathered from 91 countries and regions around the world to participate in the games.

The Olympic flag is carried into the stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The global pageantry of the Olympics, its celebration of extraordinary athletic feats achieved through competition and solidarity, retains the ability to move viewers around the world. There is breathtaking grace in figure skating and electric intensity in slalom. One senses, albeit unilaterally, the truth in Hamlet‘s lines describing humanity “infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable.”

Nationalism has always distorted this human core of the games, fragmenting the universality of competition behind the cutthroat rivalries of nation states. Imperialist warfare and great power rivalry disfigure the Olympics, turning sport into a form of politics in other ways. Inordinate sums of money in search of even greater profits – advertising, sponsorship contracts – flood the games, crushing the humanity, sometimes even the life, of the athletes.

Distortion has rarely, if ever, been as pronounced as it is today. The 2022 Winter Olympics in China are taking place in a world ravaged by disease and on the brink of global conflict. There is an air of unreality in the Olympic bubble, as just outside the safety of its confines, Washington spouts propaganda and lies to justify war with Russia over Ukraine and to attack China’s Zero-COVID public health measures as authoritarian, even fascist.

Athletes around the world are leaving countries plagued by mass death to the only country on the planet where the virus has been effectively eliminated. More than 900,000 Americans have died of COVID in less than two years, according to official figures, while in China, a country four times more populous, the death toll is less than five thousand.

Global capitalism, with the United States at its center, adamantly refuses to take the actions necessary to save human lives. Millions of people have died from a virus whose spread was entirely preventable. The pandemic has fundamentally destabilized social relations and in the developing struggles of the working class, whose very lives are at stake, the ruling elite glimpses the specter of revolution.

It was the crisis of capitalism, the need to quell unrest and secure reliable sources of profit, that drove Washington war mad. Over the past month, the United States, with NATO in tow, has piled on a mountain of baseless allegations and lies, all aimed at provoking a war with Russia over Ukraine, a war that , if it broke out, would inevitably spill over borders and trigger a global crisis. fire. Without stopping to breathe, Washington is spitting a flood of bile on China, an endless series of calumnies, each one more out of whack than the other. China is branded a “fascist,” a “genocidal regime,” repressive of its people, and a cold-blooded killer of puppies and hamsters.

The perilous geopolitical issues surrounding the Olympics found expression in the summit held before its opening ceremonies. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin met to deal with the mutual threat of US imperialism.

They issued a lengthy joint statement stating that “Russia and China oppose attempts by external forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions.” They expressed a common intention “to counter the interference of external forces in the internal affairs of sovereign countries under any pretext whatsoever, [and] oppose color revolutions. These statements ostensibly target the war machinations of Washington and NATO.

The statement continued, we “oppose further NATO enlargement and call on the North Atlantic Alliance to abandon its ideologized Cold War approaches.” Putin affirmed Russia’s support for the one-China principle, declared Taiwan an inalienable part of China, and opposed any form of Taiwan independence. More importantly, Putin and Xi reached an agreement for the sale of Russian oil and gas to China worth an estimated $117.5 billion.

The United States organizes a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the boycott was a response to the “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang”. The claim that China is engaged in the genocide of the Uyghur population is a lie made from whole cloth. Washington draws on Goebbels and Hitler’s playbook, employing the technique of the “big lie”, repeatedly insisting on a lie of such spectacular magnitude that no one questions it.

The Biden administration has attempted to orchestrate a global campaign of official boycotts involving other governments. A small number of close US allies followed suit, but the efforts were largely in vain. The end result was that the opening ceremonies were deprived of the presence of the usual entourage of senior US officials.

These are Olympic Games boycotted by the warmakers. Normally it’s the pacifists who won’t go to a country that is at war, but now it’s the opposite.

There is an objective logic to the rhetoric of lies promoted by Washington and its docile corporate media. Each must aggravate what came before. The headlines and editorial pages of the world’s leading newspapers are imbued with the spirit of war propaganda.

A grandstand in the Washington Post Monday argued that China was a “fascist state.” FoxNews speaks of the “Genocide Olympics”. the Economist depicts a young woman of dual American and Chinese nationality who has chosen to compete for China as a “cold warrior” robbed by a Chinese hand with chopsticks. China’s chauvinistic and openly racist targeting has immense consequences. Anti-Asian hate crimes rose 339% last year in the United States.

Washington had hoped his provocative rhetoric would encourage athletes to boycott the opening ceremonies, but almost none did. Eighty percent of the U.S. team participated and the majority of absentees were either in remote locations or in quarantine with COVID. Seeking to cover up the dismal failure of those provocations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she was “discouraging” Olympic athletes from protesting at the opening ceremony in Beijing, saying it was not worth the risk of retaliation from a ruthless Chinese government. .”

Every lie from Washington overturns reality. They accuse the only country in the world that has taken the necessary public health measures to stop the spread of COVID of “human rights violations”, as nearly a million Americans have died from the virus. They denounce China for suppressing information, as they work to stop reporting daily cases and the total death toll in the United States.

Washington declares its deep concern for the Uyghurs, then asks China to end its Zero-COVID policy. How many Uighurs would die if Beijing followed Washington’s dictates? If China really wanted to commit genocide, it could find no more effective way than to implement the domestic policies of the Biden administration.

China remains a country plagued by deep contradictions. Its extraordinary economic growth is driven by the intense exploitation of the working class and the foundations of its development rest on the bloody massacre of workers at Tiananmen. Washington’s allegations and denunciations of China are a pack of lies, but China is not an oasis of freedom and democracy.

China remains a prisoner of the fundamental problems posed by the 1949 revolution, deformed from the outset by the nationalist policy of its Stalinist leadership. It is impossible for the Chinese masses to free themselves from the threats of imperialism without a revolution of the working class in the advanced capitalist countries. The ruthless objective logic of the pandemic has demonstrated that it is impossible to eliminate Covid on a national basis. Outbreaks will happen again and again and will require aggressive measures to be contained.

The only way to end the pandemic and its reign of mass death is through a globally coordinated policy to eliminate the virus based on the scientific public health measures that have been put into practice in China. . The success or failure of Zero-COVID rests with the international working class.

The thrust of all Washington propaganda is that China must end its Zero-COVID policy. Every day that this policy persists reveals to the global working class that there is an alternative to global mass death. The Winter Olympics brought this alternative to the center of global attention.

As the opening ceremonies began in Beijing, the New York Times published an article titled “Zero-Covid in China” which made the following extraordinary statement: “China’s strategy would obviously not be possible in a country that emphasizes individual rights as much as the United States.

The conclusion that inexorably follows from this statement is that “individual rights,” as understood by the American ruling class, oppose – and are certainly seen as more important than – the protection and saving of lives. But what about the “individual rights” of the one million Americans who died because of the government’s refusal to implement effective public health measures? The only “right” left to a deceased person is the right to be buried.

In essence, when the Time speaks of “individual rights”, he is only interested in the “right” of capitalists to exploit labour, reap profits and accumulate massive personal wealth. Where this conception of “individual rights” predominates over the right to live, the policy of Zero-COVID, i.e. the prevention of viral transmission and the elimination and eradication of COVID-19, is “obviously”, as the Time admits bluntly—not possible.

It is a devastating exposition – through the authoritative voice of finance capital – of the current priorities of American society. the New York Timesin his attack on the Zero-COVID policy, unwittingly made a powerful argument for socialist revolution.

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