Rio beats out Chicago for the 2016 Olympics, in the first round of voting, no less — despite the hands-on, closeup and personal fly-by from President Barack Obama himself. This is the best shocker to hit the White House since Obama took office.
Why? A Drudge Report headline sums it up: “The Ego Has Landed.”
So much for Obama’s starry-eyed assumption that by flashing a smile and reaching out his hand, he can prevail in the global arena. It’s a world of often-competing interests, some far more horrendous than the prospect of the Olympics going to Rio. Iran is right now taking America and U.S. allies for an enriched-uranium ride, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has been making common cause in America’s backyard with the likes of both Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi (Here’s my Forbes.com column this week, on “Despots are happy to cooperate — with each other”), and Russia and China are getting a lot of big, bad ideas about how far they can push their own undemocratic agendas without the U.S. pushing back.
To whatever extent this Olympic decision in Copenhagen brings Obama’s thinking down to earth, and grounds much bigger matters of foreign policy in the realities of world politics, this is an Olympic win for the United States.