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On GeopoliticsNov 1, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
The national flags of China and the United States.
By Mixing Tech and Human Rights Sanctions on China, the White House Crosses the Rubicon
Conspicuously absent from an emerging China-U.S. trade truce is the outstanding issue of U.S. export restrictions against Huawei. The omission reveals an uncomfortable and growing reality for U.S. tech firms: Politically convenient trade truces will come and go, but the strategic competition between the United States and China is deepening. Technology is a fundamental component of this broader rivalry, which also makes it a radioactive element in the trade talks and a prime target for China hawks advocating a decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese economies. At this stage of the competition, national security, human rights and sovereignty are getting mashed together along with American public attitudes on how to contend with China when it comes to shaping U.S. policy. As a result, the political room to negotiate on an issue like Huawei is narrowing by the day, driving a more hard-line U.S. policy toward China overall.
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On GeopoliticsOct 18, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
This picture shows a Chinese demonstrator throwing back a tear gas bottle during an anti-Japan protest in September 2012.
China's Risky Return to Nationalism
Chinese nationalism is once again on the rise. From the public military spectacle showcased at the Oct. 1 National Day parade, to the recent slew of boycotts against foreign firms for their perceived support of the Hong Kong protests, a burst of patriotic fervor has increasingly made its way into China's state policies, public behaviors and business decisions. It's no coincidence that this chauvinist surge has occurred in tandem with Beijing's rising strategic and ideological clashes with the United States and its allies over democracy and human rights issues in places like Hong Kong and Tibet. Today, Chinese patriotism can be characterized as an uneasy relationship between the population's feelings of pride, hopes and anxiety about the country's future, as well as a deep ambivalence toward the West. And the Communist Party has expertly harnessed these feelings to reinforce its role as the guardian of the Chinese state, emboldened a renewed sense of foreign
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Contributor PerspectivesOct 17, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
This photo shows a protester in Hong Kong waving a banner of support for NBA team executive Daryl Morey.
China Calls a Foul, and the NBA Jumps
A groundbreaking game four decades ago in Beijing gave the NBA a toehold in basketball-crazy China. Over the intervening years, the league has tapped a gold mine in the country worth billions of dollars in TV rights and endorsements. The importance to the NBA of maintaining its Chinese operations became evident in the careful steps it's had to take to escape the political minefield that it found itself thrown into by an executive's tweet over Hong Kong.
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Contributor PerspectivesOct 1, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
The Turkish city of Zonguldak used a photo of German soccer star Mesut Ozil posing with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a ceremony in which a city street was named for the footballer, who has Turkish ancestry.
A Pair of Photo Ops Blurs the Lines Between Athlete and Activist
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently returned from a trip to Germany, where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an attempt to ease the strained relationship between their countries. Among the issues between them remains Ankara's response to the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016. After the dust settled, Erdogan led a large and wide-ranging purge that included the arrest of over 50,000 civil servants, including dual German-Turkish nationals, drawing criticism from Berlin. But one of the latest sources of tension stems not from aftershocks of the failed revolution, but rather from a seemingly simple photograph. Before the World Cup soccer tournament in Russia over the summer, Erdogan posed for photos at a charity event with three Premier League players: Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and Everton forward Cenk Tosun. All three have Turkish roots but grew up in Germany. And Ozil and
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Contributor PerspectivesApr 27, 2018 | 15:52 GMT
Protesters angry over water management took their grievances to the Chennai Super Kings home stadium.
Play-by-Play: A Water Dispute Spills Into Cricket and a Rich Offer for FIFA
The first full month of spring brought a ton of entertaining sports action, including the Commonwealth Games, the return of baseball and an exciting start to the NBA and NHL playoffs. The ugly side of competition also reared its head in April in the lead up to Champions League play in Liverpool, where nine Italian soccer hooligans were arrested after violence with Liverpool fans, casting an unfortunate shadow over a fantastic match. On the geopolitical side of the field, the past month brought headlines from some of our usual suspects, like FIFA, in addition to a contentious moment in Indian cricket and some rumblings of note from the U.S. legal system.
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Contributor PerspectivesMar 19, 2018 | 16:29 GMT
The Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers squared off for a game in London on Oct.31, 2010, as part of the NFL International Series, launched in 2007.
The NFL Moves the Goalposts Overseas
Whatever the reason behind it, the decline in viewership is troubling for the NFL commissioner, especially when combined with falling participation rates in youth tackle football. As interest in watching and playing football stagnates, the long-term sustainability of the NFL in its current form becomes more uncertain. And if the NFL's traditional model for drawing fans and future players to the sport is buckling under a constellation of factors shaped by evolving consumer behavior, the next question that arises is where future fans will come from. A study recently reported that American men between the ages of 18 and 25 indicate a preference for watching esports over traditional sports. Women, meanwhile, already make up around 45 percent of the NFL's viewership, and the league's recent efforts at direct outreach to women are overdue to say the least. To survive in the long run, the NFL will necessarily rely on courting
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Contributor PerspectivesJan 15, 2018 | 09:06 GMT
Liberia's star soccer player turned politician George Weah shakes hands with former children soldiers in Monrovia.
Hat Tricks and Halos: How Athletes Become Politicians
Last week I found myself discussing former athlete George Weah's new political career with an old friend from the Argentine café days. The conversation drifted to the broader topic of athletes who become politicians, and why voters might be compelled to vote for people whose professional lives centered on throwing a ball or punching someone in the head. I'll concede in advance that my investigation of this topic is far from complete, but I think it raises some interesting questions.
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Contributor PerspectivesDec 18, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
Will North Korea's nuclear-weapons and missile-testing regimes prevent the United States from participating?
Play-by-Play: Looking Ahead and Looking Back
In the wake of November's test launch of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile, more joint exercises by the U.S. and South Korean militaries, and U.S. President Donald Trump’s semi-regular prodding of North Korea's leaders on Twitter, it was unsurprising when Olympic security concerns, which Austin Duckworth had examined in a September column, made the U.S. headlines earlier this month.
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Contributor PerspectivesDec 4, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
A fan of the Manchester City squad of the English Premier League shows off his festive spirit before a home match in December.
Gifts for the Geopolitically Curious Sports Fan
We look forward to the holiday season for a few extra days off, perhaps a chance to indulge in some leisure reading by a calming fireplace or in a bustling airport terminal. And, of course, there are gifts to be given, both to loved ones and to one's self. Toward that end, it is the holiday pleasure of the Geopolitics of Sports team to share our holiday recommendations with you. Our list is made up almost entirely of books, but we don't think that's a bad thing. Although these types of lists tend to serve up recent offerings, we've decided to take a slightly different approach, focusing primarily on selections that could become the building blocks of a sports-flavored geopolitical library. If you've enjoyed our columns during this feature's rookie year, we expect you'll find something below that stimulates, enlightens and even entertains.
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Contributor PerspectivesSep 25, 2017 | 09:15 GMT
Sports: America's Well-Kept Socialist Secret
Sports: America's Well-Kept Socialist Secret
In American professional leagues, there is no cost for performing poorly and finishing at the bottom. In fact, there is a reward. The exact process differs a bit from league to league, but in the simplest terms, in the NBA, NFL and NHL, the worst teams are entitled to the first picks in the amateur player draft the following season. This is done in the interest of some nebulous idea known as "parity," but it doesn't take an economist to recognize the irony. In American sports -- our most bountiful source of metaphors for free market competition -- the norm is actually bright red, redistributive socialism: Fail to compete and reap the spoils.
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Contributor PerspectivesSep 4, 2017 | 12:23 GMT
Defensive end Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks looks on prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Aug. 18, 2017, in Seattle, Washington.
Pro Sports and Protest: Players Put Their Mouths Ahead of Their Money
For the National Football League (NFL) -- the world's richest sports league -- the 2017 season was supposed to be restorative. Last year, the organization saw a precipitous 8 percent drop in television viewership, a relatively steep decline that was blamed on several factors. Some have argued that fans have been increasingly frustrated by the league's poor handling of off-field issues, especially those involving domestic violence incidents. Others noted that viewers were tuning out in response to the damning evidence of the relationship between football and traumatic brain injuries players suffer. But according to several polls, the politicization of the game has soured many fans, as the action on the field took a backseat to debates over pregame national anthem protests.
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Partner PerspectivesAug 4, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
The diplomatic break between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors threatens to pull Turkey into another Middle Eastern conflict.
Insights Into Turkish Domestic and International Politics (May-June 2017)
The diplomatic break between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors threatens to pull Turkey into another Middle Eastern conflict. In standing by Qatar, Turkey hopes to alleviate some of the pressure on the emirate, even if it could mean worsening tensions with Saudi Arabia. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be calculating that a demonstration of its military prowess is worth the trouble if a full-blown feud between Ankara and Riyadh can be avoided.
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Contributor PerspectivesJun 26, 2017 | 14:50 GMT
The Confederations Cup gives Russian venues that will host next year's global soccer championships a shakedown; innovative sports will mark their debuts in Tokyo in 2020.
Play-by-Play: A World Cup Prep Test and the Dawn of Olympic Skateboarding
In the United States, the arrival of summer heat brings the cooling of the sports calendar. In June, playoffs in two major pro leagues ended with some familiar teams on top: The NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins wrapped up their second straight Stanley Cup championship, while the NBA's juggernaut Golden State Warriors romped to their second title in three seasons. Two very different individual sports were also in the headlines: Brooks Koepka went home with golf's U.S. Open, while boxer Floyd Mayweather and mixed martial artist Conor McGregor announced an August date for their much hyped boxing match. In this odd-numbered year, there's a relatively sparse slate of international sports offerings for the summer months, although we have been keeping an eye on the America's Cup sailing races and the Confederations Cup, FIFA's pre-World Cup teaser tournament. This month, we'll take a closer look at that gathering of soccer champions and examine some
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Contributor PerspectivesJun 19, 2017 | 08:00 GMT
It's clear that the organizational stakeholders of U.S. football are finally motivated — or threatened — enough to re-envision a future for youth football that involves less contact.
Saving Football in America, the Canadian Way
USA Football, the national governing body of the amateur version of the sport, made a seemingly minor announcement on June 7 that may in fact symbolize one of the most dramatic paradigm shifts in the history of American athlete development. This fall, the organization will debut a pilot program called Rookie Tackle that will introduce a football training environment based on the principles of the American Development Model, a youth sports training philosophy imported from Canada that embraces a holistic approach to athletic development. To understand why this marks such a momentous shift for the United States -- and the role that Canada played in it -- it's helpful to look back to the Cold War.
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Contributor PerspectivesMay 29, 2017 | 13:26 GMT
Enes Kanter, a Turkish citizen who plays for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, thinks Turkey canceled his passport in retaliation for his outspoken criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Play-by-Play: Turkey's Long Arm, the Straight Dope and Medal Fatigue
May has been a busy month in the world of sports. Chelsea wrapped up its fifth English Premier League title, the finals for both the NBA and NHL playoffs have been set, and the Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball seasons are in full swing. There has also been plenty of news outside the stadiums. In this edition of Play-by-Play, I take a look at some of those stories.
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