No easy game to play

by Lorenzo Piccoli

My article on small nations, nationalism and the Olympics has been published today on The International Political Forum.

Nationalism still plays a fundamental role in several fields of international relations, from war to politics – it is not by chance that “war made the state and the state made war”[1]; and then, war was substituted by politics, which were merely “its continuation by other means”[2]. Looking back at the last 50 years, however, I would dare to add a third field where the essence of nationalist feelings have tended to emerge quite clearly: sport. In 1945 already, George Orwell (certainly not the kind of academic one would expect to join Charles Tilly and Carl Von Clausewitz in their debates) put it very simply: sport is “war minus the shooting: […] At the international level sport is frankly mimic warfare”[3].