2014’s World Cup may be only just over, but the politics of the 2018 World Cup are already a subject of discussion. Over at The Daily Beast, Tunku Varadarajan suggests that a genuine way to punish Vladimir Putin for MH17 (and whatever else) would be to take the World Cup away from Russia.
How does one punish the autocratic, omnipotent president of a quasi-superpower? It is much harder to do so than to spank the piddling ruler of a smallish rogue state, but options exist. Putin believes that a World Cup in Russia can be sold to his people as an endorsement of his rule. Why should the world become an accomplice in a dictator’s Ponzi scheme of pride? As he preened for the cameras at the World Cup finalin Rio de Janeiro on July 13, it was clear that Putin regards Russia’s staging of the cup’s next edition asa propaganda godsend, a global vote for his achievements. Imagine his consternation if he were prevented from putting on such a show.
Not that the original choice to award Russia the 2018 slot (or Qatar the 2022) wasn’t already widely criticized based on allegations of kickbacks and vote-buying.
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