From Toronto Star:
When Toronto was bidding to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the mayor of Rome gave the bid team some advice, having just lost Rome’s bid to host in 2004 to a sentimentally attractive campaign by Athens. According to Francesco Rutelli, the IOC veers between safe “technical” bids and “political” bids representing a more daring “idea.”
Toronto’s campaign turned out sadly underwhelming and embarrassed by the city’s goofy mayor, but wariness persisted that the still semi-totalitarian Chinese regime might damage the Games.
Still, the bigger and more interesting question was its opposite: What could hosting the Games do to the Chinese regime? Nine months from the event, it is apparent that the optimists may have had it right. The responsibility of hosting the world is having a positive effect on Chinese policy. But will it last past next summer? [Full Text]
Jeremy Kinsman was Canada’s ambassador to the European Union.