Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) floated the idea of boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia if Edward Snowden is granted temporary asylum. Then he broke the rule of comparisons that don’t relate to genocide, propaganda, early 20th century Europe or the like. The rule is this: if you can’t draw a direct link to the Nazis, Hitler, etc., don’t bring them up in 99.94% of comparisons. Most of us just round that sucker up to 100%, but not Lindsey Graham:
"If you could go back in time, would you have allowed Adolf Hitler to host the Olympics in Germany? To have the propaganda coup of inviting the world into Nazi Germany and putting on a false front?"
Ignoring the fact that if you could go back in time to Europe during the Holocaust, organizing a boycott of the Olympics is probably low on your list of priorities, you can’t see atrocities on the scale of the Holocaust from the shores of Russia’s crimes against humanity.
Jimmy Carter organized a boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics against Russia to protest Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. Say what you will about the boycott itself and how motivated it was by Cold War calculations, but an invasion is potentially something worthy of boycotting the Olympics for. Yes, Russia can legitimately be accused of some bad stuff. They have, as Graham points out, backed the Al-Assad regime in Syria and enabled Iran’s weapons program. It’s debatable whether the U.S. has the moral grounds to do something as diplomatically offensive as boycotting the Olympics over that, but if those are crimes worthy of boycotting the Olympics over, granting asylum to Edward Snowden, a morally ambiguous whistleblower really shouldn’t tip that decision one way or the other.