Friday, May 14, 2010

The World Cup: High Politics and Low Journalism

. Friday, May 14, 2010

For some reason, IR students and scholars seem to be much more interested in soccer. Maybe it's because it's the world's sport. Maybe it's because significant international events like the Football War have been influenced by the game. Maybe it's because researchers can link soccer performance to national cultures of violence (pdf). Pop social scientists and public intellectuals have also found soccer a ripe subject for examining the world.

IPE@UNC is no exception. We've had a lot of posts discussing soccer and its role in international politics. So I was pleased today to see a couple of news items relating soccer and international studies. First, Emmanuel points out how soccer broadcasts may be used as a type of weapon by South Korea on North Korea:

Recently, the South Koreans have claimed that the fatal sinking of one of their military vessels was due to foul play from the North Koreans. While we wait for more solid evidence to this effect from the South Koreans, it seems they have come up with their own unique way to get back at Dear Leader Kim Jong-il's strange play acting. It turns out that, in the absence of a solid telecommunications infrastructure, North Korea relies on South Korea to provide a retransmission of international broadcasts of the World Cup. So, if South Korea really wants to turn the screws into North Korea, it's "no World Cup football for you, murderous regime."

If this is true it will have to go down as one of the strangest sanctions threats in the history of international politics, if it even qualifies as a sanctions threat. Is there a demand attached, or is this mere retaliation? And could this possibly have a real effect on politics within the DPRK, or on relations between the North and South? I doubt it, but I suppose stranger things have happened.

Like this:

Gize? Srsly. South Africa is not a continent. But if it were it wouldn't be South America. Unless, as Deadspin notes, South Africa just won a war that nobody knew about. Come on, people! It's almost World Cup time! Time to start figuring out where other places are! We've only got a month!


The World Cup: High Politics and Low Journalism
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