The eternal lure of nationalism
In a surprise overtime victory in the finals of the Olympic men's hockey tournament, the Russians defeated Germany, 4-3.
But the Russians were not permitted to have their national anthem played or flag raised, due to a past doping scandal. So, the team ignored the prohibition and sang out the Russian national anthem over the sounds of the Olympic anthem.
One recalls the scene in "Casablanca," where French patrons of Rick's saloon stood and loudly sang the "La Marseillaise" to drown out the "Die Wacht am Rhein" being sung by a table of German officers.
When the combined North-South Korean Olympic team entered the stadium, Vice President Mike Pence remained seated and silent. But tens of thousands of Koreans stood and cheered the unified team.
America may provide a defensive shield for the South, but Koreans on both sides of the DMZ see themselves as one people. And, no fool, Kim Jong Un is exploiting the deep tribal ties he knows are there.
Watching the Russians defiantly belt out their anthem, one recalls also the 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City where sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the podium, black gloved fists thrust skyward in a Black Power salute, asserting their separate racial identity
Western elites may deplore the return of nationalism. But they had best not dismiss it, for assertions of national and tribal identity appear to be what the future is going to be all about.
Some attendees at the CPAC conclave this past week were appalled that Britain's Nigel Farage and France's Marion Le Pen were present.
But Farage was the man most responsible for Brexit, the historic British decision to leave the EU. Le Pen is perhaps the most popular figure in a National Front party that won 35 percent of the vote in the runoff election won by President Emmanuel Macron.
And the most unifying stand of the NF appears to be "Let France be France!" The French people do not want their country invaded by unassimilable millions of migrants from Africa and the Islamic world.