As Olympic openings go, I suppose Sochi’s could have been weirder. Athletes and visitors discovered the Black Sea beach town lacked creature comforts like floors, windows and working doors. Others learned the tap water was almost dirty enough to warrant a commercial starring a tearful Sally Struthers, promising: “For the cost of your morning latte, you could protect thousands of elite athletes from confusing southern Russia for northern Mexico.” And of course, major elements of the production worked as well as a Ukrainian nuclear power plant. It is Russia, after all.
Not long after the Russian TV producers somehow managed to convince President Vladimir Putin that the mega-snowflake-to-Olympic-rings trick hadn’t bombed like an overweight ski jumper, the U.S. Olympians made their entrance. Given our less-than-cordial relationship with the Russians of late, I wouldn’t have been stunned if the well-below-capacity crowd booed our squad — or at least fired off that weird hissing thing they do at sports Americans don’t watch on television. But they really didn’t seem to care any more about our athletes than they did about the Lithuanians, who have demonstrated much more backbone in dealing with Vlad the President.
Of course, much of the rest of the world obviously doesn’t like us. And who can honestly blame them? We obviously don’t care about them. We’re embarrassing, and I don’t mean in the “ugly, arrogant American” sense with which we used to be viewed. I mean in the “these guys have lost their marbles” sense.
Under the regime of President Barack Obama, the United States has progressed from fighting against al-Qaida from Afghanistan to the Maghreb to sending al-Qaida care packages to Syria from the Maghreb. We’ve gone from interning foreign detainees at Gitmo to interning foreign detainees at Gitmo. When islamofascists murdered four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, we blamed the crime on a YouTube video almost no one had ever seen. Susan Rice lied to Congress and got promoted. Hillary Clinton lied to Congress about the same thing and will almost certainly be the Democrats’ Presidential nominee in 2016. And the Democratic Party, whose number includes our commander in chief, spends more time calling their fellow citizens “terrorists” than they do calling the actual terrorists “terrorists.”
We’re not even nice to our friends anymore. Obama’s choice to be Ambassador to Argentina, a deep-pockets political consultant named Noah Bryson Mamet, admitted during his Senate confirmation hearings that he’s never visited the country to which he will now represent American interests. At least he knows where Argentina is located. Obama recently sold the post of United States Ambassador to Norway to a campaign bundler named George Tsunis. During his confirmation hearing, Tsunis, who paid $500,000 for the posting, essentially revealed that he struggles to find Norway on a map of Scandinavia.
Last summer, Putin made Obama cower like a teenage girl in a slasher movie. The Chinese are pulling ahead of us on the world stage. The Iranians are now mocking Obama on Twitter with jokes about “Rouhanicare.” Even the North Koreans are laughing at us.
The Russians can’t successfully finish the plumbing in time for an Olympic Games despite a seven-year head start. In fact, Russia is downright Third World when it comes to almost any reasonable standards. Things don’t work right in Russia, with the exception of treachery and potato liquor. Yet the Sochi Games serve as a stern reminder: Russia might be Third World, but we’re definitely third place in the world these days.