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Obama's Olympic Lobbying -- Undermining a Key Relationship

6:00 PM, Sep 28, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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So far unremarked upon in Obama's about face in deciding to go to Copenhagen to press for Chicago's Olympic bid is the potential fallout for U.S. relations with Brazil. Brazil is an emerging regional power (one of the BRIC countries), and critical for efforts to balance the subversive leftism of Chavez and his ilk with the electorally-based leftism of President Lula. Brazil, the most populous country in South America, is important for the U.S. over a wide range of issues--energy (nearly self-sufficient in ethanol), economics, environment, and security. By virtually all accounts, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro are the finalists for the 2016 Olympics. South America has never hosted an Olympics and there is huge national and regional pride behind Brazil's bid. President Lula himself is going to Copenhagen and has been heavily involved in making the case for 2016.

By deciding to personally intervene on behalf of the Chicago machine's Olympic bid, if successful, Obama threatens to damage a critical relationship in Latin America. I doubt if Lula and 200 million Brazilians would be too pleased if the Yankee colossus derailed their Olympic bid at the last minute. Maybe Obama thinks the fallout would be worth it to get the Games for his Windy City cronies (think of the real estate opportunities for Tony Rezko, the book sales it could generate for Bill Ayers, the proselytizing Reverend Wright could do).