The Political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 U.S. Boycott

By Derick L. Hulme Jr. | Go to book overview

3
The Domestic Campaign

In order for a boycott to accomplish the dual, interrelated objectives of punishing the Soviet Union while demonstrating the ability and the will of the United States to utilize its full diplomatic resources to assume a leadership position on a pressing world issue, Carter was required to act on two broad fronts. First, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) had to be "convinced" that its support of governmental policy was crucial, and accordingly agree to abide by White House decisions. Failure to gain solid domestic backing would cripple the strategy as a whole, and particularly efforts in the second arena in which the boycott scenario was to be played out. This second front was the international one. As we have seen, Carter was, with good reason, reluctant to undertake any action on a unilateral basis. Not only would such efforts likely be ineffectual, they would also leave the United States in an isolated, vulnerable position. Soviet propaganda would exploit any unsupported action, rendering U.S. policy counterproductive. It was essential to rally as much worldwide support as possible, presenting Moscow with a united front of Western, and hopefully Third World, nations.

Although the process by which the boycott was effected was marked by a complex interplay of domestic and international maneuverings, in the interest of analytic clarity these two processes will be treated independently. While such an analysis may distort reality, it will allow us to grasp@ more readily the divergent obstacles faced by Carter in the two distinct milieux in which he was forced to operate. Because the barriers to success were different in nature, tactics had to be formulated independently in order to influence domestic policy and to direct international sentiment toward a common position.

-21-

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The Political Olympics: Moscow, Afghanistan, and the 1980 U.S. Boycott
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments iv
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Boycott Decision 17
  • 3 - The Domestic Campaign 21
  • 4 - The International Campaign 43
  • 5 - Consequences of the Boycott 75
  • 6 - Endemic Obstacles to the Boycott 89
  • 7 - U.S. Shortcomings 105
  • 8 - Evaluation of the Use of the Boycott 123
  • Notes 129
  • Selected Bibliography 169
  • Index 171
  • About the Author 181
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