Cold War Rhetoric: Strategy, Metaphor, and Ideology

By Robert L. Ivie; Philip Wander et al. | Go to book overview

1
Cold War and Rhetoric: Conceptually and Critically

Robert L. Scott

On February 1, 1980, President Jimmy Carter addressed the National Conference on Physical Fitness and Sports for All. After a brief introduction in which he quipped about his well-known penchant for jogging being no threat to marathon runners Bill Rogers and Frank Shorter, the president said:

This is a time of determination, a time of sober assessment, a time of challenge. I changed my prepared remarks at the last minute to say a few things that I think are important to the American people and particularly to you. I'd like to begin by paying a special tribute to a group that deserves the praise and support of all Americans, the United States Olympic Committee. Recently, I declared on behalf of the American people that unless the Soviet forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan, that the 1980 Olympic games should be moved from Moscow, canceled, or postponed. Both Houses of Congress, I think speaking accurately for the American people, have concurred strongly in that judgment. And last weekend, the United States Olympic Committee voted, I believe unanimously, to support the strong national sentiment on this issue. It was not an easy decision for me, nor for the Congress, nor for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Their decision was difficult, and it was a courageous action which deserves our praise and our support.1

Of course we know now that the Olympics were neither moved from Moscow nor canceled or postponed, and that few other nations joined the United States in boycotting the summer games. Further, the boycott raised some controversy in this country. Soviet troops remained in Afghanistan. What did Jimmy Carter hope to achieve? That question is difficult to answer in detail, but it is not risky to say that he hoped to achieve more than he did.

In almost any human situation, response is important. Carter indicates as much in his speech in citing the action of Congress as "speaking accurately for the American people" and the action of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The national executive worked hard to assure those

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