Endemic Obstacles to the Boycott
The United States-sponsored boycott encountered numerous obstacles in the course of its implementation. Foremost among these barriers were difficulties endemic to any attempt to effect a boycott of the Olympic Games. These problems would have existed for any administration, and were not the result of incompetence or miscalculation. A second category of difficulties, however, stemmed directly from shortcomings associated with the White House. Errors were made, for a variety of reasons, which heightened the problem of developing a broadly based international response to the Afghanistan invasion focusing upon the Olympic Games. Once we identify the two distinct causes for the boycott's difficulties, we will be able to determine how the failure to implement the boycott appropriately compounded the problems inherent in this particular endeavor.
Lacking a centralized decision-making and enforcement body, the horizontally structured international system presents significant obstacles to those states seeking to act in collective fashion. 1 While powerful states can, if willing to expend the necessary resources, use force or the threat of force to gain the support of lesser states, such efforts are costly and create resentment. However, absent such tactics, collective action remains elusive; states tend to pursue what they perceive as their own short-term self-interest since each state is forced to perceive all other states as actual or potential threats. 2