IOC President Is A Paper Tiger On The Korean Peninsula

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Back is a paper tiger in world politics and policy.


The International Olympic Committee, which has permanent observer status at the United Nations, is strangely quiet over the increasing tensions, at least in the media, between the United States and North Korea. The IOC President Thomas Bach usually interjects his opinion into world events but he is sitting this one out. Bach should have a major worry. One of the two IOC showcase events, the Winter Olympics, will be held next February in South Korea. The other showcase event, the Summer Olympics will take place in Japan in 2020. A look at the map shows South Korea sharing a border with North Korea and Japan is not very far away. While Bach has stayed mum, the governing body of the Olympics did release a statement.


“We are monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region very closely. The IOC is keeping itself informed about the developments. We continue working with the Organizing Committee on the preparations of these Games which continue to be on track.’’ The truth is simple. The International Olympic Committee, which thinks it has some special place in world affairs, has no power. Sure the IOC can make demands of potential host cities that include having local taxpayers pick up the bills of cost overruns or close off roads in order for IOC officials to get to a venue without having to sit in traffic. But it is up to local politicians and elected officials to cave and give into the IOC. When it comes to real world issues, Thomas Bach and his colleagues at the International Olympic Committee are paper tigers and have no teeth. The IOC talks about legacy but what is the legacy of the 1984 Sarajevo, Yugoslavia Olympics. That country no longer exists. The IOC put an Olympics in Beijing in 2008 despite protests from human rights organizations about China’s policies. As long as there is money, The Games Must Go On, no matter the conditions.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, left, is escorted by South Korea’s Prime Minister and acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn for a meeting in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Pool Photo via AP)