The world’s attention has turned to the Summer Olympics. NBC Universal/NBC Sports Group, which has the Olympics franchise in the U.S., has once again brought into our homes the human drama, both in victory and defeat, that the Olympics provide every two years. The opening ceremony was uniquely British and showcased London and the U.K. to the world. After years of preparation, the London Olympics are creating lasting memories. We are now moving into track and field following Gabby Douglas’ inspirational individual all-around women’s gymnastic gold medal performance.
On the major league baseball front, the American League East race has lost some of the tight-packed drama from earlier in the season, and the best rivalry in professional sports, the Yankees vs. the Red Sox, seems to have lost some of its passion this season. The best pennant race between longtime rivals is out west with the Dodgers and Giants locked in a close race.
While the London Olympics is dominating the news and baseball fans in the U.S. are watching the pennant race out west, political and financial events are never far away. We cannot escape the fact that the Eurozone remains under pressure as the crisis of confidence drags on into its third year. Italy and Spain have been forced to borrow at exorbitant rates to meet their short-term borrowing needs and Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank try to lead Germany and the other Eurozone members to a solution to save the Euro and the single currency union.
Here in the U.S. we are getting ready for the September launch of the official presidential campaign, where President Barack Obama will take on the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. After a lengthy Republican primary season we move to the main event, and recent polls tell us that it will be a very close election, with the outcome hanging on several swing states, in particular, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia. The advertising spent in these states will set new records. After all the other issues are moved to the side, the outcome will rest on how the voters feel about the economy and the recovery since the Crisis.
Finally, the world remains on the sidelines while the Syrian Civil War unfolds before us. The Arab Spring has given way to a stalemate, where the United Nations has proven ineffective again and Kofi Annan has resigned as the Special Envoy after failing to bring about a lasting cease-fire. The human carnage of lost lives has reached 20,000 and is climbing with the battle for Aleppo. Bashar Al-Assad, once viewed in the west as a potential reformer, continues to hang on to power with the backing of China and Russia in the United Nations Security Council and day-to-day support from Iran. At this point, neither side appears ready for a negotiated ceasefire and Al-Assad is not open to regime change. From the vantage point of our long-term allies in the region, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, this civil war is very unsettling. Iran’s intentions and role in arming the current Syrian regime are clearly cause for concern.