The soft diplomacy of low expectations

The secretary of state's Latin America trip continues:

While in Montevideo, Mrs. Clinton met with President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay and President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, congratulating him for accepting a Constitutional Court ruling that denied him the opportunity to run for a third term

Yes, it's definitely a good thing that Uribe isn't ignoring the court ruling and attempting to illegally extend his term, but does it really merit a congratulations?


Are the Winter Olympics getting more diverse?

When the Olympics first started, I directed this blog's readers to "White Snow, Brown Rage," Reihan Salam's Slate opus on diversity and the Winter Olympics. At the time, I wondered how globalization has impacted the winter games -- are more countries participating? Winning medals?

The answer is to both question is yes, as you can see above. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the number of countries participating in the Winter Olympics has skyrocketed -- with the number of medal winners increasing in turn. (It's a bit hard to see on the graph, but the percentage of countries winning medals has held at around 30 percent since 1988.) 

That said, the Winter Olympics are just keeping pace with the Summer Olympics, as you can see on the chart below. Since 1988, the number of countries sending athletes to the summer games has increased around 46 percent, and around 44 percent for the winter games.