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The Daily Vertical: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

Russia's doping scandal puts the International Olympic Committee in something of a bind.

If the Russian team is banned from the Summer Games in Rio, it would be an unprecedented move and the 2016 Olympics will forever have an asterisk attached to them.

With a major sports powerhouse excluded, this year's games would be seen as significantly diminished.

But if the Russian team is not banned after such a massive and brazen state-sponsored cheating program was exposed, this year's games -- and the Olympic movement in general -- will forever be tainted.

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With a proven cheater allowed to compete, the integrity of the games would be damaged.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

And in this sense, sports is just another aspect of foreign affairs for the Kremlin.

It's just another international arena where Moscow is breaking all the rules, smirking, and daring the world to do something about it.

Russia's addiction to doping, its intervention in Ukraine, its violations of Western air and sea space, its abduction of Estonian law-enforcement officer Eston Kohver, its kidnapping of Nadia Savchenko, and its culpability for the downing of Flight MH17 are all parts of a single whole.

They stem from a belief that the rule of law is a joke and is only for sissies.

In fact, it's highly appropriate that the doping-infested Sochi Olympics wrapped up just weeks before the annexation of Crimea.

Because in reality, these things are really two sides of the very same coin.

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