This article originally appeared in “The Australian” on 15 August 2008.
So much for the Olympic truce. Its failure to prevent the conflict between Russia and Georgia shows its idealistic fragility and is yet another realist victory over the neo-liberal view of international order.
The Olympic truce, or Ekecheiria, has its origins in the ancient Olympic era (776BC-AD394). According to historian Tony Perrottet, the truce was a sacred ceasefire honoured throughout the Greek world. For one month either side of the games, “wars were stalled, feuds were put aside and highwaymen laid low”, primarily to ensure the safe passage of competitors and spectators travelling to and from Olympia.