David Post over at the Volokh Conspiracy has an interesting post up today in which he notes that because many nations seem to care more about their national teams than their government, it might not be a bad idea to pump money into Iraq’s national soccer team to help bring some unity to the country. His point certainly carries weight, and while I wasn’t a huge fan (for other reasons) of the Fifa “one game changes everything” commercials, they may be onto something as well.
In the world of nation building, much weight has certainly been put into “winning over the people” tactics to compliment normal democratic development. It seems like soccer, or athletics in general, could play a role. For a taste of what it could look like, just remember Iraq’s soccer team’s improbable run to the Olympic semifinals in Athens. That may be the most united Iraq has been post-Saddam.