Football is War

The notion that international sporting competitions inevitably inspire warm fraternity – an idea advanced by Baron de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic games – is a romantic fiction. With the World Cup upon us, we should recall Arthur Koestler's maxim that there is nationalism, and there is football nationalism – and that the latter is the more deeply felt.

NEW YORK – The flags are already flying, from Holland to Argentina, from Cameroon to Japan. Soon the drums will be beating, the trumpets blowing. Colors will be unfurled, and battle cries will sound. It’s that time again: the World Cup is upon us.