Halfway through the Olympics: #1 in a rapid-fire series

1) Never to be forgotten: It's good for the Chinese people and good for everyone else that the Olympics have overall gone as smoothly as they have -- air quality improving, no deal-breaking logistics problems -- and that so many Chinese athletes have done so well. This is notwithstanding a number of the less-positive points we'll get to shortly. Considering all the different ways in which China has interacted with the world in the last 50 years, considering all the challenges ordinary Chinese people have to put up with, it's beneficial and, and, by any rational standard, non-threatening to have national energies channeled into this kind of competition. It's touching to see so many ordinary Chinese crowds cheering for their new heroes.

1A)  Related point: Positive Chinese nationalism - the "I love China" decals on many people's faces - should not be threatening to anybody else. History is full of examples of "rising national powers" getting the big head, feeling arrogant, and doing dangerous things. That's not the main feeling I get here.  It's negative Chinese nationalism, like what appeared after the protests over the Olympic torch relay in April, that we should worry about. So a confident China is to be congratulated; a victimized-feeling China is the one to be feared.