Here’s what may be the most memorable of the recent US campaign attack ads. Set in Beijing in 2030, it shows a Chinese professor, flanked by Maoist propaganda, lecturing his class on the collapse of the US empire after wasteful “stimulus spending”, “massive changes to health care” and “government takeovers” led to unsustainable debt levels.
It ends on the intentionally chilling line: “Of course, we owned most of their debt . . . so now they work for us,” and the students laugh along.
The ad, produced by Citizens Against Government Waste, taps into atavistic fears of “sneaky foreigners”, of “socialism” and of American decline. It is also, as the Atlantic’s James Fallows notes, plainly contradictory: China’s (successful) anti-recession policy relied on a $586bn stimulus package and state intervention in private industry. But the ad is unlikely to be any less effective for that.
Hat-tip: the Atlantic.