Doug Mataconis passes along this ad from Citizens Against Government Waste:
It’s probably a pretty effective ad – James Fallows thinks it’s an instant classic – but I found it also kind of bizarre. I mean, it’s not entirely implausible that someday a Chinese professor will be giving a high tech lecture on the downfall of America – but would he really critique America along these lines? Government spending, taxation, stimulus – these aren’t exactly policies that the Chinese government would oppose given the massive amount of state control the Communist Paty exerts over every facet of Chinese life, given their own stimulus efforts and so forth (though I suppose a future Chinese regime might have morphed into something entirely unlike its present form).
The debt fear-mongering makes more sense, but loads of debt in the hands of the Chinese doesn’t lead to some sort of indentured servitude. China needs its export to survive and they can’t export to an enslaved American populace. But that’s not really the point of an ad. These are meant to strike fear into the hearts of voters, and this one will probably do that just fine.
My exit question: if in a hypothetical future, a Chinese professor is giving this lecture for real – what would he identify as the causes of American decline? And I don’t mean to ask what you think the causes will be, but how do you suppose the Chinese would analyze said decline?