Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How China Views the Midterms

. Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Maybe more sensibly than we do:

It’s easy to forget that most Chinese still see their country as hopelessly far beyond the U.S., so the following kind of reaction to the ad is common: “A country that couldn’t be any weaker is always emphasizing its rising clout, while a truly powerful country is always dwelling on its weakness and vulnerability—how ironic.”

One notable point is that Chinese reporters have been less impressed by the potential effect of the Tea Party than their American counterparts. “The Tea Party is a product of a certain period of time,” as a recent piece from China National Radio put it. “As the economy gets back on track, with more income and more stable jobs—when the country is richer, and people will be more at ease—the Tea Party will probably not have as many supporters. This is a bit like those radical anti-war organizations that popped up in America in the past. After some time, their voices faded out. When that day comes, we will realize that the Tea Party movement had pushed forward some rather insignificant figures in the world of American politics.”

Bottom line: All in all, the Chinese have been left puzzled by the midterms, which appear, from afar, to be defined by a kind of cognitive dissonance. From the Chinese perspective, Americans appear to be thrashing against the realities of a new era: faced with a sudden sense of weakness and global changes in power, Americans look unable to summon the energy or unity to make even the simplest self-sustaining choices, and instead, are seeking refuge in the tinny appeals and false comfort of demagogues. “Americans are feeling quite contradictory,” as a piece in the Southern Daily put it recently. “[T]hey want to build more railroads, train stations and schools, they want to use clean energy, but they don’t want to pay higher taxes in order to do all of these. They are the offspring of immigrants and feel very proud of that, and yet they also oppose the idea of immigration.”



How China Views the Midterms
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