Mittens and the President spent debates one and two trying to out chest thump each other about China. There’s more to come in the final debate, where fifteen minutes have been set aside for “the rise of China and tomorrow’s world.” On one level, the men are debating economic policy. On another level, they’re positing China as a threat, to show they are the one better able to protect the country from the new yellow peril.
With so much airtime given over to China – Evan Osnos at the New Yorker called it “the strangely starring role that China has come to play in this campaign” – Time Magazine decided it was a good week to put China on its cover. The focus of Hannah Beech’s cover story is the Community Party’s leadership transition rather than the economic policies that have incited so much finger pointing and whining from Mitt and the President. Still, Time manages to ride the China-as-threat leitmotif with an all red cover headlined, “The New Leader of the Unfree World.”
The article itself is titled Big Brotherhood, with a long sidebar on “An Orwellian State.” The lead paragraph describes a recent official celebration that took place in a Tiananmen Square that “bristled with the paraphernalia of a paranoid security state.” Rather than political reform, Breech writes, the Communist Party has been building a “massive internal-security apparatus” that has made China “the biggest security state in the world.”
Being critical of an enemy wins votes and sells magazines. But it can also, sometimes, lead to an uncomfortable self-awareness. This was the case after World War II, when Americans were confronted with the hypocrisy of Black soldiers who had fought for freedom and democracy in Europe returning home to Jim Crow. Continue reading