When it ran an ad during last year’s off-year election highlighting the dangers of permitting China to become our largest creditor, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) stirred a diplomatic hornet’s nest. The one-minute ad became an instant classic; already compared to the 1964, anti-Goldwater ad in which a young girl plucks petals from a daisy immediately before a mushroom cloud fills the screen.
Never an organization to mince words or sugar-coat the intensity with which it combats excessive government spending, CAGW is again airing the ad. It is one of the best, if not the best and most poignant ads I have ever viewed. Every Americans should watch it at least once.
The ad is set in Beijing two decades in the future, in 2030. It opens to a huge lecture hall filled with attentive Chinese students. The Chinese professor begins lecturing the class on why great nations like the United States have fallen. He explains it is because they all made “the same mistakes, turning their back on the principles that made them great.” The professor explains further that America’s problems were compounded when it “tried to spend and tax itself out of a great recession . . . enormous so-called ‘stimulus’ spending, massive changes to health care, government takeovers of private industries, and crushing debt.”
The ad closes with the professor looking directly at the camera and concluding, with an eerie laugh, “Of course, we owned most of their debt . . . so now they work for us.” The class then enjoys a collective and knowing laugh at the state of affairs presented by the professor.
Last fall, the ad sparked reaction from voters, but also directly from the Chinese embassy in Washington; whose official spokesman publicly blasted it. The spokesman, Wang Baodong, told the Washington Post, it was unfair and “unreasonable to blame China for America’s own economic problems, and it’s even despicable to fan up anti-China sensations, which runs counter to common inspirations of our two peoples.”
While CAGW obviously is not cowed by such a diplomatic dust-up, the same cannot be said for the movie establishment in Hollywood. A remake of the 1984 classic, “Red Dawn,” which starred Patrick Swayze as the leader of a rag tag band of young people fighting a guerrilla action against Soviet forces invading the U.S. mainland, has been altered to remove references to China (which was to replace the USSR as the 21st Century invading force).
Recent headlines in China’s state-run papers included these warnings: “U.S. reshoots Cold War movie to demonize China” and “American movie plants hostile seeds against China.” The outcry apparently was sufficient to cause MGM to wet its corporate pants, and agree to change the antagonist from China to North Korea. In fact, the movie, which had been scheduled for release this year by MGM, may now not be released at all; as a result of Hollywood’s kowtowing to Chinese pique at being portrayed as anything other than a benevolent creditor to the United States.
The scary part of all this is not that Hollywood, captive to the Land of Fruit and Nuts, caved to pressure from Beijing; that is hardly surprising. What is worrisome is that Washington continues its spendthrift ways; racking up trillions upon trillions in debt, with more than $1.1 trillion held already by the Chinese government. At this rate, we may not have to wait until 2030 for the hypothetical message in the CAGW ad to be an ad no longer, but rather a news story.
By Bob Barr – The Barr Code