While the political world digests the after-effects of John McCain’s gaffe about the number of houses he owns, Barack Obama made one of his own yesterday when he praised the Communists in China for creating a better place to live than the United States:
Everybody’s watching what’s going on in Beijing right now with the Olympics , Think about the amount of money that China has spent on infrastructure. Their ports, their train systems, their airports are vastly the superior to us now, which means if you are a coporation deciding where to do business you’re starting to think, “Beijing looks like a pretty good option.”
Which is all well and good as long as you’re willing to ignore the realities of what the People’s Republic of China, notwithstanding it’s recent reforms still is:
Provided you don’t mind de minimus pollution controls, employing people under Chinese labor conditions, and you don’t mind construction standards in the countryside that allow the collapse of thousands of buildings including schools when the earthquake hits, killing tens of thousands.
Not to mention political and religious oppression, a security state that makes the left’s worries about the PATRIOT Act seem mild by comparison, and minimal protections for private property rights.
And, oh yeah, there’s the fact that things in China really aren’t as good as they seem:
There’s spotty utility coverage and lack of indoor plumbing out in the provinces, but overall, China’s infrastructure is probably every bit as good as America’s…in 1930 or so.
Still, entering the 20th century infrastructure-wise counts as a Great Leap Forward. And the $300 million or so the Chinese have spent in Beijing to put on a super Olympics has certainly allowed them to put their best foot forward.
You gotta hand it to totalitarian dictatorships. They certainly know how to put on a show. And when you can expropriate all the nation’s wealth, if necessary, to fund the thing, money’s obviously no object. And, I suppose the incentive to dance well—even flawlessly—at the opening ceremonies is always increased by the thought of a cold steel muzzle at the nape of the neck for failure.
Yep, whether it’s the annual Nuremberg Party Rally, or the big May Day parade in front of Lenin’s tomb, you can always count on dictators to go all out for a good show. Complete with goose-stepping soldiers. You really don’t have a top-flight dictatorship if your soldiers don’t goose-step. and the Chinese have that sharp goose-step down cold.
As long as you remember, though, that it’s all just a show and that the reality behind that Potemkin Village is far, far different.
Does Senator Obama realize this ?