As a proud member of Generation X, I spent the better part of my childhood learning how to hate the Russians. The evil communists were going to destroy America with their drab cars, muscle-bound women, genetically altered boxers and of course their vast nuclear arsenal. Everybody was in on the act, from Wendy’s to Hollywood, from main-street to Wall-Street America was united in collective propaganda driven distrust of the Soviet Empire. But for some reason Americans just haven’t been able to muster that same level of jingoistic anger against China. Mitt Romney has been trying to make U.S. relations with China a key point of his foreign policy and economic assault on Obama, but it just hasn’t caught fire. Why? Because Romney won’t just be honest with the U.S. public. We’re losing to China because of Dwayne Wade. I’m just waiting on Mitt to be brave enough to say it publicly.
If America’s debt to China were broken down evenly among newborns in 2012, every baby would come out the womb, get a pat on the rear and get handed a bill for about $3,500. How did we run up all this debt to a nation that has sworn to become overtake our place as the world’s superpower in a generation? Over the last decade we had 9-11, which hastened a recession, then a housing crisis, then a bank crisis and now we’re fighting two wars we can’t afford. Simple things like the stimulus and basic management of the U.S. economy required borrowing more money and the Chinese were more than happy to oblige. Plenty of politicians on the right have made a big deal about this, running scary jingoistic commercials about futuristic Chinese students laughing about America’s decline, and local ads attacking Congressmen for being soft on Chinese trade policy. But let’s be honest, China’s rise is not really about them manipulating the system as much as it’s about American greed, corporatism and changing tastes. That brings us back to Dwayne Wade.
The two – time NBA Champion recently announced that after 9 years in the NBA, first with Converse sneakers then with the Jordan brand under the Nike label that he would be leaving to sign with another shoe company. What company? Li-Ning, the largest shoe company and sports apparel store in China. And why is Wade doing this, considering that he was the cornerstone of Nike’s Jordan brand (Nike is the biggest sports apparel company on the planet)? Because China is a growing market, and Wade is a capitalist and he and his handlers don’t anticipate a publicity backlash for switching from two of the most well- loved brands in America (Jordan and Nike) to an unknown brand in China. In other words, if it’ll make money and American consumers don’t care about brand / national loyalty big stars and corporations will move anywhere in the world for the all mighty dollar. Even if that new location is our nation’s biggest economic and military threat. That’s why we’re losing to China.
Olympics: That obnoxious cloying commercial “This is where it Starts” featuring the cross-national rivalry between a Chinese kid and an American kid growing up loving basketball after watching the 2012 Olympic games. The Chinese player immigrates to America and plays at Chapel Hill, becomes 2029 Rookie of the year in the NBA (which is ironic, in the Citizens Against Government Waste commercial the Chinese college kids are laughing about America’s decline in 2030. Maybe losing the Rookie of the Year Award was the last straw?). Putting Chinese consumers on par with Americans never would have happened 20 years ago.
Movies: That horrible new re-make of Red Dawn that comes out this fall was abruptly changed to suit Chinese audiences in the foreign markets. Whereas initially the film featured the Chinese invading America (taking the place of the Soviet invasion in the 1984 film), producers realized this made the movie a hard sell in China so the villainous invaders were turned into North Koreans. Because y’know, if North Korea invaded America China wouldn’t be involved…
The point is that America can’t beat China anymore because our corporations are too busy trying to sell them stuff. We have lost our corporate patriotism (if we ever had it) and there’s nothing that can be done about it. As long as budding millionaires feel like playing their trade to China, over American companies mind you, because they think Asia is a growing economy, we will continue to slide into a tie with that nation. In all honesty, this is just the nature of history, nations grow, recede and face challenges, but in this case China doesn’t need to invade, nor will they need a cultural takeover to catch up with America. We’re more than happy to sell out our own economic strength to them, so long as they’re willing to watch our TV shows and buy our jeans. And no amount of sabre rattling from Washington will change that.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.