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December 15, 2012

The Other Deficit: Credibility of American domestic policy abroad.

America should calm down and examine its own gun-control policy.

--One Chinese commentator yesterday

This morning, Evan Osnos, a staff writer for The New Yorker who lives in Beijing, gave us a good general rule: it takes "a lot" to make China's government look good, even to its own 1.3 billion people, when their government is compared to the federal government of the United States. Osnos of course is referring to the corruption, control by special interests and lack of accountability that are hallmarks of the day-to-day business of running The People's Republic of China.

But, as of yesterday, Osnos, continues, when both China (which bans private gun ownership) and America (which does not) experienced attacks on school children by an armed madmen on the same day, America may finally be doing just that: making the PRC look good.

It's a useful observation. Developed "elite" democracies like the U.S. may have internal and domestic policies that are seen by outsiders as inferior to those of authoritarian states. Gun control, in the case of America, is certainly one of them. Do read Osnos's article, "China Watches Newtown: Guns and American Credibility". Excerpt:

As an American overseas for the last ten years, I’ve watched as other countries struggle with the curious fact that the most prosperous, successful, and emulated civilization the world has ever seen lives with the certainty that every few months one of its troubled citizens will casually acquire the tools to massacre a large group of his neighbors: shoppers in a mall, moviegoers, voters meeting their congresswoman, a kindergarten full of children.

Even to those who desperately want to be American, this special brand of American madness lies not in the banal fact that deranged men attack children, but in the shame that the rest of us, all of us, allow our laws to enable it.

After the Newtown attack, a Chinese commentator with a nationalist bent wrote, “When I see these democratic elites pretending to condemn the murderer, it seems absurd. You are the people who sustain the gun policy. You are also the people who condemn the shooter.”

Duckwalking like Yanks: Chinese Military Honor Guard.

Posted by JD Hull at December 15, 2012 04:44 PM


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