U.S. Elites Are ‘Fundamentally Different’ from ‘Ordinary People’


China’s state-run Global Times on Tuesday employed comments made by former President Barack Obama to pronounce doom on American society because the elites have become “fundamentally different” from “silent ordinary American people.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) newspaper was quite taken with Obama’s thoughts on the great American divide during an interview broadcast Sunday by CBS News’ 60 Minutes.

“I think our adversaries have seen us weakened, not just as a consequence of this election, but over the last several years. We have these cleavages in the body politic that they’re convinced they can exploit,” Obama said.

The Global Times found Obama representative of “the thinking of many U.S. elites” and dwelled at length on the schism between those elites and the ordinary Americans they rule over.

Most of the lengthy rant the Global Times developed from Obama’s remarks was an effort to celebrate America’s supposed collapse into class and racial warfare from which it will never recover. The Chinese paper repeatedly used the coronavirus pandemic unleashed by China to bludgeon America and proclaim its century of global influence to be over:

The US decline is an inevitable outcome of the structural problems the country has had over the years. If these long-standing problems cannot be completely uprooted, the decline of the US will continue to be irreversible. Nonetheless, Obama is troubled that adversaries have seen the US weakened instead of spending more time and energy on figuring out a way to fix the problems. Such mentality of US elites will push the US decline further.

The US does have an adversary, and it is the US itself. But American elites often overlook that. In the past, the US, relying on its strength, has created contradictions around the world to shift people’s attention, so it managed to cover up the accumulated unsolved problems. However, the US trick of playing a hegemon no longer works. The world has been on a fast lane of development while the increasingly conservative US is being caught up and even surpassed by others. 

In addition to the systematic structure that is too rigid to be reformed, the US is now saddled with financial burdens as well as racial and class conflicts that see rare, if any, hope of a solution. Under such a heavy burden, the US is barely able to conceal its fatigue, let alone participate in international competition. The failure in the epidemic fight has put these problems under a microscope. The rest of world has thus focused on how the US — deemed the “beacon of democracy” — is running down. 

It would be far more incisive to look at how the American elite support globalist deals that enrich and empower themselves at the expense of working-class citizens — those “designated losers” who sink into poverty while their jobs are exported overseas or filled by imported labor. A lot of those jobs were exported to China, a deeply nationalist authoritarian state that has mastered the art of talking about free trade and multilateralism while ruthlessly pursuing its own interests.

“The American elites who pursue their interests and moral superiority are getting farther and farther away from the vast majority of the ordinary American people. As a result, there comes the systemic failure,” the Global Times predicted in conclusion.

There is a point to be made about the moral preening of American elites versus the concerns of “ordinary American people.” For example, consider the media’s constant injection of climate change into every presidential and vice-presidential debate in 2020, as though it were among the most important issues in America, when ordinary American voters don’t even see it as a top-ten concern, especially after the coronavirus calamity. 

Chinese state media is too busy accusing the United States of hypocrisy for setting high standards for human rights, and Barack Obama is too busy trying to paint himself and Joe Biden as unifying figures in contrast to the divisive President Donald Trump, to offer a clear look at why America’s elites have grown so distant from its ordinary citizens. 

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