At the 2008 summer Olympic Games in Beijing, the New York Times columnist Tom Friedman observed something intriguing about the powerful American team, which won the overall medal count for the games. After wandering through the athletes' village, he noted, "The Russian team all looks Russian; the African teams all look African; the Chinese team all looks Chinese; and the American team looks like all of them." The United States, Friedman said, is the clearest example of a nation whose "strength comes from diversity."
The most powerful nations in history have all followed a similar formula. In "Day of Empire," a masterful survey of the rise and fall of empires from Ancient Rome to the contemporary United States, Yale law professor Amy Chua writes, "At any given historical moment, the most valuable human capital the world has to offer -- whether in the form of intelligence, physical strength, skill, knowledge, creativity, networks, commercial innovation or technological invention -- is never to be found in any one locale or within any one ethnic or religious group. To pull away from its rivals on a global scale, a society must pull into itself and motivate the world's best and brightest, regardless of ethnicity, religion or background." ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
Sign up for two weeks of free access with your credit card. Cancel any time during the free trial and you will be charged nothing.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Strategic Horizons: To Deter Adversaries, U.S. Military Must First Understand Their Fears
- World Citizen: U.S. Frets as Key Allies Flock to Join China’s AIIB
- The Realist Prism: U.S. Outreach to Iran, Cuba Still Lacks Broader Strategic Framework
- Obama’s Welcome Cyber Sanctions Plan Is Worth Expanding
- The Realist Prism: To Avert Decline, U.S. Must Accept Reality of Multipolarity