India, China and the U.S.

In the aftermath of the Tibet uprisings, India’s External Affairs Minister called on the Dalai Lama, whose government-in-exile India hosts, to refrain from “. . . any political activity in this country that harms India-China ties.” Meanwhile, there’s news out of Xinjiang that Uighur “extremists” were arrested as they attempted to incite an uprising.

I’ve argued before that this is a great advantage America has in the globalized age over multicultural countries that either, a) inherited their minority populations from arbitrary colonial maps (India); or else b) absorbed them through expansion (China). There’s still racism and xenophobia in the States, but the tension it creates is a cultural phenomenon that threatens our social cohesion without jeopardizing our political integrity. In the case of India or China, on the other hand, it’s easy to imagine how ethno-nationalism could exert a centrifugal force that could either splinter their political integrity, or else demand that a lot of resources — both hard power (repressive force used) and soft power (international goodwill lost) — be dedicated to maintaining it.