Magazine article New Internationalist

Political Tribes

Magazine article New Internationalist

Political Tribes

Article excerpt

BOOKS

Political Tribes by Amy Chua (Bloomsbury, ISBN 9781408881576)

Many people can't understand how Trump found his way into the White House. Amy Chua offers this hypothesis: America's elite missed 'the powerful antiestablishment identity forming within the working class' that drove voters towards someone different.

Chua argues that the US has a poor record of understanding tribal instinct and of extrapolating from it the likely outcomes of its own elections and of its incursions overseas. She considers the US's dismal interventions in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq; the naivety of politicians who think that removing a tyrant and instituting democratic elections will automatically lead to disparate religious and ethnic groups uniting under a national identity; and the current focus on divisive identity politics. The Right, she says, used to profess 'group blindness', arguing that an individual, whatever their background, had the power to make something of themselves; whereas the Left used to adopt identity politics as an inclusionary tactic. …

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