America Knows No Tribe

June 22, 2004 


America knows no tribe. 


This fact was first brought to light for me by a Sikkimese businessman during a three hourinterview I conducted with him on our trip to South Asia earlier this year. 


We had a wide ranging discussion of South Asian politics, cultural dynamics and geopolitics.Having spent eight years in Switzerland, he had a broad based view of both Western and Asiancultures and politics, as well as countless generations of local ancestors to provide grounding andcontext. 


It was during our discussion of geopolitics that the issue of America’s ignorance of the concept oftribe was mentioned. 


My initial response was mixed between immediate interest in this insight and nativedefensiveness at such a broad brush indictment of American society as a whole. My interest wonout, and I stifled my urges of self-righteous defensiveness in favor of learning what I could fromthose around me in foreign lands, an approach that has served me well during our travels. As heexplained his position, I began to see that his contention was intellectually sound and arguablyirrefutable. 


America knows no tribe. 


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