I just finished watching a 2004 episode of John McLaughlin’s “One on One” and had by doors blown off by Amy Chua, author of World on Fire, a three-year-old book that is more relevant now than ever before. I agree with every word.
John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law
Amy Chua is the John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She came to Yale in 2001 after teaching at Duke and serving as a visiting professor at Columbia, Stanford, and NYU. Her expertise is in international business transactions, law and development, ethnic conflict, and globalization and the law. She recently published the book World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability. Professor Chua has an A.B. and a J.D. from Harvard University.
J.D., Harvard, 1987
A.B., Harvard, 1984
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN’S “ONE ON ONE”
GUEST: AMY CHUA, AUTHOR AND LAW PROFESSOR
SUBJECT: DEMOCRACY AND INTERNATIONAL STABILITY
BROADCAST: WEEKEND OF MAY 22-23, 2004
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exporting chaos. Spreading democracy is the Bush administration’s answer to the perplexing problem of how to stabilize the Middle East. But what if democracy actually promotes instability under some conditions? From Indonesia to Zimbabwe to Bolivia, this author claims that democracy creates violent ethnic conflict. Iraq, she warns, is next. Is democracy our most lethal export? We’ll ask Yale Law School professor and noted author Amy Chua.
Professor Chua, welcome.
MS. CHUA: Thank you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the introduction there was mention that the Bush administration feels that the best way to stabilize Iraq and that part of the world is through democracy. Do you believe that to be the case?
MS. CHUA: Well, ultimately I am in favor of democracy as sort of the best long-term optimal solution. But as we’re learning sort of the hard way, developing non-Western countries have ethnic, religious and social structures completely different from what we are familiar with here in the United States.
And in fact, in many — you know, most Americans tend to assume that markets and democracy kind of naturally go together, just reinforce each other. And that makes perfect sense if you look at our own country today. But in fact in many non-Western countries democratization can lead to not the kinds of results that we expect and sometimes can result in anti-market, anti-American results.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We can get back to Iraq in a moment. But of those Western countries, would you think, for example, of Venezuela or Bolivia as instances where democracy has caused more problems than it actually relieved?
MS. CHUA: Yes. I would wouldn’t say that — I wouldn’t blame democracy. I think it’s an important point. It’s not democracy’s fault. But in both those countries, you had historically a situation where a tiny minority, basically a light-skinned, sort of Europeanized cosmopolitan elite –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Particularly Venezuela?
MS. CHUA: — particularly — well, in Venezuela — actually, just as much in Bolivia, really. The elite is very Europeanized, foreign-educated, elegant.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are they dominant?
MS. CHUA: There are many different reasons that these certain ethnic minorities come to dominate different countries.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let’s speak about Venezuela specifically.
MS. CHUA: In that case, I think it’s really colonization. I think it’s — you know, the Spanish colonizers came over early on and basically, you know, took all the land. I don’t even think it was entrepreneurialism necessarily. Now that’s being a little bit unfair because there were subsequent waves of immigration. So you did have lots of, you know, small pools of immigration come in, and they were very entrepreneurial.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How is the one class differentiated from the other? Is one called pardos?
MS. CHUA: No, not exactly. In Venezuela, it’s not — the ethnicity isn’t so stark. That is, from — it’s — from the point of view of an American, North America, somebody in the United States, if you go and see Venezuela, it strikes us that the elite, the wealthy seem white; that is, light hair, green eyes. But in the consciousness of the Venezuelans, they don’t think of race in the same way, and lots of people will say we’re all Venezuelans. But so it’s not as stark as black and white, you know, in this country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Chavez was elected in a free election?
MS. CHUA: Yes. Chavez came to power. He’s a very good example of a democratically elected anti-market leader; that is — he — how did he get to power? Not by proposing sound economic policies, but really by scapegoating both the United States and these oligarchs internally, and the masses voted for him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So democracy brought us Chavez, and that is the problem?
MS. CHUA: That’s not the sole problem, but given the conditions that existed in Venezuela, yes. My point is that when you have overnight elections in countries with enormous poverty and a huge amount of frustration and wealth concentrated in the hands of a very, very small minority, democracy often brings to power leaders who may not be pro-market and, you know, observing the rule of law, and Chavez is a good example of that. He — it’s not entirely his fault, although I don’t think much of him at all. I mean, he’s a terrible president. The economy is tanking. But you also have to look at the underlying forces that led to the people voting for him, and I think that was — you know, he was able to capitalize on a huge amount of frustration and exclusion among the local population.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about Bolivia?
MS. CHUA: Bolivia’s even a better example for the kinds of problems I’m interested in. There it’s different from Venezuela because the ethnic lines are more stark.
In Bolivia, like Ecuador and Peru, you have a country where almost a majority of the population are Amerindians, that is indigenous, principally Aymaran or Quechua Indians. And this majority, or near majority of indigenous peoples are extremely poor. They’ve been fatalistic — described as fatalistic for years. Many are extremely poorly educated, even illiterate. And then the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very small, maybe 7 percent, you could call “white” — I mean, they would look white to people from the United States — a white elite that has very good connections to the British and United States foreign investors.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who was elected president there?
MS. CHUA: Well, Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada was the president there for many years, until last fall when he had to flee by helicopter. And Conzalo Sanchez de Lozada was a white president. They actually all him “El Gringo.” He actually spent much of his life exiled in Connecticut, and speaks Spanish with an English accent.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happened?
MS. CHUA: He was a pro-U.S., pro-free trade, pro-foreign investment, pro-IMF president and, you know, put in a lot of pro- market policies, including the privatization of water, which just led to an explosion of frustration and anger among the majority, who are so poor to begin with, and suddenly realized, you know, that with free-market policies they now had to pay for water and couldn’t afford it.
So in the fall, there were a series of very, very popularly supported, probably majority supported, I guess you could call it democratically produced Indian movements, populist movements, that led to escalating violence. And ultimately, President de Lozada had to flee for his life by helicopter.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was the president an honorable man?
MS. CHUA: I think he was quite a good president in many ways; short-sighted in some ways, but I don’t think he was, you know, unusually corrupt. I think he had some sound free-market policies to propose.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But there was unleashed pent-up anti-his-class sentiment; correct?
MS. CHUA: Very much. And it was very explicitly –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was it demagogued?
MS. CHUA: I think it was demagogue-fueled, although again, there was some — you have to realize, why do people go for these demagogues, what is these demagogues’ appeal?
Now, what’s interesting is that this is part of globalization. I mean, I had a student from Bolivia, about five years ago, who said we could never have an ethnic majority movement in our country, you know, it could be a class warfare, but we wouldn’t have an Indian-based kind of ethnic movement. And he wrote me an e-mail just a few years ago and said it’s changing; I take it back.
And this is part of — you know, one thing that globalization spreads that we don’t really focus on, which is it’s the spread of identity politics, ethnic demagogue –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you anti-globalist?
MS. CHUA: No. No. I’m — I see myself–
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you anti-free market?
MS. CHUA: No. I’m a pro-globalization, a very much pro-market person.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you anti-democracy?
MS. CHUA: Actually no, I’m not. I’m not in that camp. I’m very concerned — my point is that there are many different versions of free-market democracy, and I think that we have been exporting the wrong version, a caricature, really.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what would you have favored in Bolivia? What would you have favored?
MS. CHUA: Much — I would have favored — first of all, on the market side, you know what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years, since 1989? There’s no Western nation today that has anything close to a laissez-faire system, right? We have taxation –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean a primitive form of capitalism?
MS. CHUA: Yeah, we don’t — we have progressive taxation, unemployment — we have –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We have regulated democracy.
MS. CHUA: Yeah, anti-fraud laws, anti-insider trading laws.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So are you saying that — going back to Iraq — the imposition of democracy in Iraq would be a one-man one-vote and it might unleash the Sunnis against the Shi’ites and that it is unregulated, unsophisticated and this has to be a more gradual process?
MS. CHUA: In many ways, it’s not necessarily a timing process. But yes — so on the market side, we’ve been exporting a primitive sort of version of raw capitalism with no mechanism –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And laissez-fairism.
MS. CHUA: Yeah, and no mechanisms for regulating fraud and monopolies or redistributing wealth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did it take time for the United States to bring those mechanisms into existence?
MS. CHUA: Absolutely. We are not exporting the same kind of capitalism that we have now and it’s exactly the same with democracy. If you recall, our founding fathers — that is James Madison, many people who signed our Constitution — they were all terrified of overnight universal suffrage. They didn’t want the poor to be allowed to vote because they thought it would lead to chaos and, you know, the poor confiscating from the rich.
And in fact, what we’ve been exporting since 1989 is basically a really oversimplistic form of democracy — essentially, overnight elections with overnight universal suffrage at the national level. And I think that’s not what democracy is all about.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there criticism to go around? For example, aren’t you also critical of the IMF and the World Bank for doing the same thing?
MS. CHUA: Yes, on the market side, for sure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they’re not as insistent as we are on the implementation of a primitive form of capitalism, are they? Don’t they allow — don’t they have time frames that permit the introduction of regulatory mechanisms to control the growth of capitalists and markets?
MS. CHUA: I think not. I think this is revisionist history. I think things are changing slightly now, with all the –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We’re talking IMF and World Bank.
MS. CHUA: Yeah, but actually, in the late ’80s and ’90s, the United States and IMF and the World Bank shared very similar positions, and this makes sense to me. I mean, I’m critical, but I understand it. Look, after the Berlin Wall fell, you had the death of communism and everybody looked around and said, okay, we don’t want communism and we don’t like dictatorships, so the only thing left are markets and democracy. Let’s put these things in as fast as we can, and my point is that it’s just not that easy. You can’t plug in free-market democracy like a light bulb. But the IMF for sure in the ’80s and ’90s, their structural adjustment policies, their policies for Africa, the poorest countries of Southeast Asia was get rid of subsidies. It was a raw form of capitalism, nothing about redistributing wealth. It was, you know, let’s privatize everything; let’s let in foreign investment; remove the subsidies, resulting in unemployment; prices would go up.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But you don’t — for example, Zimbabwe is in such terrible shape because of Robert Mugabe. Do you see your view, your model, operating in Zimbabwe?
MS. CHUA: Perfectly. My view is that there are numerous non- Western countries around the world that have what I call a market- dominant minority. We don’t have this in the United States. There are countries where a very small outsider ethnic minority controls huge amounts of the nation’s wealth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Indonesia’s a perfect example –
MS. CHUA: Chinese.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: — where you have the Chinese.
MS. CHUA: Three percent of the population controlling 70 percent of the private economy.
But Zimbabwe’s a perfect example, too. For many, many years, really for decades, the white majority (sic) — just about 1 percent of the population — controlled 70 percent of the country’s best arable land in the form of very productive, very efficient commercial plantations. And you had, you know, poor, poor masses of black majority under apartheid.
Now what people like to forget — I mean, it’s easy to point the finger at Mugabe now, and I would be among those — he’s just a terrible disaster — but it’s important to remember that Mugabe himself is a product of democracy. He was elected in 1980 in very closely monitored free and fair elections. How did he come to power? What was his campaign slogan?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he was democratically elected?
MS. CHUA: But do you know how he came to power? He campaigned — his campaign slogan was we need to take back the stolen land from the whites, and that’s why the black majority voted for him. He was as popular as Nelson Mandela under that platform. But he didn’t redistribute that land in the ensuing 20 years because of pressures — partly because of pressures from the IMF, the British government, the World Bank and the United States in foreign investment, and partly because of his own partly corrupt practice. He did not redistribute that land, and that’s why there was all this pent-up hostility among the majority. And every time elections came around, Robert Mugabe tried to play the race card by scapegoating the whites.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Well, how do you explain the situation in South Africa, where none of this has occurred? Although you think you see signs of what’s happening in Zimbabwe there, namely the unleashing of a pent-up, anti-white sentiment which was held in check perhaps because of that forgiveness amnesty program.
MS. CHUA: South Africa –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you see something happening in South Africa similar to Zimbabwe?
MS. CHUA: I think South Africa has two very, very positive things going for it. One is the presence of Nelson Mandela, who from the beginning amazingly has never played the ethnic or racial card. He’s always been inclusive, and that’s a gift. The second thing that South Africa has going for it is neighboring Zimbabwe. Everybody in that country looks over at Zimbabwe and says, you know, we don’t want to go that way. So President Mbeki has something going for him. He basically — they also — this is a country where a tiny white majority (sic) still controls, I would say, 70 percent of the country’s best arable land. And until they –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But they have a constitution and they’re protected in their rights. The minority is protected, correct?
MS. CHUA: Well, it’s not so simple as that. With democracy –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there some give on that now taking place?
MS. CHUA: Very much so. The new black economic empowerment policy, which of course is majority-supported, is basically sort of like an affirmative action program for the majority. So it’s not affirmative action for the minority –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean they’re going to cut back on De Beers wines’ (sic) freedom of operation and maybe on some of its holdings?
MS. CHUA: Actually, yes. There was something called the Mining Nationalization Act that was just passed, and at first it was terrifying to the Oppenheimers and the whites. It called for something like 50 percent black ownership. But they negotiated that down, and now it’s a situation where, you know, the white minority, including the Oppenheimers and De Beers, are going to relinquish some of that — that is, bring in more black participation — and hopefully they are walking that line. I mean, they are trying to keep in markets, not scare away foreign investment, but also try to give the black majority more of a stake in markets.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So the United States is promoting, in Iraq and elsewhere, a caricature of democracy and market economics. I’ll put this in another way. We are using our dominant world position economically and militarily to dictate political structures to other countries that are inappropriate to their cultural and historical circumstances, and if it comes about as a consequence of our pressure, what will happen is a worse set of realities than would otherwise exist. For example, Sunnis and Shi’as, you believe, could be at each other’s throats.
MS. CHUA: Oh –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And motivation is not doctrinal; it’s commerce, and it’s material. Correct?
MS. CHUA: Not always. No, it’s not entirely material. And I wouldn’t quite have put it that way. I mean, I’m not a conspiracy theory person. I often think that — I think that in many ways the U.S. government has been driven by idealism as much as other factors.
But that’s exactly right. I think what you’re seeing in the administration now is they very idealistically, in some ways, said, “We’re going to put in democracy in Iraq” –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you heard of Robert Kaplan?
MS. CHUA: Yes. Sure –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Robert Kaplan, I think, holds the view that a benign autocracy is probably the best thing in some of these countries for a period of time.
MS. CHUA: Yes –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with that?
MS. CHUA: No, I actually don’t.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want — well, don’t you fight your own doctrine there –
MS. CHUA: No, I don’t.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: — if you want an election now?
MS. CHUA: No. I respect his position very much, but the reason that I’m not in the anti-democracy camp is for the simple reason –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he’s not in that camp, either, really –
MS. CHUA: No, he is in favor of just holding off on democracy and maybe trying to find a beneficent dictator –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MS. CHUA: — or at least having an autocratic system that, you know, might be liberal.
Now I understand why. You can get lucky. Look at Lee Quan Yew in Singapore.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yes.
MS. CHUA: Perfect example for Robert Kaplan. And he’s right.
My problem — the reason I struggle with that position is because how can you ever ensure that you’re going to get a beneficent dictator?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We’ll be right back.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it arrogance or is it ignorance that makes America think that we can safely export our version of democracy to the rest of the world? We’ll put that question to our guest, but first, here is her distinguished profile.
Born: Champaign, Illinois. Forty-one years of age; husband Jed, two daughters. Reared Catholic. Politics: Independent.
Harvard University, B.A. Economics, Magna Cum Laude; Harvard University, Doctor of Laws, Cum Laude.
Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton, an international Wall Street law firm, where she represented, among other clients, Mexico in the privatization of its international telephone company, Telmex; four years.
Duke University, professor of law, seven years. Yale University, professor of law, three years and currently.
Author, a book, “World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability,” a best-seller now in paperback.
Hobbies: tennis, violin, piano.
Amy Lynn Chua.
Amy Lynn Chua, do you want to add to any of your biography? You were reared Catholic. That sounds like you are no longer Catholic?
MS. CHUA: Well, my husband is Jewish and my father was in a Protestant family and my mother’s parents were Buddhist. So I come from a very diverse background.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How did you work that out with your husband, in the practical order? The religion question.
MS. CHUA: It was complicated. My children speak Chinese but they’re raised Jewish.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What was that?
MS. CHUA: My children are fluent in Chinese but they are raised Jewish.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Was that a deal?
MS. CHUA: Yes. (Chuckles.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And it’s working?
MS. CHUA: Appears to be.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of — to get back to Iraq, because we don’t have much time — what do you think is going to happen if we try to impose democracy here?
MS. CHUA: It’s a real disaster, actually, if you just look at the demographics. And it seems that anybody who had thought about this beforehand would have seen this. You have a 60 or 70 percent Shi’ite majority; that’s a fact. And this is why the U.S. government cancelled the elections in Najaf last June. They realized, look, if we hold free and fair elections, this could go fundamentalist, and that’s why they cancelled the elections. And then there was this popular outcry, everybody was outraged; and then the U.S. government said, ok, no, we are going to put in elections.
But in fact, what the U.S. administration wants is democracy without majority rule, and that is pretty hard to do — impossible in fact. You have the demographics where the Sunni — in fact, the Ba’athist party tends to be the ones, this minority — again, they’re –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think we should just have an early departure and let them decide what sort of government they want and let them work it out? To what extent should we be intrusive in the process at this difficult time?
MS. CHUA: Well, we already were intrusive. So I think that it’s a — there is a question of responsibility at this point because –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For them in the selection of their government?
MS. CHUA: No, but to make sure that we don’t leave just utter chaos. One of the ideas that I’m toying around with is — really, I think that the way to go in Iraq is to be promoting local democracy first.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are we talking about Kurds and Shi’as and Sunnis?
MS. CHUA: Everywhere. You know, in the United States or the U.K., our democracies started locally. It wasn’t imposed at the national level all of a sudden. So instead of — I think you shouldn’t — instead of having national elections where everybody is fighting over the oil, and you’ve got a 70 percent Shi’ite majority that is long-oppressed, long-humiliated — they feel it’s their time to take back the country. I think that the better way to go would be to start locally with cities, towns, villages. You know, local democracy is the best instruction for national democracy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is this a Bosnia model?
MS. CHUA: No. I’m not in favor of breaking up the country. I mean, I don’t think that would work. But the idea is that, you know, you need to learn how democracy works and to have other things that you –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And you think that should be a gradual process and it should be done on a sectoral basis.
MS. CHUA: I also think that if certain villages or certain towns go fundamentalist, we have to let that stand. We can’t just remove it and step in and intervene if we don’t like that result. But I think we need to secure other regions so that people can move with their feet and ultimately, you know, let democracy really play out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We’ll be right back.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Professor Chua, thank you for being my guest.
MS. CHUA: Thank you for having me.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have never read a book as complicated and as high-concept as your book that is so easy to read.
MS. CHUA: Thank you very much.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I really must commend you on it.
MS. CHUA: I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And I hope you will come back.
MS. CHUA: It would be my pleasure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there a final thought that you would give to the White House and the Congress?
MS. CHUA: I think it would help if we knew a little bit more about the countries that we’re supposedly trying to help. I think that would be a good first step. And to understand that you can’t just, you know, put in markets and democracy overnight. Our process took a long time. And we need to put a lot more thought into that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thanks so much.
MS. CHUA: Thank you.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Good luck.
MS. CHUA: Thanks very much.
END OF REGULAR SEGMENT
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Amy Chua, talk to me about, if you would, talk to us about Russia.
MS. CHUA: Well, Russia is another country where, in the ’90s, in the sort of anarchic transition to capitalism, there were no laws. It was just a vacuum. And in this rapid transition from socialism to capitalism, basically seven men came to control about 50 percent of Russia’s massive natural resource wealth.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The oligarchs.
MS. CHUA: The oligarchs. And out of seven of them, six of them were well known to be Jewish. And this fact was not lost on the Russian population. And so you had this situation where markets produced this — or sort of un — primitive markets led to this enormous concentration of wealth. This produced tremendous resentment among the Russian people, who felt like they were just ripped off. They didn’t have anything.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Were they also feeding off the classic anti- Semitism that exists?
MS. CHUA: Yes, which has been in Russia for, you know, just hundreds of years. But yes, this actually produced — when you democratized there, it produced anti-Semitic political parties that explicitly called for expulsion of the Jews and taking back their assets. And so that’s partly the model. When you have markets with this kind of market-dominant minority, rapid democracy can give rise to ethnic scapegoating.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, do you think you really have here a dominant ethnic minority in the six who happened to be Jewish?
MS. CHUA: Well, it was certainly perceived as such. That’s the point. Ethnicity is not a science; it’s how people perceive it. And in this country Jews may not be an ethnic minority, but there –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but also in Indonesia, when Suharto passed on that unleashed the killing of the Chinese, who owned 3 percent of the wealth over there.
MS. CHUA: Exactly, exactly. In –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But there was nothing like that in Russia.
MS. CHUA: No –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What you have now is Chechnya. You had a warlike situation for a while between Georgia and Azerbaijan.
MS. CHUA: Yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But that’s it. Otherwise everything is under control, remarkably enough, would you not say?
MS. CHUA: Remarkably. I think’s it’s under Putin. Putin is maybe a democratic leader in theory, but he has decidedly autocratic tendencies and he is keeping everything under his control right now. And in fact, specifically he’s targeted three of those Jewish oligarchs.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So he’s the benign autocrat?
MS. CHUA: At the moment, he’s viewing very much in that direction, cracking down on –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Talk to me about anti-Americanism around the world.
MS. CHUA: Well, most of my research focuses on the very small ethnic minorities in countries like Indonesia or the Indians in East Africa, Chinese throughout Southeast Asia, whites –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think –
MS. CHUA: At the global level — I’m sorry?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, go — I want to get this point in because we’re running out of time. In 50 years — 2050, 45 years from now, you’ll live to see it, whites are going to be in the minority –
MS. CHUA: In the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: — in this country. Is there a problem with the whites assuming that status of a dominant minority, and could there be a rising up of the non-whites in this country — the Hispanics and the blacks — to do what happened in Indonesia, or is that just — is that just so far afield?
MS. CHUA: I think would be very –
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What?
MS. CHUA: I think it would be very hard in this country to organize a movement that describes the whites in this country as outsiders, coming in to steal the wealth of the nation. That just doesn’t fit with our history if you look at our own history.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Even though they may be — they will be — in 45 years or so they will be in the minority?
MS. CHUA: It’s possible. I’ve discussed that; you know, the browning of America, and will — you know, will whites eventually reach that point. But the countries I look at, these ethnic minorities are viewed as outsiders, and I think it’s hard to view whites as outsiders.
Now at the global level, the United States has become, I think, a sort of global market-dominant minority. We’re perceived by the world — we’re just 4 percent of the world’s population, but we’re perceived everywhere as the principal engine and principal beneficiary of global (commerce ?) right now.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we are minorities worldwide?
MS. CHUA: Yes, and in part as a result of that we are also the object of mass, often demagogue-fueled resentment and hatred, you know, of the same kind, that’s directed at so many other of these market-dominant minorities around the world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And that accounts for widespread –
MS. CHUA: Partly. Not all. There are a lot of other things that we’ve done wrong to contribute to anti-Americanism. But certainly I think that’s part of the picture, the fact that we’re the world’s hyperpower. You know, we’re going to be held to a higher standard than everybody else.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What happens when China becomes a hyperpower?
MS. CHUA: That will be interesting if that happens. It will be interesting to see what happens.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What will happen to us then?
MS. CHUA: Well, it will be interesting to see. It will be interesting to see how our policies change.