25 years ago Samuel Huntington had taught those who read his controversial book “The Class of Civilisations and the Remaking of the World Order” that all of us are tribal people and will ultimately focus on looking after our own. All our education and our reading is merely a façade said the great intellectual (who like other great thinkers could not care less what people thought about him). Beneath the façade all of us have strong tribal instincts which extends to wanting to the downfall of other tribes.
Uber-successful American author, Amy Chua, expands on this point in her super piece in Foreign Affairs. She makes three distinct points:
a)      American politicians have for generations failed to understand this point around how tribal identity works. This failure has hobbled US foreign policy for generations. Irag, Afghanistan, Vietnam, etc are, according to Chua, debacles driven by American failure to understand the tribal politics of these countries. In Vietnam, for example, the Americans completely ignorant of the hatred the Vietnamese had for the Chinese who lived in Vietnam, who dominated 80% of the business interests in that country and to whom the Americans were giving business.
b)      Research conducted by psychologists show that children as young as four demonstrate these tribal instincts. So Jewish kids have little sympathy for Arab kids and vice versa. Research also shows that if kids don’t have such instincts, they can be very easily trained to harbour such instincts.
c)      As economic life in America polarises between the “haves” on the coast and the “have nots” everywhere else, the have nots are behaving exactly as you would expect a tribe under pressure to behave. They are electing someone who behaves like them – Trump – to lead them. They are ostracising the “have nots”. They are supporting measures to crush other tribes eg. immigrants.
Unless the elites in America wake up the tribal instincts that people display – in America and elsewhere – they will continue to suffer reverses at home and abroad.

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