An experienced correspondent leads the way across the cultural, historical and very human panorama of what was once a string of mountain kingdoms, now reduced to only one, Bhutan. There, a newly democratic monarchy struggles to save a culture that has been overwhelmed everywhere else by Chinese and Indian power and influence.
Co-author with George Perkovich of "India: The Ultimate Test of Free-Market Democracy," a section in Powers and Principles on the country soon to become the world's most populous nation. India, a nuclear-armed nation with economic promise, is clamoring to be ranked among the great powers. But India has yet to overcome its extreme poverty and the extreme social inequalities that could test its democratic credentials and blight its aspirations.
India and the United States have been moving closer together, but Americans know very little about the real India behind the mysticism and image of nonviolence. In India, women are burned to death when their dowries are deemed insufficient by in-laws, untouchables remain victims of a cruel social apartheid and India’s nuclear weapons and huge army unsettle the neighborhood.
From Pakistan and India to Southeast Asia and the Philippines, colonial administrators escaping the heat and pestilential diseases of the torrid lowlands created little replicas of their faraway cottages, churches and shops in the Asian mountains. The “hill stations” are being reborn, luring Asians looking for cool respites, now from overcrowded cities.