THAT FAINT CLANKING SOUND, arriving through the open window of his home office: Was it coming from the courtyard? Was it being made by the pulley they’d attached to the house’s outside wall? Christ, it couldn’t be, thought Nixon, looking at his new digital watch: 6:15 p.m. No, they still had the round-the-clock nurse with them, and she wouldn’t be letting Pat get up from her long afternoon nap for another 15 minutes, when he’d join her for a glass of fruit juice and dinner off the TV trays. He heard the clanking again and realized it was just the halyard hitting the flagpole.
CHINA IS shakily authoritarian while India is a stable democracy—indeed, the world’s largest. So goes the cliché, and it is true, up to a point. But there is a growing resemblance between the two countries. A decade after we were told that China and India were “flattening” the world, expediting a historically inevitable shift of power from West to East, their political institutions and original nation-building ideologies face a profound crisis of legitimacy.
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