All politics is local, even in the countries that are home to one-third of the world’s population. Antholis and his family traveled to China and India to explore how different regions operated, and how they each impact global politics:

The questions we asked fell into three categories: How do Chinese provinces and Indian states work? How do their leaders seek to balance local and national priorities and value systems? How do their citizens as well as their leaders view various global issues?

In Beijing and New Delhi, as in Shanghai and Mumbai, Chennai and Chengdu, Ahmadabad and Hangzhou, we often heard the same response: “Why do you care?”

The answer, in brief, is because local leaders are increasingly running much of India and China, which are home to a third of all humanity, from the bottom up. That is affecting how both countries act in the world, which means that these countries need to be understood from the inside out.