Role of Nationalism in Contemporary Politics

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Role of Nationalism in Contemporary Politics

Nationalism plays a major role in world politics today. Nationalism is a concept that can be viewed as positive and negative. Nationalism has changed since the 19th century.

September 11, 2001 will be a day that no one will ever forget. It was a day that has changed lives forever, creating distress throughout the world. The terrorist attacks on the United States affected more than America; it was an attack on all Nations that are allied with the United States. That is an example of how nationalism plays a major role in world politics today. Nationalism has caused and causes governments extreme amounts of work including: negotiating and signing treaties. The United States, and the Philippines, and Taiwan are other examples of the world aspects and its affects on politics. However, nationalism does not always have to result in negative outcomes. For example, a positive result was the separation of Yugoslavia into five states. The separation of the Soviet Empire was a basis of nationalism and was rather serene. (1)

Nationalism has been going on for centuries; this is not a new idea. Throughout time however, the concept has changed. Nationalism came about during the 19th Century at the time Romanticism there were two different forms: liberal nationalism and integral nationalism. In the age of Romanticism and the Enlightenment emphasized were societies and the link holding people collectively as a group or common people and the distinction between groups of people. From this idea away from the center of the individual, one can see how nationalisms arose. Liberal nationalism was seen as traditions, myths, dialects, and places. This was the more rational of the two; most liberal nationalist, did not think that the growth of one custom or inhabitants meant an eradication of another. An example would be the formation of Germany and Italy. The Germans wanted a Germany and the Italians wanted an Italy. Another type of nationalism was Integral Nationalism, which came about from the Prussian War. This was the irrational form and idea that “one nation became at the expense of another.” This idea of power over one nation over another created problems and which resulted in World War I and World War II. (6)

An additional form of recent nationalism is Zionism. This concept refers to Israel gaining independence. (3) Nationalism has positive aspects to nationalists in their own entity; it has strengthened nations, and encouraged patriotism. Economically, politically, and socially nationalism has become stronger and more diverse, it has promoted democracies or led to self-government. On the other hand nationalism has led to an assortment of microstates, isolationism, feelings of superiority, racism, and instability. (4)

The concept of Nationalism is “primarily a political principle, which holds that the political and national unit should be congruent.” Nationalism either exists in a state or is expressed it beliefs or views within a multicultural state. A clash was present when nations and states did not coincide; existing states are threatened, and because there are more “nations” than “states” so there are more discontented “nations”. (2) The concept of nationalism solidifies meaning and purpose of life to those under nationalism and makes them oblivious to national and rational thinking in many cases. These nations often see themselves as superior and “right” when in fact they are not.

Overall beliefs and values that include religion, folklore, history, enemies, language, and chemical land/territory are key factors to classify nationalism. (p.672) Another aspect that can be argued is tribalism; some believe nationalism today is becoming more like tribalism. With technology people can communicate because societies are connected globally; cultures and values are bringing people together faster than ever before. (5)

Many condemn nationalism as outdated and risky. Some believe nationalism will decline and end, however nationalism still remains a main factor and influential force into the future. (4) “Nationalism is at the heart of most of the world’s conflict today.” (1)

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