Tag: Nationalism

Book Review: The Virtues of Nationalism

History’s revolt against the Liberal Empire

Review: “The Virtue of Nationalism” – Yoram Hazony, Basic Books. September 2018. 304 pages.

Epochal events in history, of course, never stops, and predicting or explaining such events is fraught with dangers, something Francis Fukuyama found out to his credit. 2016 was one such year, where British exit from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump marked the end of the Post-Cold war unipolarity and globalization. At least those are the two events we paid the most attention too. But other than Trump and Brexit, Nationalism in differing forms returned in Hungary, Austria, Italy, Poland, while India, Russia, and China continued on their respective nationalist revival. Yoram Hazony’s new book “The virtues of Nationalism” adds to the already growing literature and seeks to explain the phenomena. Hazony, the President of Israel’s Herzl Institute and director of the John Templeton Foundations’s Project in Jewish Philosophical Theology, lays the blame on the liberal empire and the “globalists” for their imperial overstretch, and often contradictory and incoherent ideas about what constitutes good and bad nationalism.

READ the full review HERE.

Israel, Eastern Europe And An Alliance Of Nationalists

The Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised eyebrows last week by meeting, among other leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban has been accused of stoking anti-semitism yet pledged to Netanyahu that he would protect the Hungarian Jewish minority.

Raised eyebrows shot higher when Netanyahu was recorded saying to the Hungarian, Polish, Czech and Slovakian leaders that EU policy was “crazy”. “I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive,” he suggested, “Or if it wants to shrivel and disappear.”

There was an element of realpolitik in the wily Netanyahu’s comments. It is simply untrue that European survival depends, as he went on to claim, on its stance on Israel. But exploiting the resentment that nationalist Central and Eastern European leaders feel towards the cosmopolitan supranationalists of Western Europe makes sense. He can link their desire for sovereignty to his struggle against opposition to and criticisms of Israel.

Still, it is interesting how much these nations have in common. 

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What’s more important to you? Your country or your ideology?

With the entire EU/Germany versus Trump thing happening, which was sort of predicted by Peter Hitchens, focus is on what historical patterns might emerge in the West.

As Financial Times, the most Pro-EU broadsheet pointed out, the patterns are not comforting.

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With Germany quietly re-arming herself, Conservative Poland railing against Liberal Germany created Atlantic rift, and France openly balancing against Russia, European Great power peace is looking precarious.

But there’s something else at stake. 

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No, British National Anthem is not promoting any far-right ideology

Back in October, a Student Union leader of King’s College London wrote a Facebook post, saying he thought the National Anthem should be banned because it promoted far-right ideology, white supremacy and xenophobia. He also said that nation states are a really bad idea.

First, why does this trivial issue occupy someone in a position like the vice president for welfare and community at the KCL SU? Surely this post requires a lot of time? Doesn’t he also have some studying to do?

Anyway, I disagree entirely with Mr Abdullahi’s premise and argument. As such, in response to his use of his right to free speech to criticise what he sees as an out-dated institution, I’ll use my right to free speech to rebut him.

His entire position seems to revolve around the fact that he finds the anthem racist and a remnant of the British Empire. It also apparently empowers far-right nationalists who glory in the old and timeworn idea of the nation state.

First of all, if Mr Abdullahi had actually looked into the history of the national anthem, he might find that it was written during the Jacobite rebellion in the 1740’s. If anything it is an anti-Scottish anthem more than anything else, as it was penned in reaction to Bonnie Prince Charlie storming south to retake the English throne for the Stuart dynasty.

Incidentally, if he wants to see examples of national anthems with less than savoury lyrics maybe he should look at the Chinese, the Mexican, the Algerian, the Turkish and the Vietnamese national anthems. These have some blood curdling lyrics that make Britain’s look meek in comparison.

The second issue with Mr Abdullahi’s misguided comments concern his “f*** the nation state” statement. By this comment, I guess Mr Abdullahi is against all forms of national sovereignty and identity. In other words, he seems to want to live in the world of John Lennon where there are no countries and we are all just one big happyfamily.

I’ve got bad news for him: the nation state is arguably the single biggest protection against external and inter-tribal violence in the history of humanity.

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Why young Chinese aren’t nationalistic

Sumantra noted a research paper by Harvard’s Alastair Iain Johnston in the journal International Security that raises doubts about the narrative that China is becoming increasingly nationalistic.

One section of the paper highlights differences between attitudes of the youth and those of their elders.

Johnston wrote:

Moreover, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the data do not show that China’s youth express higher levels of nationalism than older generations. Indeed, it is China’s older generations that are more nationalistic than its youth. These findings—with due regard for caveats about representativeness— suggest that rising popular nationalism may not be a critically important vari- able constraining Chinese foreign policy.

Sometimes the claim is made that rising nationalism exists because it is assumed, though not shown, that official government policies such as the Patriotic Education Campaign, launched in the early 1990s, are having their intended effect.

As Johnston’s numbers suggest, China’s youth are in fact noticeably less likely than their parents to answer yes to questions of patriotism and nationalism like, “I would prefer to be a citizen of China,” “China is a better country than most,” and “You should support your country even when it is wrong.”

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This makes sense for multiple reasons:

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New research suggests that conflict with China is not inevitable

Extraordinary research came out yesterday in International Security Journal, which concludes that

  1. Nationalism declining in China.
  2. China views, any potential Great power conflict from geopolitical and not ideological lens.

Here’s the paper.

And some data set.

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European left gather to promise anti-austerity fight. Ironically organised by Syriza.

Athens saw International conference of Youth left organised by Youth of Syriza, political organization of dominant Greek party Syriza, this past weekend. Several members of other European Network of Democratic Young Left (ENDYL) also attended the meeting.

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International conference of Youth left organised by Youth of Syriza

Among foreigners, there were speakers from Turkey, Finland, Italy, Ireland and Spain. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras briefly had a cameo.

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Aleksis Tsipras during his speech on Friday

“We were blackmailed and forced to sign a deal with which we did not agree. It’s us still fighting together with European left movements for the changes in European society. Our place is well known from heroic fights but this is not enough. We also need heroic victories,” he said to young supporters: “The hope didn’t disappear,” referring to his earlier election motto from January: “The hope is coming.”

From elections day 20.9.

The pre-election slogan of Syriza “The hope is coming” was eight months later replaced with “We win tomorrow.” Photo: Supporters of Syriza waiting for election results, Athens, 20.9.2015

 

After that, Tsipras stayed to listen only a representative of Turkish HDP Cihan Erdal and then left. Erdal however in his speech focused on terrorist attack and fight against ISIS.

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Cihan Erdal during his speech on Friday

The member of Left youth of Finland Pinja Vuorinen was talking about austerity measures implemented in her country and emphasized the importance of people “to stay angry”. There were representative of Irish Sinn Fein, without any hint of irony in his voice, thundered: “We are nationalist and republicans, fighting for socialism.”

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Representative of Left youth of Finland

 

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Representative of Irish Sinn Fein

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Weekly Reading List: Did we miscalculate Eastern European Ultra-Nationalism?

I would like to thank at the outset, to Katja Lihtenvalner who pointed it out to me, the shocking xenophobic posters coming up in Slovenia. (Photo by Nina Krajčinović)CSZjp19UwAEsKeM

For those who can’t read, it points out to random young people saying how Hitler was right, and the refugees should be gassed or shot en masse, to save Europe. Ironic, as it seems East Europeans forgot what Hitler did to them, considering them Untermensch beneath the Aryan race of the North-West Europe, and how Eastern Europeans migrated to the New World to flee Second World war, or even during the immediate aftermath of the collapse of Soviet Union, for a better life in the West.

Here’s my hypothesis. We never really understood the character of East Europe.

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