Skip to comments.The return of ethnic nationalism
Posted on 02/27/2008 7:32:24 AM PST by Main Street
In Africa last week, President Bush deplored the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s, defended his refusal to send U.S. troops to Darfur and decried the ethnic slaughter in Kenya.
Following a fraudulent election, the Kikyu, the dominant tribe in Kenya, have been subjected to merciless assault. People are separating from one another and butchering one another along lines of blood and soil.
According to a compelling lead article in the new Foreign Affairs, "Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism," we may be witnessing in the Third World a re-enactment of the ethnic wars that tore Europe to pieces in the 20th century.
"Ethnonationalism," writes history professor Jerry Z. Muller of Catholic University, "has played a more profound role in modern history than is commonly understood, and the processes that led to the dominance of the ethnonational state and the separation of ethnic groups in Europe are likely to recur elsewhere."
Western Man has mis-taught himself his own history.
Writes Muller: "A familiar and influential narrative of 20th-century European history argues that nationalism twice led to war, in 1914 and then again in 1939. Thereafter, the story goes, Europeans concluded that nationalism was a danger and gradually abandoned it. In the post-war decades, Western Europeans enmeshed themselves in a web of transnational institutions, culminating in the European Union."
Muller contends that this is a myth, that peace came to the Old Continent only after the triumph of ethnonationalism, after the peoples of Europe had sorted themselves out and each achieved its own home.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were three multi-ethnic empires in Europe: the Ottoman, Russian and Austro-Hungarian. The ethnonationalist Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913 tore at the first.
World War I was ignited by Serbs seeking to rip Bosnia away from Austria-Hungary. After four years of slaughter, the Serbs succeeded, and ethnonationalism triumphed in Europe.
Out of the dead Ottoman Empire came the ethnonationalist state of Turkey and an ethnic transfer of populations between Ankara and Athens. Armenians were massacred and expelled from Turkey.
Out of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires came Finland, Estonia, Lativia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. In the latter three nations, however, a majority ethnic group ruled minorities that wished either their own national home, or to join lost kinsmen.
In Poland, there were Ukrainians, Germans, Lithuanians and Jews. In Czechoslovakia, half the population was German, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Ruthenian or Jewish. In Yugoslavia were Slovenes, Croats, Bosnians, Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins and Albanians.
The Second World War came out of Hitler's attempt to unite all Germans in one ethnonational home thus the Anschluss with Austria, the demand for return of the Sudeten Deutsch, and the pressure on Poland to return the Germans' lost city of Danzig, and for Lithuania to give back German Memel and the Memelland it seized in 1923.
World War II advanced the process in the most horrible of ways.
The Jews of Europe, with no national home, perished, or fled to create one, in Israel. The Germans of the Baltic states, Prussia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Balkans and their own eastern provinces, almost to Berlin, were expelled in the most brutal act of ethnic cleansing in history 13 million to 15 million Germans, of whom 2 million perished in the exodus.
At the end of World War II, Europe's nations were more ethnically homogenous than they had ever been, at a horrendous cost in blood.
After 45 years of Cold War, the remaining multi-ethnic states the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia broke up into more than two dozen nation-states, all rooted in ethnonationlism.
As Muller argues, ethnonationalism may be a precondition of liberal democracy. Only after all the tribes of Europe had their own ethnically homogenous nation-states did peace and comity come. And what happened in Europe in the 20th century may be a precursor of what is to come in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
In China, Uighurs, Mongolians and Tibetans all resist assimilation. Tatarstan may be the next problem for Russia. In the Balkans, it is Kosovo. Serbs there and in Bosnia may emulate the Albanians and secede.
Americans, writes Muller, "find ethnonationalism discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Social scientists go to great lengths to demonstrate that this is a product not of nature but of culture. ...
"But none of this will make ethnonationalism go away."
Indeed, we see it bubbling up from the Basque country of Spain, to Belgium, Bolivia, Baghdad and Beirut. Perhaps the wisest counsel for the United States may be to get out of the way of this elemental force. Rather than seek to halt the inexorable, we should seek to accommodate it and ameliorate its sometimes awful consequences.
And we should look to our own land. According to Pew Research, there will be 127 million Hispanics here by mid-century, tripling today's 45 million and almost 100 million new immigrants. No nation faces a graver threat from this resurgence of ethnonationalism than does our own.
Look homeward, America
My girlfriend is a Serb who says that Kosovo is gone and will become part of a larger islamic nation. She points to Kosovo as a sign of America’s future if something isn’t done about our border fast.
Interesting read by Buchanan. Question is how small a fragment can be broken off of current nations without degenerating into something like Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cyprus, etc.
Well, there are some factual over-simplifications here.
Every European country has ethnic minorities, the majority happily living wherever they happen to be.
The Czechs, for instance, are not some monolithic group within the Czech Republic. There are Silesians and Moravins as very large “minorities” (most just consider themselves to be Czech) and Ruthenians, Hungarians, Slovaks,etc. The overwhelming majority are not seeking a “homeland” that is somehow ethnically pure. This is true for Spain and Italy as well.
There are a few trouble makers in the world. The Albanians are a classic example.
The author implies that the old imperial model is better. That is ahistorical, unless you are an Austrian aristocrat. They abused ethnic and religous minorities terribly, helping the rise of what he seems to be the problem.
Kosovo is not gone.If it is so is Europe and whole western civilisation.
I believe future brings free (of islamo-Albanians) Kosovo.
Your proposal is?
Stay out of it. Especially Kosovo.
In the neighborhoods, there were Italian, Polish, and Irish parishes for religion but the children went to school together, married, and had children that were then the joy of the grandparents.
Bottom line is that there has to be a willingness to assimilate. The Bible Jewish history indicates that something was lost through assimilation and participants condemned. The Irish [in Ireland] had similar views of those from the South marrying those from the North. However, in America, they married and lived happily ever after.
So what is boils down to is assimilate or fight. Logic requires that the State make all out efforts to assimilate and that requires willingness and time to digest.
I don’t have a problem with a little ethnic nationalism as long as people aren’t killing each other. Why should Greeks not be proud of being Greek? Why should Koreans not be proud of being Korean?
1. Withdrawal of NATo
2. Ebterance of Serbian army and restoring order.
Albanians severed of US support would have to accept Serbia. Albanian uprising came only with US NATO encouragment.
How far would you take that pride? To the point where you'll want to annex part of your new "homeland" to the mother country, such as will probably happen if our "leaders" in Washington continue to allow the de facto invasion of the American SW by Mexico?
BTW, when he's finished his second term as President, maybe Bush could become the king of Azatlan.