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To what extent does nationalism help or hinder in integrating a state?
Nationalism has often been synonymous in influencing methods of governance. However, the interpretation of nationalism has brought about unexpected consequences. Nationalism has seen a war that witnessed massive destruction to the world in the mid twentieth century, all due to the nationalist ambitions of Germany's Adolf Hitler.
Likewise, Italian leader Benito Mussolini harboured similar aspirations only to suffer the same fate as Germany. Conversely, nationalism also gave birth to the most populous nation in the world, China. The teachings of Mao Tse Tung, beginning in the nineteen fifties up to seventies has shaped China's economic and cultural landscape fifty years later. But not all leaders have been as successful as Chairman Mao. Robert Mugabe's leadership has been less impressive in Zimbabwe, with Zimbabwe's economic policies being rather myopic for its people (BBC, 2003). Nationalism has also fuelled a man to change the course of history for his people.
The civil war in the Balkans saw Yugoslavia disappear from the map of Europe. It then disintegrated to six smaller nations due to irreconcilable differences in race and religion. Nationalism has achieved significant desired results. The social unity displayed by the Japanese, for instance, ensured their meteoric rise from the brink of disaster to one of the world's economic superpowers. However, differing takes on nationalism by two leaders has brought about the division of Korea. This paper shall discuss the vagaries of nationalism and how experiences in world history have shown to either mould or divide a state as a result of various ideologies adopted by the respective leaders of states.
II. THEORIES OF NATIONALISM A. Liberal Nationalism According to Heywood (2002), nationalism suffers from "the political equivalent of multi-personality syndrome" (p. 111).
He views nationalism to fall under different categories of interpretation. Jean Jacques Rousseau, believed to be the chief instigator of the French Revolution (Kohn, 1965, p. 23), stressed that national unity can be achieved through democratic rule where equality amongst its citizens is the predominant belief of the state. The active participation of the citizens in deciding political leadership of the state is translated as "a feeling of brotherhood and mutual devotion" (Kohn, p.
21-22). This idea of "national self-determination" is termed as liberal nationalism. B. Expansionist Nationalism However, Rousseau's interpretation is not universal. National unity can actually be achieved through unerring obedience and allegiance to a single authority (Heywood, p. 116).
The leaders would glorify the past achievements of the state (Heywood, p. 117). This is known as expansionist nationalism. C. Conservative Nationalism Heywood also mentioned that nationalism is often an agent for social cohesion and order, where emphasis is based on "the sentiment of national patriotism" (p. 114).
This view of nationalism is known as conservative nationalism. D. Anti-colonial Nationalism Independence movements, often epitomized by the African countries, are features of another form of nationalism. Anti-colonialism acted as a "summons to the people" which brought about political consciousness (Guibernau & Hutchinson, 2001, p. 167).
This has helped to bring people of different races and ethnicity together under the common aim to get rid of colonial masters. This form of commonality is known as anti-colonial nationalism. III. NATIONALISM IN HOMOGENEOUS STATES A.
Mao's China Nationalism has shown to be successful in integrating homogeneous states. As stated by Heywood, states with "ethnic or cultural homogeneity" are often successful in making use of conservative or expansionist nationalism to bring about integration (p. 121). Chairman Mao, utilised socialist ideas and the personality cult he erected as a result, to promote nationalism (Kohn, p.
181). Mao created a common enemy, the bourgeoisie, for his people and widely propagated that the state was under siege from them. He also emphasised on the distinct characteristic of the "Chinese Marxist culture", which is how "it can never unite with the imperialist nature of other nations, because it is a revolutionary, national culture" (Mao, 1941, p. 181). This served to integrate China and gave it a strong national identity which it is proud of. The shared values and a common past which formed the basis of the state, is a prime example of conservative nationalism.
B. Germany and Hitler Hitler widely propagated the humiliation suffered by Germany as a result of World War One and this, combined with adverse economic conditions, made the Germans more determined to rebuild itself (Guibernau & Hutchinson, p. 58). In retrospect, this "extreme type of nationalism: fascism" has perverted the state and led to its devastation, which it took years to recover from (Guibernau & Hutchinson, p.
43). However, it is undeniable that Hitler's form of expansionist nationalism has integrated the state. Wimmer (2002) mentioned that the "republican dimension of German nationalism" had managed to bring about the "assimilation and incorporation of large groups of ethnic others, among them immigrant workers of Polish origin" (p. 56).
C. North, South Divided -- Korea Korea served to personify Heywood's view that nationalism suffers from "the political equivalent of multi-personality syndrome" in a tragic way (p. 111). Despite being a homogeneous or "macro-ethnic" state, the opposing ideologies within resulted in its division. (Guibernau & Hutchinson, p. 200).
North Korea, under the leadership of its "Eternal president" -- Kim Il Sung, followed his "personal philosophy of J uche, or self reliance" (BBC). The citizens' devotion to Kim is a distinctive feature of expansionist nationalism. South Korea, on the other hand, followed conservative nationalism. Its long history and suffering under foreign powers served as reminders to them of their solidarity. D. Japan and its revival Yoshino commented about Japan's use of nationalism to rebuild itself after its defeat in 1945 (Guibernau & Hutchinson, p.
148). Educational policies reflected the "removal of Occupation-imposed elements... and a return to traditional values and morals." This, combined with caution against "wartime ultra-nationalism" served to re-educate the Japanese, therefore propelling their economy to the second largest in the world during the eighties and early nineties. However, this re-education of the state does have its consequences. Mahbubani (1998) remarked that Japan is "ethnocentric and exclusive", with low tolerance towards foreigners (p. 108).
This is often a result of conservative nationalism in homogeneous states, as there is wide emphasis on the distinct cultural identity of the people. E. Advantage of homogeneous states One advantage that homogeneous states have over heterogeneous states is its uniformity. In contrast, heterogeneous states often have to deal with racial or ethnic conflicts. Hence, it can be seen that heterogeneity and multiculturalism is oftentimes "incompatible with conservative and expansionist nationalism" (Heywood, p. 121).
IV. HETEROGENEOUS SOCIETIES A. Mugabe's Zimbabwe In heterogeneous states, where there is multi-ethnicity and multiculturalism, nationalism, if ill-managed, will bring about tragic consequences. Young (Guibernau & Hutchinson) acknowledged that "widespread politicization of ethnic categories" in Africa upon its independence was an attempt to highlight the "potential significance of ethnic consciousness as a vote bank" (p. 174).
Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe since 1980, is such example. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) commented on its website that he manipulated nationalism to empower himself, as his "economic policies are widely seen as being geared to short term political expediency and the maintenance of power for himself." While Mugabe may have helped Zimbabwe achieve its independence, but overtime he also brought about its economic decline. The bias ness of his economic policies, imposed "with the stated aim of benefiting black farmers", has torn the state apart thereby worsening the racial ties between the blacks and the whites. B. Former Yugoslavia and Slobodan Miloseviae Ethnic cleansing is a consequence of extreme nationalism, as witnessed in the former Yugoslavia. Armstrong (Guibernau & Hutchinson) suggested that "remote fears of Turkish return appear to have been manipulated by President Slobodan Miloseviae and the army (JA) to maintain power beyond the narrow scope of Serbia" (p.
200). Miloseviae's use of nationalism to preserve power is parallel to Mugabe. The idea of an external threat ultimately resulted in the Serb ethnic cleansing of Bosnian's. This has shown how a political leader has made use of a common history shared by the state to propagate nationalism and empower himself.
V. SUCCESSES IN HETEROGENEOUS SOCIETIES A. Switzerland As much as homogeneous societies show more success, there are still some success stories in heterogeneous societies, like in Singapore and Switzerland. Wimmer considers Switzerland to be the former Yugoslavia's "equal in every way in linguistic and cultural diversity" (p.
86). Switzerland is also deemed by Wimmer to be a model of "a fully national ised modern state built on an ethnically heterogeneous basis" (p. 223). This hereby lays the difference between it and other heterogeneous states, which tend to focus on the superiority of a single race or ethnic group in the promotion of nationalism. Switzerland does not place emphasis on specific minority communities, in fact, all ethnic groups are considered to be equal. This form of liberal nationalism has hence prevented it from experiencing a "pervasive politicization of ethnicity" (p.
86). B. Singapore Similarly, Singapore is not a homogeneous society. Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's Senior Minister, made acute observations of the "cultural ethos at work" before making governmental policies. (Han et al, 1998, p. 175) Singapore places emphasis on the "values of hard work and thrift, and the virtues of increasing worker productivity" (Mahbubani, p.
184). These shared values of the state, a form of conservative nationalism, are of paramount importance to its citizens. Hence, the racial diversity within it is put aside for the interests of the state. VI. THE FLEETING NATURE OF INTEGRATION While cohesion of the state can be achieved by means of nationalism, history has shown that this unity can be momentary. Political leaders or parties who use nationalism for their own aims, for instance economic gains or the maintenance of power, are one such threat.
In such cases, the interests of the state and its welfare are neglected. Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's Senior Minister commented in an interview with CNN (Dec, 1998) that "No society is static." This insinuates that societal values, which are the basis of conservative nationalism, are ever changing. This can be substantiated by Lee's emphasis on the importance of "Asian core values" and the threats the Western media poses to it, as seen here: .".. Singaporeans, subject to a barrage of Western values, through the media and travel, could lose the cultural traits that had underpinned the country's success." (Han et al, 1998.
p. 187) Hence, the erosion of nationalistic ideas which the state was based on would threaten the continuation of integration of the state brought about by nationalism originally. A. Nationalism: Any Universal Model? Despite the success stories of nationalism, there is no 'utopia' for states to follow.
Is nationalism best served under the practice of democracy? Or is nationalism a by-product of socialism? The schizophrenic nature of nationalism has created much difficulty in the analysis of whether it has brought about more dissension than assimilation of the state. As much as nationalism is idealistic, human nature is not. Political leaders have constantly amended the constitution to consolidate their position in power, as seen Mugabe's exploitation of Zimbabwe's economy. Racial lines are vulnerable and susceptible to the greed of the insidious. In heterogeneous states particularly, racial alliances are vulnerable and can be easily exploited. Wimmer stated that "notions of political legitimacy" as purported by political leaders, were often "fused with the idea of national solidarity" (p.
201). This therefore brought about ethnocentrism and racism. Leaders who have achieved good level of success by using nationalism to mould the state are also afraid that it can go wrong at any one time. Lee Kuan Yew has sued a Workers' Party candidate, Tang Liang Hong, on the basis of "Chinese chauvin is (m) ." Tang tried to promote an increase in Chinese lessons in the curriculum in a bid to strengthen the Chinese cultural identity. The People's Action Party accused him of trying to topple racial balance, which could pose as a threat to the welfare of the state. VI.
CONCLUSION This paper has discussed the vagaries of nationalism and how experiences in world history have shown to either mould or divide a state as a result of various ideologies adopted by the respective leaders of states. Throughout the course of history, nationalism has been served as a political tool by leaders of the state to circumvent the electorate mindset. This has pervaded into much of the state's social, economic and political fabric. As much as nationalism has brought about the assimilation of the state, it has more often than not brought about the disintegration of the state. Stability brought about by nationalism is often fragile and transitory. All it takes is one person upon his appointment in charge to circumvent, monopolise and manipulate the system according to his needs, as seen in the cases of Mussolini, Mugabe and Hitler.
The greed of one man or one political party can often jeopardise the welfare of the entire state. Bibliography BBC, (2003). Country profiles: Germany. Retrieved October 15, 2003, from the BBC Web site: web Country profiles: Japan.
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