A quick post spurred by a conversation today that hit on a topic of interest.
What is nationalism? A way of grouping people together for a common purpose and common cause. Nationalism as we typically understand it today is based on late 18th and 19th century ideas that, in the western Gramscian experience, shaped nations for the benefit of the state.
To understand how to engage a foreign audience, it is important to understand their grammar. In other words, what are the nouns and verbs they use and why. Do they, make oblique (to us) references to landmark events? If so, why? Is the verb choice intentionally active or passive? How do we navigate this "rugged" landscape?
When looking at the "Arab Mindset", are there more reference points that might have common ground with our own? Are some groups really vying for a new form of nationalism not based on how we in the west interpret it but yet conforming to the original conceivers of it.
Is the quote below a useful description of the nationalism some people seek?
A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.
Not directly related, but interesting discussion:
- Books on the Arab Mindset discussion at the Small Wars Journal
By the way, Joseph Stalin wrote the above definition.
One thought on “Rethinking nationalism”
Thoughts?In my opinion: “A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” is a pretty good definition of ‘nation’ no matter who penned it.
To achieve that in Iraq and in the Middle East generally, one would have to erase every line drawn on the maps by (initially) British cartographers and undo years of land give aways to regional strongmen.
I’m not optimistic, and another Stalin quote comes to mind on how nationhood might be otherwise achieved:
“For some people, four walls are three too many”.
That, or some variation, is what is likely to happen in Iraq as soon as the U.S. starts it’s withdrawal, but there is no way to prevent it lest the US maintain eternal presence.
In the same vein, I present a “one month plan” for extraction of ALL U.S. ground troops from Iraq penned by Stan Goff, Feral Scholar, Ex-Special Forces:
From the comments to This Post @ Feral Scholar
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