Friday, March 19, 2010

When Nations Arise...

What the splintering of the Soviet Union and of a Yugoslavia whose baptismal certificate dated to the Paris peace conference of 1919 revealed was the accuracy of Arthur Schlesinger's insight in his 1991 Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society:

"Nationalism remains after two centuries the most vital political emotion in the world -- far more vital than social ideologies such a communism or fascism or even democracy. ... Within nation-states, nationalism takes the form of ethnicity or tribalism."

Ethnic ties, Schlesinger wrote, might prove more powerful and historically important than the forces of globalism and democratism, which then seemed ascendant. He only neglected to mention religious faith as often a "far more vital" emotion than ideology.

And though the Iraq elections have been hailed as a triumph of democracy, they would seem to prove him right.

Kurds voted for Kurds, Shia for Shia, Sunni for Sunni on a slate led by Ayad Allawi, a secular Shia who campaigned on a unity ticket.

The election results resemble a national census.


America is not a nation, but an empire. When that empire falls, and it will (as empires are no more immortal than the people who inhabit them), it will fracture along ethnic lines.

And true nations (clans, ethnic groups, tribes) will indeed emerge and re-establish themselves independently. That is the natural order of things. It always has been. The notion of "creed based nations" is as fictional as a "creed based family" - because just as families are biological, so are true nations.