Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy has just written a piece on nationalism, which he calls the most important political force in the world. It’s a nice read, but focuses too little on the central theme of my recent piece on nationalism. That is, nationalism as an essential force for war. There is one point of overlap though:
[M]odern states also have a powerful incentive to promote national unity — in other words, to foster nationalism — because having a loyal and united population that is willing to sacrifice (and in extreme cases, to fight and die) for the state increases its power and thus its ability to deal with external threats.
And here’s something I wholeheartedly agree with:
Unless we fully appreciate the power of nationalism, in short, we are going to get a lot of things wrong about the contemporary political life. It is the most powerful political force in the world, and we ignore it at our peril.