The recent events in Ukraine reminded me to remind you guys that, if you’ve never read it, you should read Jerry Z. Muller‘s terrific 2008 piece for Foreign Affairs – “Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism” [pdf here]. It’s worth rereading periodically, too, since it’s so gosh durned excellent!:
A familiar and influential narrative of twentieth-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 postwar decades, western Europeans enmeshed themselves in a web of transnational institutions, culminating in the European Union (EU). After the fall of the Soviet empire, that transnational framework spread eastward to encompass most of the continent. Europeans entered a postnational era, which was not only a good thing in itself but also a model for other regions. Nationalism, in this view, had been a tragic detour on the road to a peaceful liberal democratic order.
“[A] survey would show that whereas in 1900 there were many states in Europe without a single overwhelmingly dominant nationality, by 2007 there were only two, and one of those, Belgium, was close to breaking up. Aside from Switzerland, in other words — where the domestic ethnic balance of power is protected by strict citizenship laws — in Europe the ‘separatist project’ has not so much vanished as triumphed.
“Far from having been superannuated in 1945, in many respects ethnonationalism was at its apogee in the years immediately after World War II. European stability during the Cold War era was in fact due partly to the widespread fulfillment of the ethnonationalist project. And since the end of the Cold War, ethnonationalism has continued to reshape European borders….
The comments are interesting too. It is indeed a different narrative than the one the EU is pushing now.
If true, then Europe could not do anything worse than encouraging mass immigration: especially from countries that are not even European, and that may even be Muslim – who remain the major religious group in the world most resistant to assimilation (unless you count assimilation to Islam.)