View Single Post
Old 01-10-2012, 11:29 AM
Florian Florian is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,118
Default Re: An apparition is stalking America

Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Nation states are geopolitical fictions without a real essence. They are more like players in a board game called geopolitics with ever-emergent opportunities for new moves, which are constrained by past actions. Hopefully, the game is ultimately non-zero, but truthfully it has some zero-sum (competitive) and non-zero (cooperative) features.
That's true, if you take the long view of history. The nation state is a geopolitical fiction, an invention of Europe, forged in war and revolution, that has gradually spread to the rest of the world, with very unequal results. The model is likely to last a while longer, but "my prophetic soul" tells me it will have to evolve into something transnational if humanity is to survive. Empires? Federations of states (like the EU)? The nation state is no longer a suitable framework for dealing with the problems that concern the whole planet. It may even be an obstacle. So I agree with the following:

Individual citizens of nations have rights, responsibilities and potentialities (creativity). I think it's wise, however, to demystify the ethnocentric or nationalistic components -- the identity politics -- of international affairs. Just analyze the moves without all the patriotic hoopla and noise.

Having said that, I have nothing against benign patriotism. I'm only disturbed when patriotism is employed as a bludgeon to beat other cultures or nations into submission, replaces history with mythology, or justifies abuses of power. The notion that the USA is exceptional among nations (as opposed to say Honduras, Ghana or Switzerland) is an arrogant delusion that in my view is very dangerous. It's a delusion of grandeur, and just as we mistrust such sentiments (disorders) in individuals, we must mistrust them in cultures and nations as well.
American "exceptionalism" is not at all exceptional, although it certainly has features that distinguish it from the exceptionalism of the older nation states----and I don't mean only its vastly superior military power. Any student of the history of Britain, France, or Germany (the three nation states that made the modern world) could easily dig up quotes about the civilizing mission of Europe that were as delusional in their time as the most delusional proclamations of contemporary American politicians.
Reply With Quote