Governments twist and mould world history and nationalist
urges to align with their socio-economic perspectives.

By Yusuf Ziya Karipek | August 2020

Dynamics of Nationalism
Can nationalism always be considered as the antithesis of globalization? The approach is fallacious because it only posits the view that, with ever-expanding globalization, national boundaries will be irrelevant. However, nationalism is not a defencive and isolationist force against economic globalization. Nationalism as a founding ideology is often reframed and moulded specific to one nation’s understanding of its own history, evaluation of the existing socio-economic conditions and projection of itself into the future. Nationalist sentiments can also be the catalyst for economic globalization.

In each nation, there is not one unified form of national identity, nor right or wrong form. Forms of nationalism are always sets of images that are independent and responsive to the realities of the outside world. Hence, competing understandings of nationalism portray completely contrasting views on the impact of economic globalization. The dynamic nature of nationalism allows itself to be distorted, reframed, restructured and remoulded. Nationalism, hence, constantly provides means and space for states to survive and achieve political legitimacy and orientation in their socio-economic targets/objectives. Thus, for some, globalization poses a threat to national identity and for some others, globalization in fact fosters nationalism.

Governments twist and mould world history and nationalist urges that align with their socio -economic perspectives. Subsequently, the deep-rooted struggle about finding the right ideology for the nation’s success shapes the approach towards economic globalization. Recently, right-wing nationalism in some of the developed nations can be regarded as a response and reaction to the uncertainties of economic globalization. On the other hand, many developing nations which have been the main beneficiaries of a more-integrated market economy have galvanized public opinion and moulded nationalist sentiments in support of greater economic globalization.

Pushback against Economic Globalization
The pushback against globalization, manifested in the Brexit vote and support for political leaders such as Donald Trump, stems from social and economic exclusion at the hands of economic globalization. With growing globalization and the changes it has brought to the world, many in the developed nations feel they are left behind by recent developments. Social and economic exclusion appears to have translated into support for leaders such as Trump.

Until recently, America’s historic mission of spreading values of free trade and liberty were contingent with what it meant to be an ‘American’, though the degree to which it has been publicly emphasized has varied. Undoubtedly, there was a broad consensus about the compatibility between American nationalism and the tenets of economic globalization. The compatibility was to the extent that the USA was willing to give up its own short-term economic interests for the sake of keeping the global economy running and maintaining intergovernmental institutions. It was hoped that by keeping the US wide open to the rest of the world’s exports and even granting economic favours, it would be in the favour of the US in the long-term. The US would be the main beneficiary of economic development by keeping allies all over the world.

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