Over the past years, rising nationalism, and yet for a say, extremism, has clearly been witnessed on every account. Right from Donald Trump’s role in the recent US politics and crises, the official exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the nationalist policies of the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the success of far-extremist parties in Italian, German and Austrian elections in 2017 and 2018, Nationalism appears to be on rise globally.
While there is no universal trend towards nationalism, it has become more prevalent in global politics in recent years. This increased visibility is less attributable to a shift of global attitudes, but rather of the political and social articulation of these attitudes. Determining the causes for this shift are country-specific, but are overall grounded in the resonance of anti-elite discourse and a crisis of liberal democracy. No article can provide an exhaustive global perspective, neither does this try to do. Instead, it seeks to reflect on trends in countries around the world and try to offer an understanding of this global phenomenon that is neither alarmist, nor ignores patterns that transcend one country, region or continent.
There is no clear global trend that would suggest a rise of nationalism, but instead, there has been a rise of nationalist politics in some countries, either expressed by the rise of new parties, the electoral success of nationalist candidates or the shift of public discourse of established parties. This trend is neither uniform nor universal. However, this does not signal that there is no reason for concern. Further exogenous shocks can increase the significance of nationalism; nationalisms through their inherently confrontational structure can also mutually increase tensions and conflict. The structural causes of nationalism are deeply engrained and not easily changed. The global economic crisis has been one contributing factor to the rise of nationalism in countries where particular groups feel disadvantaged and fear or experience a loss of status.
The global economic crisis has been one contributing factor to the rise of nationalism in countries where particular groups feel disadvantaged and fear or experience a loss of status. The economics behind Trump’s “America First” nationalism are dubious but the explanatory initiation has foregrounded with a reason of unemployment for the citizens due to immigrants. Britain finds the same roots of nationalism to secure the national interests, resulting in the arguments of Brexit.
The democratic backsliding around the world, from Hungary to Turkey, from Venezuela to the United States has repercussions for nationalism. Less democratic regimes are more likely to use nationalism. They are more in need to shore up legitimacy—especially when economies fail to perform—and they are more able to direct public opinion. Furthermore, modern autocracies usually have to perform at the ballot box. Few un-democratic governments have no elections. Thus, nationalism provides often for an easy and dangerous resource. Considering the link between authoritarianism, populism and nationalisms, these phenomena need to be considered jointly. Thus, strategies reducing populism politics or authoritarian structures and attitudes are likely to have positive effects on nationalism.
There is no panacea for nationalism as long as it is endemic to the global social system. However, there are strategies to reduce its exclusionary and virulent side. As this study suggests, the manifestations of nationalism are manifold, thus the response has to be as well.
While many nations have succeeded in using nationalism to develop, this same nationalism has also generated forms of exclusivism and competition that make it hard to resolve shared global problems.
Nationalism in ASIA
Japan provides a surprising example. Meiji Japan’s top-down nationalism led to rapid expansion of its own development as well as to imperial expansion.
Growth was likewise driven in the populous nation-states of China and India, despite their disparity in experiments with socialist forms of development and varied U.S. influence. Growth in both nations was enabled by powerful nationalist movements—especially revolutionary nationalism in China—premised on a more equitable contract with the population than the older imperialist order. Development, in other words, was encouraged by the inclusive nationalism that grew out of redistributive justice and the economic and political failures of the older system, and the rise of new classes that demanded change.
These fluctuations in the tone of a particular form of nationalism are shaped by more than state-influenced macro-economic factors. Most international studies of economic development take the nation-state as a stable basis of their analysis.
The trend that was Globalisation has new drifted on a major level with many countries taking a nationalist approach, evidence of which is found through the rising economies and declining international relations among various countries.
Within the EU, politicians such as Italy’s Salvini and Hungary’s Viktor Orban are a part of the new wave of nationalists. In Turkey, the ‘black Turks’ have been avid backers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and are bitterly opposed by the more secular and globalist ‘White Turks’. In Asia too, stark divides have emerged between middle- class voters in big cities and those in the small towns.
This emerging nationalism is undoubtedly an easy resource but an indefinite one, resulting in an ignorance towards issues of international importance and conflicts. However, there are strategies to reduce its exclusionary and virulent side. While many nations have succeeded in using nationalism to develop, this same nationalism has also generated forms of exclusivism and competition that make it hard to resolve shared global problems.
2021, as will be the year of economically emerging nationalist countries, as the media states, needs to look out for the global political repercussions and effects so as to pave a better way towards the upcoming global-warmed hardships internationally.