Nationalism: Hymns Ancient and Modern

Why can't the world seem to settle down into nice well-ordered democratic nation-states on the Western model?

Issue: Spring 1994

In western Europe, the unity of the EC seems to be unraveling. The
Balkans are being re-balkanized. In the Middle East, "national"
identity compounded by sectarian Islam asserts itself in wars that
drag in the whole world. In Africa, the "nations" that were the
legacy of arbitrary colonial boundaries are riven with tribal strife,
and the constantly ingenuous West is shocked to find the Zulus
killing their fellow black South Africans to retain their own
distinct "national" status. India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia are
repressing local nationalisms, and the "unity" of China is one of the
last engineered by centralized totalitarian force, after the
dissolution of the Soviet Union into its component nations. And so
the sorry tale--from the Western progressive liberal point of
view--continues. Why can't the world seem to settle down into nice
well-ordered democratic nation-states on the Western model?

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!