Nationalism Threat on World Peace

“So it is the human condition that to wish for the greatness of one’s fatherland is to wish evil to one’s neighbors,” said Voltaire. The rise of nationalism across the world, especially in the US, the UK, Russia, China, Germany, France, Hungary, and Italy is alarming. Nationalism is a poisonous idea for it is a feeling of superiority over others and hostility towards other nations. It naturally leads to interventionism, conflicts, and wars. Nationalism breeds cockiness, which is a false confidence and abusive energy. It puts others down to feel good. Nationalism was the primary factor that kept Europe for centuries in conflicts, leading to WWI and WWII. We all recognize that it was the German nationalism that empowered Hitler and afterward brought shame to the Germans. Nationalism was also the factor in the 1990s that the Serbs massacred Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, which was globally televised. Most of us remember the 1995 UN safe-haven Srebrenica massacre perpetrated by the Serbian Christians. Nationalism is destructive. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said George Santayana.
Nationalism as it is expressed in the EU and the US is harming our democratic virtues and weaning our rule of law. The rise of nationalism in EU and the US threatens the global security. If unabated, it will leave us all economically exploited and morally humiliated. Unintentionally, it could also lead to WWIII.
In contrast, patriotism is productive. It is not the same as nationalism. Patriotism is being prideful of one’s own people or nation for its accomplishments, ready to cooperate with others towards doing good deeds, and willing to defend it against any foreign aggression. It breeds confidence, which comes from the pure and genuine feelings. It breeds positive energy to nurture growth.
Iraq makes a perfect example of the difference of nationalism and patriotism within a country. ISIS terrorists behaved as Wahhabi nationalists and Iraqi defenders acted as patriots. Which do you think healthier for a nation?
Upon hearing of the Boston Marathon, San Bernardino, and Orlando’s domestic terror attacks, we were quick to assume Muslim involvement or dismiss the attacks short after when realizing it as only “domestic terror”. The Olympic Park, Charleston Church, Sutherland Springs Church, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Parkland massacres, and school shootings are taken in stride. Just in the first two months in 2018, there were 18 school shootings in the US.
We Americans are hurt by domestic terrorism, yet we program the masses on the idea of foreign terror attacks upon us and we wage pre-emptive wars on other nations, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Yemen. In the media and on television, we see the devastation inflicted on Yemen and how the innocent Yemenis are terrorized daily by the Saudi planes aided by the US. Before pointing our fingers at nations, how about looking at our other four fingers pointing at ourselves? We must recognize there are equally good and bad traits across all cultures, religions, races. It is up to us to influence the world for the better.
No religion, nation, or race is intrinsically bad or good. It is what we make it to be. To an assured and peaceful person, it is love and peace to share with others. To a fearful and vicious person, it is a tool to dominate others. Let us treat the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and people of faith or no faith as we would like to be treated.
Dr. Mehdi Alavi, President
Peace Worldwide Organization

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