Will the rise of nationalism in Europe mean the end of the EU?
Nothing good ever came out of nationalism in Europe… except the EU!The rise of nationalism is definitely a threat to the EU. We have seen it with Brexit. Thankfully the Netherlands didnt follow the same path. France is coming next (in two weeks). Then Italy and Germany.Europe has known an incredible number of wars… until we started the economic cooperation and the EU.I believe in the power of exchange and integration. When people exchange, they are more likely to know, understand and rely on each other. Economic cooperation raises the stakes and make the price to pay for an armed conflict too high that nobody has any interest in it. Sure, Europe has other problems, but it is still one of the biggest economy in the world. What Europe needs is more Europe, not less. We have a rich history and we need to stand for our values in order to keep them. Divided, we are weak (divide to better reign applies here).
Do you think nationalism is on the rise in Europe?
Yes, but it’s mostly not the kind of fascist or exclusive nationalism associated with Germany, Italy and Spain in the 20th century but rather what is usually described as Romantic nationalism, which is more about culture and identity. Germany experienced both, Romantic Nationalism in the 18th-19th century and fascist nationalism in the 20th century. Without Romantic Nationalism, we would not have the work of, say, Goethe or the great nationalist composers such as Sibelius, Janacek et al.To me, it is a natural consequence of an increasingly centralised and homogeneous society. We find ourselves increasingly governed by remote and unaccountable authorities who promote consistent norms of behaviour. We naturally react by emphasising our differences. I suspect that this will increase and will not be aligned to any particular demographic. We are encouraged to express our differences until we are not. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told that the EU wants to promote diversity of culture and the number of times I have heard people being criticised for doing so. It feels like the EU want all the benefits of diversity unless that diversity means the expression of ideas that they disapprove of. To me, that’s authoritarian and paternalistic. It seems natural to resist it because we want to be free to express ourselves.
Do you think that the because of the recent rise of Nationalism across Europe we could see an end to the migrant crisis and the collapse of the EU?
There is no “wave of nationalism” in Europe. The only nationalism in Europe that every threatened anybody was German nationalism. Luckily, Germany still does not possess a functioning military. But watch out when they do.
Did the rise of Zionism coincide with the general rise in nationalism near the end of the Ottoman Empire?
This is an interesting question because it puts Zionism in a historical perspective by putting it on the same level as other nationalist movements near the end of the Ottoman Empire. It's true that the end of the Ottoman Empire was marked by the rise of nationalism amongst peoples which had been dominated by this Empire (Greeks, Slavs in the Balkans, Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa etc.). The difference between the Zionists and the before mentioned peoples was that the Zionists proclaimed a return to a country from which they were thrown out 2000 years ago, whereas the other peoples never left their home country. So there is a fundamental difference and I'm not sure that the nationalism of the Zionists can be considered on the same level as those of the other peoples in the former Ottoman Empire.