Yes to Nationalism, No to Imperialism

by Daniel Pipes
Washington Times
August 4, 2019

„Yoram Hazony’s breathtakingly counterintuitive book, The Virtue of Nationalism (Basic Books), corrects a simple but colossal mistake: The Nazi monstrosity, he argues, did not result from nationalism but from imperialism. Hitler aspired not to make Germany great in education, justice, and industry, but to create a thousand-year Reich (empire) and conquer the world.

This fact, obvious to everyone during World War II, soon thereafter disappeared from sight because post-war Germans, especially Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (in office 1949-63), believed that demonizing nationalism and transforming Germans into model Europeans would best serve to normalize their country and hinder yet another German drive to brutal conquest. Or, in Hazony’s more pungent formulation, the Germans decided to pursue their imperial dream not through invasion but through the gentler mechanism of what today is called the European Union (EU).

He relentlessly distinguishes virtuous nationalism („nations … able to chart their own independent course“) from evil imperialism („An imperial state … is always a despotic state“). Historically, dreary states like the Roman or Spanish empires have hosted oppression and backwardness. Today, imperialism is rampant: most obviously, China’s wealth enables Xi Jinping’s global ambition, with Russia and Iran similarly ambitious.“ (…)

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