The Political Psychology
For the past 200 years or so, nationalism has been an important driving force in political behavior. Nationalism is not universal, not everyone is a nationalist, and it is not always present, but it lies dormant until a threat or opportunity to the nation is perceived by the populace. Nationalism emerged first in Europe with the development of the modern state, following the French Revolution. Nationalism has been considered one of the most dangerous sources of political behavior in the twentieth century. German nationalism is blamed for World War II, and it certainly played a major role in causing that conflict. The nationalisms of various communities in Yugoslavia tore that country apart in the 1990s. Conflict between the United States and its Latin American neighbors often rests upon nationalistic indignation by one at the behavior of the other. The causes of nationalism and the impact of nationalism on political behavior are the topics of this chapter. They are illustrated with many examples from different regions of the world. Various conflict resolution strategies, which can be used to ameliorate these conflicts, are then addressed.
We begin with a general discussion of nationalism, its definition, the patterns of nationalistic behavior, the psychological roots of nationalism, and a description of different kinds of states with varying arrays of nationalists and nationalism. This is followed by a discussion of the political psychological causes of nationalist passions and behavior. From there, we present case illustrations of patterns of behavior. We begin with a look at nationalists' responses to perceived threats to national values and the case of Western European responses to immigrants. Next, we look at nationalism and the strong desire nationalists have for unity and independence for their people. This is illustrated in the cases of Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia's breakup, the Albanian revolt in Kosovo, the conflict in Cyprus, German unification, the revolt in Chechnya, and the Kurds' drive for independence from Turkey. Then we turn to the impact of nationalism on foreign policy behavior, and we look at World War II, the war on drugs in U. S. –Mexico relations, and Russian and Chinese nationalism in post–Cold War foreign policy. We conclude with a look at some conflict resolution techniques in nationalistic conflicts.
Before beginning any discussion of nationalistic behavior, a definition of the concept is necessary. In this chapter, Emerson's (1960) definition of nationalism is used:
The nation is a community of people who feel they belong together in the double sense that they share deeply significant elements of a common heritage and that they have a