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France: The Birth Place of Modern Nationalism

french flag against blue sky

The birthplace of contemporary and modern nationalism is France, which originated from the legacy of the French Revolution in 1789 and is responsible for revolutions within the European continent, particularly in 1848.

The revolutions of 1848 were a series of republican revolts against European monarchies, beginning in Sicily and spreading to France, Germany, Italy, and the Austrian Empire. They all ended in failure and repression and were followed by widespread disillusionment among liberals.

Furthermore, the impact of the French Revolutionary Wars from 1793 to 1799 and the French Napoleonic Wars from 1799 to 1815 witnessed the French attempt to conquer the European continent and, through this process, exported French nationalism and French military technology to the rest of Europe.

(Nationalism is an ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests.)

France: The Birth Place of Modern Nationalism

Herodotus

The development of nationalism is highly complex in the European context. Nationalism has three origins and its process of development.

The first is the legacy of the Greeks and the historian Herodotus, who spent his entire life working on just one project: an account of the origins and execution of the Greco-Persian Wars (499–479 B.C.) that he called “The Histories.”

(It’s from Herodotus’ work that we get the modern meaning of the word “history.”)

The Greeks created a sense of difference between the Persian and Greek people, and separate identities would be made from this belief of difference. Furthermore, the Greeks established the core DNA of nationalism.

Nationalism must be learned; people require knowledge of their geographical history to identify with the nation’s story, which is something that the French Revolution strongly promoted.

What constituted French or France in the 18th century was very much focused on France’s cities.

In contrast, its rural communities did not see themselves as French, merely identifying with the regions and having no educational or little educational understanding of French history and its standing in Europe.

This is why to be a nationalist and for nationalism to work, a person or people must have a particular view on what it means to be French, English and German.

However, Nationalism got a terrible reputation due to the actions of Germany and its people’s brand of nationalism; in the 20th century, nationalism greatly deteriorated the general attitude toward nationalism.

The author and writer Douglas Murray states that English nationalism, British nationalism, and French nationalism are not a problem.

The reason why politicians are scared of nationalism is German nationalism, which was the real problem.

For people reading this need a brief overview, it was German nationalism that caused the two world wars in the 20th century and the deaths of nearly a hundred million people.

Nationalism and Herodotus

The Roman Empire

Imperial Rome lasted from 31 BC to 476 A.D. or from the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire/Byzantium in 1453 A.D.

During this period, the Romans established nationalism, being the foreigners and the barbarians not having Roman civilisation. Due to this concept, a key component of nationalism is the othering of other societies and the promotion of their Roman identities.

For the Romans, whether a person was from North Africa, the Mediterranean, or Arabia did not matter.

All that mattered was loyalty to the Empire and cultural assimilation into what it meant to be Roman. Roman leaders came from all corners of his empire, and it was not divided along racial lines, ethnic groups, or other identifications, which we consider today.

The United States’ identity is very much drawn upon racial discrimination, and race plays a predominant role in American politics and its psyche as a nation.

In contrast, it is the economic divide between the working, middle, and upper classes in countries like Britain.

The French see people who live in France and who are French citizens as purely French; they cannot be African or any other ethnic group because, due to the legacy of the French Revolution of 1789, everybody living in France is French.

The reason the French did this was that during the Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic wars, there was no sense in the nonurban areas of what it meant to be French, so to make the French French, the government made it so the people in France had to be French which included stamping out any remaining regional and ethnic differences within France after 1789.

Nationalism: King Edward I of England 1272 to 1307

Proto Nationalism

The earliest form of nationalism originates from Western Europe, notably the King of England, which has existed from 927 until the present day; with this nation also being an island nation, a sense of Englishness could be developed from the sense of otherness of the European continent.

This was developed due to the lack of communication technology before the development of the radio, Telegraph, and other faster forms of communication in the 19th century.

This allowed the English people to develop more independently from other influences throughout the European continent, making them culturally different from their European counterparts.

This difference and separation enabled the creation of the English Commons, one of the rare legal systems that developed separately from Roman law that dominated the European continent until this day.

In the 21st century, only two legal traditions are in use: the old Roman imperial law or Roman law and English common law, which both develop separately and independently of one another.

So now we’ve established the creation of separate cultural and legal traditions that helped to develop a sense of nationalism; the next part of nationalism generated within the kingdom of England was in the late 13th century when King Edward I of England ruled that country.

During his rule from 1272 to 1307, Edward I’s conquest of Wales took place between 1277 and 1283. It is sometimes referred to as the Edwardian Conquest of Wales to distinguish it from the earlier Norman Conquest of Wales.

The English flag of St George was used throughout King Edward I’s rule and continues to be used until contemporary times. This symbol highlights the emergence of an English identity, a form of Proto-nationalism that will continue to be developed throughout the late 13th until the 15th century.

Further compounding the creation of English nationalism was that from 1277 until 1453, England was at constant war with France, Scotland, and other neighbouring kingdoms, dukedoms, and principalities within Western Europe.

The Hundred Years’ War between 1337 and 1453 also helped establish a separate cultural and physical identity not linked to France’s predominant culture and influence, the most powerful kingdom throughout the mediaeval ages.

Nationalism: French Revoulution

What is French Nationalism

Modern nationalism’s birthplace is in France because the French created the concept of a nation-state that became connected to an ethnic group rather than building massive empires. A nation could sustain itself by supporting one ethnicity in one region.

This concept became functional and practical throughout different regions around the globe, enabling nations to hold themselves together by building a collective identity in contrast to empires that are multi-ethnic and prone to collapse either internally or externally.

The French created a stable system to make a nation function and develop reasons to keep the state alive.

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US and Saudi Arabia Relations

middle eastern countries in a world map

Yesterday we covered the key players in the US and Saudi relations. Today we’ll look at the strategic implications of this relationship over the past 40 years and what it looks like moving forward.

Saudi Arabia matters to the US more than many other US allies. Not only are the Saudis massive oil exporters, but they also have strong ties to the world’s Muslim population.

France, Germany and the Brits

The United States’ most important European allies are the Germans, the French and the Brits.

However, British influence is seriously declining with the UK leaving the European Union.

The Germans are heading towards the collapse of its population, a trend for the past 40 years due to the German Boomer generation not having a replacement generation.

The Germans still have the option of immigration, though with taking 15.3 million people in Germany, just under one in five nationwide, immigrated there at some point in their lives, according to new government statistics for 2022. Almost 5 million more were born to migrant parents.

The German population is 79,903,481 (July 2021 est.) German 86.3%, Turkish 1.8%, Polish 1%, Syrian 1%, Romanian 1%, other/stateless/unspecified 8.9% (2020 est.).

With the influx of immigration from the migrant crisis and possibly Ukrainians fleeing the Ukraine War, Germany’s population is still declining unless the trends and courses of people not having children in Germany is the first.

Immigrants after generation tend to adapt and take upon the culture of the new nation, which means immigration short-term is merely a sticking plaster for long-term problems within Germany and developed countries.

The United Kingdom has resolved this problem temporarily with immigration from the ex-British Empire, and the French successfully had a replacement generation which all the other nations in Europe had failed to accomplish.

As for your American long-term ally, in the region providing the European Union survives Germany’s economic and political irrelevance. It’s highly debated whether or not the French care about the European Union or whether or not they see the EU as merely a means to expand the influence of France.

The New Cold War Saudi Arabia

Over the past few decades, the US and the Saudis have partnered up to tackle a handful of critical situations, from stalling the Soviets to the war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989 to spur economic growth in Europe and Japan; this relationship has proven vital.

The bottom line is that with major players like Russia and China already in motion, the US and Saudis won’t allow ugly politics to get in the way of geopolitical relations.

Saudi Arabia is a power centre and doesn’t need to be under the American wing, but there’s still a mutually beneficial relationship on the table. Even when the Saudis put journalists on barbecues, and that is not a joke.

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What the United States Could do if There is Conflict with China

shallow photography of usa flag

The United States, since the end of the Cold War in 1989, began an approach meant and integration of the Chinese economy into the international financial markets and global trade in hopes that the growth of the Chinese economy would lead to economic and, most importantly, democratic reforms.

This, unfortunately, is proving to be a colossal strategic mistake because rather than becoming a beacon of democracy, China has become the biggest threat to American and Western influence, with the economic prosperity being built upon the working classes in the United States and the Global North.

The way globalisation works is that each nation, where originally generalists were good at manufacturing, financial services, and cash crops, after 1945, national become specialists.

A great example of this economic specialisation is Germany and China creating manufacturing goods, the United Kingdom with its financial services and the legacy of the British Empire regarding finance. And finally, the Chinese handle the lower and middle end of manufacturing, such as semiconductors.

China is currently the world’s largest semiconductor market in terms of consumption. In 2020, China represented 53.7% of worldwide chip sales or $239.45 billion out of $446.1 billion. However, a large percentage are imported from multinational suppliers.

action active activity adult  Conflict with China
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What is Globalisation, and How is this Relevant to Conflict with China

Globalisation, as we understand it, only truly began at the end of the Second World War lasting from 1939 until 1945; with the creation of economic world order under the American security blanket, the Americans would guarantee will trade and access to resources for the alliance fighting against the Soviet Union.

The United States has become embroiled in so many wars since the end of the Second World War because America is not just fighting for its strategic interests but also the interests of its allies in Europe.

American involvement in Vietnam began in 1947 due to America’s ally France. The Gulf War conflict was launched from 1990 to 1991 to protect the oil supply of its European allies, and the concern about Saddam Hussein violating the sovereignty of Kuwait was a secondary concern.

What is truly unique about the USA is that rather than building an Empire to secure access to goods and services, and resources necessary to wage war and build a prosperous nation, it instead made an environment where nearly everybody, as in every nation, would become a winner if they were allied to the USA.

If a nation in the past did not have access to steel, that nation would not be able to industrialise; the Americans made it so all countries from 1945 forward could begin the economic development process and secure the protection of smaller nations.

Nations like Estonia, Latvia, Poland and many other smaller nations could exist before 1945 due to them being too small, lacking resources or other reasons why they lacked viability as independent nations.

By the end of the 18th and 19th centuries, Europe was dominated by France, Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire/the Austrian Empire, Spain and a few other nations due to previous independent states such as Poland and Lithuania Commonwealth not being able to survive due to the nature of great power competition.

The Americans ended the international circles of rivalry called the great game of international politics by creating an environment where each nation had access to resources and trading markets without waging wars of conquest, colonialism and piracy to get resources.

A changed world can be seen with the doubling of the world population between 1950 and 1987: a doubling from 2.5 to 5 billion people in just 37 years — the population doubled within a little more than one generation. The world population as of 2023 is over 8 billion.

Also, the World trade volume today is roughly 45 times the level recorded in the early days of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 4500% growth from 1950 to 2022. World trade values today have ballooned by almost 400 times from 1950 levels.

bridge over river in city  Conflict with China
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How America Can Defeat China

If there is going to be a conflict with China, according to the geopolitical strategist, analyst, and author Peter Zeihan USA could defeat China in a conflict within 6 to 8 months by blocking shipments of oil from Saudi Arabia to China. Saudi Arabia is China’s leading crude oil supplier.

In 2021, China imported nearly 81 million metric tons of crude oil from the Middle Eastern producing giant.

The majority of China’s oil imports originated from countries in the Middle East. Access to oil is necessary for China to keep its cities, transport networks and food available for its population.

Within 6 to 8 months, China will be starving to death because, like all nations engaged in the international world order created by the United States, they depend on the security blanket made by the Americans to run their economies.

The growth of China during the last 40 years is dependent upon the Americans for security, and particularly the Navy of the USA China still does not have a deep water Navy and cannot get past the China Sea, making that nation locked within its region and borders.

In a war, Taiwan and Japan may be devastated. Still, China would ultimately be defeated by an American blockade and the destruction of food imports, oil imports, and technological aid provided to China by other nations.

The Americans have created world peace by making the globe’s nations dependent upon the United States to run the economy due to the American security guarantee that has existed since 1945.

As Americans continued to vote for presidents since George HW Bush, in office from 1989 to 1993, was voted out of office 1993, American presidents have become more isolationist and more American first focused and ignoring the rest of the world.

Should the Americans retreat from their security commitments since 1945 and revert to a more traditional view of American foreign policy consistent since its first president George Washington (1789 to 1797), of being isolationists and not being pulled into foreign conflicts?

With this way of thinking, we could see a world looking very similar to the 18th and 19th centuries, and there may be global famines, supply shortages, and a host of other tragedies happening without American security keeping the system alive.

The United States, in this kind of situation, would suffer the at most high inflation due to the need to rebuild its manufacturing capacity at home. Still, regarding energy security and economies of scale, America doesn’t need the rest of the world to be prosperous.

In nearly every way, America is blessed with their land and an entire continent with no rivals, with Canada and Mexico becoming dependencies of the United States.

selective focus photography of brown wooden book shelf  Conflict with China
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Sources and Bibliography

China Power How is China Feeding its Population of 1.4 billion? Link  

Council of Foreign Relations China Increasingly Relies on Imported Food. That’s a Problem link

Statistics Main suppliers of crude oil to China in 2020 and 2021 link

Britannica Persian Gulf Middle East link

Wikipedia Semiconductor industry in China link

Our World in Data World Population Growth link

World Trade Organisation Evolution of trade under the WTO: handy statistics link

World of Meters Current World Population link

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