Nationalism versus Internationalism

English Essay on "Nationalism versus Internationalism"

Internationalism is one of the most familiar but controversial ideologies of our time, with the world opinion sharply divided on its feasibility. It is, no doubt, an infant doctrine, having been born as a definite idea only in the second quarter of the 20th century. But is gaining momentum so steadily that it has already come to be recognized as a forceful ideology capable of curing the conflict-ridden world of its besetting ills. Internationalism may, therefore, be called the ideology of the day and is sure to constitute the corner-stone of future of political thinking. Internationalism, like its adversary, Nationalism, is not easy to define in precise terms. It may, however, be described broadly as an idea of organizing the world population into a single political entity so as to pool up and utilize the total resources of the globe for the benefit of humanity, to which every race and every individual, unlike the present, shall have equal access. The ideology of Internationalism differs sharply both in its purposes and mechanisms of operation from Nationalism which, expressing through sovereign nation-states, stands upon the basis of competitive satisfaction of National aspirations. In course of this mutual competition, the interests of some, the weaker ones, are bound to give way to those of the rest who are powerful enough to secure them by force, if necessary. Such a position is antithetic to the harmonious development of mankind, apart from being fraught with explosive possibilities. It is this thoughtless competition which internationalism seeks to substitute by a cooperative endeavour to exist and develop, and above all, make our civilization free from the danger to which nationalism has exposed it time and again.

The needs and purposes of internationalization arise mainly out of the failure of nationalism to fulfill the aspirations of mankind at large. It is tragic Irony of fate that the noble ideal of Nationalism the parent of human freedom—is also inseparably associated with some incorrigible vices. Since its very birth, these have been dominating its operation so persistently that it is now impossible to think of nationalism without its evils, nationalism has thus developed into colonialism and robbed human liberty for centuries together. It has also procreated imperialist wars which threatened time and again to extinguish the human race. Even now, nationalism underlies the ominous portents of a third World War which, fought with nuclear weapons, is sure to annihilate the entire mankind. It is to eliminate the roots of this danger to our very existence that the aid of Internationalism is sought.

Further, modern society, under the impact of phenomenal scientific development, has already become overwhelmingly international in character. Inter-dependence of states has become the order of the day. No state does, in fact, no state can live all by itself. It has also come to be recognized that the interests of every nation is served better by mutual cooperation than by competition, while war benefits none. The world, in short, is at the threshold of an international order. In spite of this) there is no end of the fear of mutual aggression. This fear will however about as long as Nationalism exists. The result is the ever-increasing race for armament—the diversion of immense wealth of every nation towards constructing stronger and stronger national defence. Internationalism alone can dispel this atmosphere of fear and thus save this colossal waste of the world’s resources. The world as a whole can thereby become immensely richer—rich enough to feed, clothe and shelter its entire population to its heart’s content. Internationalism, therefore, is the key to the construction of a happy, prosperous human society which we all dream.

It may be argued that socialism can make nationalism free from its evils, because they arise out of its association with capitalism. While it is probable that a large measure of social control over the instruments of production will minimize the explosiveness of the situation, there is no reason to suppose that it will banish its evils altogether. Socialist England would use cotton and oil no less than now and would, therefore, flight to gain access to them. The need of securing national frontiers on the part of Socialist Russia cannot be less with a hostile neighbor in Socialist East Germany then It would be If the latter was Capitalist In her economic structure. “A world of Socialist States,” says Prof. Laski “independent of, and sovereign to, each other might easily become as mutually hostile as the states of the present epoc. As long as a state remains persistently nationalist in temper and invested with the sovereign right of decision and action, it remains perfectly capable of a abusing Nationalism, no matter whether it is capitalist or socialist. On the contrary, a socialist State can conduct its external relations with greater facility and immunity because no one could complain that its actions were directed to secure private interests. It, therefore, admits of a safe conclusion that nationalism in any form, whether socialist or capitalist, is no substitute for Internationalism which, is, therefore, axiomatic in any plan for international wellbeing.

But the degree to which the purposes of Internationalism will be achieved is dependent on the character of the organization through which it will express itself. There is, however, no unanimity of opinion on this point. Some have contemplated a sovereign World Federation with the existing nation states as its units. Others, are not prepared to go beyond arming the UNO so that it may enforce its decisions. As to the second suggestion, an armed UNO with its members remaining as sovereign as now, ca at best become another state perpetually engaged in war with those who defy its mandates. Such a measure will serve no fruitful purpose. What is fundamental to the construction of an effective international organization is the disappearance of separate national sovereignty, and the simultaneous establishment of a World Government vested with sovereign jurisdiction over the whole world. Nothing short of this, and no other method of compromise can provide a sound basis for the ideal of Internationalism to manifest itself effectively and serve the ends credited to it.

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