In response to Bryce's second comment: While a grad student in the states, I actually attended that John Dower lecture where he compared the Bush administration to the government of Japan in the 1930s. (Not that my being there means anything.) It was a very moving speech, and Dower had many good points. But I think to blame nationalism for, specifically, the disaster in Iraq, is to ignore the broader picture.
There’s no doubt that the rhetoric of the Bush administration is often couched in nationalistic/patriotic terms, which the media of course echoes. But the rhetoric used to talk about the war and the ideology that drove us into war are two very different things. My point is that the ideology that drove us to war had nothing to do with any nationalist agenda (even if Bush himself thought it did); in fact, most of the ideologues who pushed for war openly scorn the “old notions” such as the nation, sovereignty, etc.
I don’t mean to sound like a defender of nationalism– believe me, I’m not– but I think we must be aware that nationalism’s anthetitical ideology– “globalization” or whatever we might call it– can be just as dogmatic and unpleasant.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Just in from Josh Lander:
Just in from Grady Glenn:
Statiq is absolutely correct when he says: “In essence it is probably easier to reject nationalism when your nation is part of the dominant international culture. If you don’t feel that your culture/identity is a part of that, but rather that you are left out or worse under attack by external elements, then the nation state is still a relevant frame of reference.” Well put.
And Bryce, you are right about there being many in the IR world who consider Walt and Mearscheimer “hideously outdated.” Their ideas and methods are indeed rather unhip. They’re old-school. But the hip, left-wing internationalists who dominate IR (and social sciences in general), by focusing excessively on ideology and philosophical platitudes, have tended to overlook state power, which W & M see as the driving force in international relations.
And though the Ron Paul camp is a diverse group, I think his base regards itself as the nationalist opposition to an administration that has discarded “national interest.” Those on the left who see the Bush administration as excessively “nationalist” are misreading things.
Just in from Grady Glenn:
Is it possible to be a gaijin and a Japanese nationalist? If so, I think I’m becoming one. The only time I’m not annoyed by the newspapers here is when I come across that rare article written with the “national interest” in mind. Most are written from this phony “global perspective” identical to the mainstream media in the U.S. (Try lining up today’s Asahi and Sankei Shinbuns with yesterday’s NY Times: the international news articles and op-eds are nearly identical.)
Given the history of the first half of the 20th century, it's easy to see why "nationalism" has been a dirty word for the last sixty or so years. But I think it’s starting to make a comeback— and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the U.S., there’s been the resurgence of political science realists like Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, and others. In politics, populists like Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, and Ralph Nader seem to have only increased their following in recent years. On the net, there’s Antiwar.com. And in the blog-world, there’s Philip Weiss and others who argue that “national interests”— regardless of how imagined the notion of “the nation” might be— cannot be ignored.
If America can have its resurgence of nationalism, why not let Japan have theirs?
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Sunday, July 6, 2008
W. David Marx, editor of the popular online journal Neojaponisme, has kindly invited me to post this article, in full, on his site. The article is about Tanizaki's famous essay, "In Praise of Shadows" 「陰翳礼讃」. This being my first contribution, I need you all to post flattering comments that make me look smarter and cooler than I really am. Click here for the article.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Part three in a series of poems, collectively titled Oh, Loiterer.
To Nadja, From Prison
To Nadja, From Prison
Reveal to me how fragile is, how we
Did it before the rose, heads like melons,
While the others razed the ramparts of the city,
How the clouds were gauzy like a veil.
At least ballpark it for me. The ump
In me cannot, will not accept desire
As the only blanket to keep us warm
While night forgives our more serious flaws.
Today didn’t do what we wanted it to do.
The first thrills of revolt now fade
Into the terror of major decisions and stress.
Now, nowhere to turn, we sink further into the present,
Smiling at its vast simplifications.
“I’ve come to love forests, only messy ones
That leave you rootless, bedraggled, a pauper for feeling.”