Why the ‘New Nationalism’ Can Only Flourish in Conflict

Built on Hatred, and the Need for an Adversary, It Thrives on Contempt for Other Cultures, Religions, and Even Languages

Nationalism as we know it today—a global movement of states led by strongmen decrying globalization—is a recent invention. But a brief and broad history of nationalism reveals its important paradoxes and possibly a new way of understanding the current version.

Before the 19th century, most peoples, in most parts of the world, did not live in nations, but in those larger conglomerations of peoples we call loosely “empires”—or as they were often known, “universal monarchies.” Most of today’s nations are the creatures of imperial collapse: Germany, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, …

The Savvy Press Agent Who Invented Buffalo Bill

"Arizona John" Burke Perfected the Art of Hype That Converted a Bison Hunter Into a Symbol of National Character

To appreciate the wonder and luster of a star in the sky, one must look off to its side—“averted vision,” it is called.

So it was in the late 19th century …

The Bedouin People Who Blur the Boundaries of Egyptian Identity

An Indigenous North African Minority Near the Libyan Border Has Often Been Treated Like Foreigners

In November 1940, a group of Bedouins from Egypt’s Western Desert region sent an unusual petition to the Egyptian government. The petition arrived at a time of great turmoil in …

“Brexit Means Brexit” Is a Meaningless Mantra

Britain Wants to Build a Wall Between Itself and Europe. That's Not Possible.

A hard and massive self-deception sits at the heart of Brexit, one that the United Kingdom’s government has not admitted to itself, much less the public: Brexit is a journey …