In a meeting with an IRA gun smuggler the historian Richard English noted how easily the Republican could explain Irish history: “the Brits – they’re the problem, and will be. They have been since 1169, and will be until such time as they leave”
Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states, “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Despite a clear attempt by the International Olympic Committee to create an a-political sporting event, the very exercise of holding the Olympics in South Korea is politically charged.
The recent death of over 200 Russian mercenaries in Syria has exposed the use of private military contractors in Russia’s wars, an affair that lay dormant after the Ukrainian conflict. Crucially, it has highlighted the use of nationalism as a rallying point for recruits and the creation of a discourse of duty to fight for the country.
Nationalism is back. In the last two years, nationalists have conquered the core of conventional politics in an electoral resurgence that has brought it back from the fringes. Its support, discourses and arguments draw on old logics but directly address grievances born out of global effects of the economic revolution that begun in the 1980s. While 2017 saw the consolidation of nationalist successes in the West, 2018 will see their ideas put to the test.
History is one of the battlegrounds of nationalist movements. In their attempts to naturalize the nation and to control who belongs to it, nationalists mythologize some events while silencing others. In France, the return of nationalism in last year’s elections is indicated by the place that the pretended need for a “roman national” occupied in the electoral debates.
Ever since its exciting entrance in the global economy, China has undergone the scrutiny of many. Specifically, that of the Western world, trying to comprehend and justify its unpredictably successful communist authoritarian regime. In fact, since the economic boom initiated by Deng Xiaoping in the 1990s, China has been growing at stunningly fast rates that the West can, as of today, only dream of.