The Return of Ethnic Nationalism

In Africa last week, President Bush deplored the

genocide in Rwanda
in the 1990s, defended his
refusal to send U.S. troops to

and decried the ethnic slaughter in Kenya.

Following a fraudulent election, the

, the dominant tribe in Kenya, have been
subjected to merciless assault. People are separating
from one another and butchering one another along lines
of blood and soil.

According to a compelling lead article in the new
Foreign Affairs, "Us and Them: The Enduring Power of
Ethnic Nationalism,"
we may be witnessing in the
Third World a re-enactment of the ethnic wars that tore
Europe to pieces in the 20th century.

"Ethnonationalism," writes history professor

Jerry Z. Muller of Catholic University
, "has
played a more profound role in modern history than is
commonly understood, and the processes that led to the
dominance of the ethnonational state and the separation
of ethnic groups in Europe are likely to recur

Western Man has mis-taught himself his own history.

Writes Muller:

"A familiar and
influential narrative of 20th-century European history
argues that nationalism twice led to war, in 1914 and
then again in 1939. Thereafter, the story goes,
Europeans concluded that nationalism was a danger and
gradually abandoned it. In the postwar decades, Western
Europeans enmeshed themselves in a web of

transnational institutions
, culminating in the

European Union

Muller contends that this is a myth, that peace came
to the Old Continent only after the triumph of
ethnonationalism, after the peoples of Europe had sorted
themselves out and each achieved its own home.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were
three multi-ethnic empires in Europe: the

, Russian and

. The ethnonationalist
Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913
tore at the first.

World War I was ignited by

seeking to rip

away from Austria-Hungary. After four years
of slaughter, the Serbs succeeded, and ethnonationalism
triumphed in Europe.

Out of the dead Ottoman Empire came the
ethnonationalist state of

and an ethnic transfer of populations between
Ankara and Athens. Armenians were

and expelled from Turkey.

Out of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires came
Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland,
Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. In the latter three
nations, however, a majority ethnic group ruled
minorities that wished either their own national home,
or to join lost kinsmen.

In Poland, there were Ukrainians, Germans,
Lithuanians and Jews. In Czechoslovkia, half the
population was German, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish,
Ruthenian or Jewish. In Yugoslavia were Slovenes,
Croats, Bosnians, Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins and

The Second World War came out of

Hitler`s attempt
to unite all Germans in one
ethnonational home—thus the Anschluss with Austria, the
demand for return of the Sudeten Deutsch, and the
pressure on Poland to return the Germans` lost city of
Danzig, and for Lithuania to give back German Memel and
the Memelland it seized in 1923.

World War II advanced the process in the most
horrible of ways.

The Jews of Europe, with no national home, perished,
or fled to create one, in Israel. The Germans of the
Baltic states, Prussia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the
Balkans and their own eastern provinces, almost to
Berlin, were expelled in the most brutal act of ethnic
cleansing in history—13 million to 15 million Germans,
of whom 2 million perished in the exodus.

At the end of World War II, Europe`s nations were
more ethnically homogenous than they had ever been, at a
horrendous cost in blood.

After 45 years of Cold War, the remaining
multi-ethnic states—the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and
Yugoslavia—broke up into more than two dozen
nation-states, all rooted in ethnonationlism.

As Muller argues, ethnonationalism may be a

precondition of liberal democracy.
Only after all
the tribes of Europe had their own ethnically homogenous
nation-states did peace and comity come. And what
happened in Europe in the 20th century may be a
precursor of what is to come in Latin America, the
Middle East, Africa and Asia.

In China, Uighurs, Mongolians and Tibetans all resist

may be the next problem for Russia. In the
Balkans, it is

. Serbs there and in Bosnia may emulate the
Albanians and secede.

Americans, writes Muller, "find ethnonationalism
discomfiting both intellectually and morally. Social
scientists go to great lengths to demonstrate that this
is a product not of nature but of culture. …

"But none of this will make ethnonationalism go

Indeed, we see it bubbling up from the Basque country
of Spain, to




. Perhaps the wisest counsel for the United
States may be to get out of the way of this elemental
force. Rather than seek to halt the inexorable, we
should seek to accommodate it and ameliorate its
sometimes awful consequences.

And we should look to our own land. According to

Pew Research
, there will be 127 million Hispanics
here by mid-century, tripling today`s 45 million—and
almost 100 million new immigrants. No nation faces a
graver threat from this resurgence of ethnonationalism
than does our own.

Look homeward, America.



Patrick J. Buchanan


no introduction
to VDARE.COM readers;
his book
State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from His latest book
is Churchill,
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,



Paul Craig Roberts.