The Decline and Splendor of NationalismnNo political phenomenon can be so creative and sondestructive as nationalism. Nationalism can be anmetaphor for the supreme truth but also an allegory for thennostalgia of death. No exotic country, no gold, no womanncan trigger such an outpouring of passion as the sacrednhomeland, and contrary to all Freudians more people havendied defending their homelands than the honor of theirnwomen. If we assume that political power is the supremenaphrodisiac, then nationalism must be its ultimate thrill.nTo talk about nationalism in Anglo-Saxon countriesnusually evokes the specter of tribalism, violence, heavynpolitics, and something that runs counter to the idea ofnprogress. For an American liberal, nationalism is traditionallynassociated with irrational impulses, with something incalculablenthat has a nasty habit of messing up a mercantilenmind-set. A merchant does not like borders and nationalnemblems; his badge of honor is his goods, and his friends arenthose who make the best offer on the global market. It is noncoincidence that during Wodd War II the Merchantnpreferred the alliance with the Commissar, despite the factnthat the Commissar’s violence often eclipsed that of thenNationalist. Daniel Bell once wrote that American liberalsnfind it difficult to grasp ethnic infatuation because thenAmerican way of thinking is “spatially and temporallynsuspended.” Indeed, to an insular maritime mind, it mustnappear absolutely idiotic to observe two people quarrelingnover a small creek or a stretch of land when little economicnyield lies in the balance. A politician in America, unlike hisnrooted European counterpart, is essentially a realtor, and hisnattitude towards politics amounts to a real estate transaction.nIt is hard to deny that a person on the move, reared on JacknKerouac or Dos Passos, is frightened by the ethnic exclusivenessnthat is today rocking the part of Europe from thenBalkans to the Baltics. The mystique of the territorialnimperative, with its unpredictable ethnic cauldron, must be anTomislav Sunic is a professor of European politics atnJuniata College in Pennsylvania.n22/CHRONICLESnby Tomislav Sunicnnnparamount insult to the ideology of the melting pot.nContrary to widespread beliefs, nationalism is not annideology, because it lacks programmatic dimension andndefies categorization. At best, nationalism can be describednas a type of earthbound behavior with residues of paganism.nWhereas liberalism operates in the rational singular, nationalismnalways prefers the irrational plural. For the liberal,nthe individual is the epicenter of politics; for the nationalist,nthe individual is only a particle in historical community.nTo visualize different brands of nationalism one couldnobserve a European family camping on the rocky beaches ofnthe French Riviera and contrast it to an American family onnthe sandy beaches of Santa Barbara. The former meticulouslynstakes out its turf, keeps its children in fold; the latternnomadically fans out the moment it comes to the beach,nwith each family member in search of privacy. Incidentally,nthe word “privacy” does not even exist in continentalnEuropean languages.nFollowing World War II, for a European to declarenhimself a nationalist was tantamount to espousing neofascism.nOn the ossuary of Auschwitz, few indeed werenwilling to rave publicly about the romantic ideas of 19thcenturynpoets and princes, whose idyllic escapades gavenbirth, a century later, to an unidyllic slaughterhouse. AtnYalta, the idea of a Europe frolicking with the liturgy ofnblood and soil was considered too dangerous, and bothnsuperpowers held high this reminder in the form of theirnrespective strategy of “double containment.” After theirnexcursion into the largest civil war in history, Europeansndecided not to talk about nationalism or self-determinationnany longer. Many European intellectuals, and particularlynGerman pundits, preferred instead to recommit their suppressednnationalist energy to far-flung Palestinians, Sandinistas,nCubans, or Congolese instead of to their own ethnicnsoil. Third World nationalism became for the Europeannmandarins both the esoteric catharsis and the exotic superego;nand to theorize about the plight of Xhosa in SouthnAfrica, or Ibo in Nigeria, or to stage treks to Cashmere orn