Nation-State and Transnationalism
The nation-state is a sovereign entity governing a territory. The state is a political entity while the nation itself is a cultural entity. There are several characteristics which define a nation state and these include having a defined territory, some form of government which is organized, self rule in that they are sovereign against foreign interference and there exists a population of people who share a national identity and customs. These customs give a nation state a common identity. Thus, a nation state one that has a self identity and derives its legitimacy as a result of the sovereignty. The nation identifies people with common ancestry and culture such as the people of the Irish descent who have settled in Ireland. The state is the sovereign entity controlling the territory of the nation-state. The state of Israel formed in 1948 to give the Jewish people a homeland after the horrors of the Holocaust is an example of a nation state because it fits the above characteristics. There are several characteristics of the nation state that are different from the pre-national era. The territory of the nation-state cannot be taken by another country. There are boundaries that show the territories of different nation-states where the people of that country have settled. The state is the instrument for economic and social life. It controls the activities of the country. There is regional authority in the country however it is subordinate to the state authority.
The state affects the people socially by uniting them through the use of a common language. These languages in the nation-states were spread through the formal education systems of the state. The nations have common or shared cultures and the state strives to unite the people. The state suppresses the elements of culture that may bring unity and disintegration of the nation-state. In some nation-states there are languages that the people are discouraged from using so as to increase the speed with which the people accept and adopt the national languages. The efforts of the nation-state may bear the desired fruits but at times there may be serious ethnic conflicts (Smith, 1984). Japan is one of the largest nation-state in the world. Its population is well over 120 million.
Most of the people are of Japanese ethnicity with small minorities that include the Koreans, Chinese, Ainu and Ryukyu. A foreign policy is the set guidelines an entity has when dealing with other bodies. The US as a nation-state has a government that controls the territory of the country. The people’s actions are subject to the Judiciary system. There are boundaries which have entry and exit points and are controlled by the military. The people have a sense of national identity and the main language that is used is English. The culture that is promoted is one of tolerance due to the diversity of the races in the country.
The characteristics of a nation state indicate that the US fits the definition of a nation state. The US is made up of different ethnic groups ranging from whites, African Americans, Hispanics and Indians but they both share the same cultural values. Although these ethnic groups are different, they share the same characters that define Americans and that are why there is the African-Americans, Chinese Americans and Irish Americans. The country may not have people who share the same history in terms of color, language or roots, but its citizens share certain fundamental beliefs about how the social, political and economic affairs of the country should be run. There are several attributes which define the American people, regardless of their background and these contribute to it being a nation state. Some of these include individualism, modernism, consumerism, religiosity and secularization. Thus, as much as the diverse groups try to maintain part of their identity in the US, they adapt beliefs and values that are accepted by all citizens of America.
The United States of America is one of the states that have diverse cultures within its state and occasionally the government has in one way or another tried to put up measures that will help in the integration and accommodation of one nation that has diverse cultures. This is aimed at bringing up one strong nation that will build it to every ones satisfaction. The USA has a foreign policy that it uses when dealing with other countries. The country’s Secretary of state is charged with the responsibility of handling relations with other countries. The key objectives of the US foreign policy are to ensure the security, democracy and prosperity of the world so as to benefit the American people and the international community. The policy safeguards the interests and protection of Americans in other countries. The policy also handles matters concerning nuclear weapons technology and hardware and export controls. The United States has a foreign policy on foreign aid. In the State department international affairs budget foreign assistance is one of the core components. There are four kinds of assistance that the American government gives. This is humanitarian assistance, bilateral development aid, economic assistance and multilateral economic assistance that include contributions to the World Bank. The aid given though is mostly tied to the recipient country fulfilling some set conditions. The country also provides military aid to countries such as Egypt, Israel, Colombia and Pakistan. The US uses several ways to protect its borders as a way of perpetuating the nation state. The US has deployed over 20,000 border patrol agents are deployed along its vast borders which extends for almost 2000 miles. It also has more than 20,000 Customs border protection officers to screen passengers at its points of entry. It has also deployed officers to protect its air and marine points against any illegal entry. The US government operates according to the constitution which is the supreme law of the land. The constitution is meant to promote the US as a nation state through uniting its diverse people to have a common goal. The constitution has established a strong federal government with immense powers to regulate the states through the main branches of the government which are the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The government is further based on upholding the country’s sovereignty, ensuring that there is limited government, separation of powers and checks and balances.
The US has often been cited as the melting pot of different cultures. The United States government has promoted activities like sports, film, theatre, music arts which all do bring the diverse cultures. Promotion of culture is often expressed during sporting activities like the super bowl, NBA games and the Olympics. In these events, people are able to express their patriotism through various symbols and also connect with others. National holidays like independence days, Thanks Giving day and Halloween day also presents an opportunity for Americans to express their culture. Through these activities, these diverse cultures are able to mingle and learn how they are driven and at the end of the day it will be able to give one an understanding picture of who this is. Sports too have helped in selecting players with best abilities regardless of their cultural affiliation or racial factors. Music too has led intermingling of different artists through collaboration singing thus helping people in the United States to accept each other as one state though with different cultures.
A transnational entity is a body that conducts social, political and economic activities that go beyond the national borders. An example is The European Union which is a political and economic union of countries in Europe. It was formerly known as the European Coal and Steel Company and the European Economic Community. The European Union is composed of 27 states which are Finland, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Czech, Latvia, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, Denmark, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Malta, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Belgium, Austria, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, United Kingdom and Slovenia. There is free movement of goods and services, capital and people in the European Union region. It promotes common policies on trade and regional development. The European Union was formed after World War 2 to assist Europe to arise after the devastation of War World II.
The governments in Europe wanted a way to minimize the competitiveness in the area that led to the War. The initial countries were Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, France, West Germany and Luxembourg .The European countries united to form the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). After six years the union extended beyond the steel companies to form the European Economic Community(ECC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC). In the year 1965, the three organizations ECSC, EEC and EASC were merged through a Treaty of Merger to form the European Communities. In 1993 the name was changed to the European Union (Tilke, 2009). The countries come together to have a greater impact. The countries delegate decision making to the EU so that the decisions that are made are of joint interests for all the members (Edwards, 2006).The European Union is made up of seven institutions. There is the European Parliament that represents the citizens of EU and is elected by the citizens. The Council of the European Union represents the individual member states while the European Commission ensures the interests of the Union are upheld. The Court of Justice ensures that the European law is upheld. There is a Court of Auditors that checks how the financing of activities is done. The European Central bank is the body in charge of the European Monetary policy while the European Council provides guidance to the Union. It sorts out disputes between the countries and other political conflicts. The key objectives of the European Union foreign policy is to promote the interests of the European Union and also promote International Corporation, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights (Smith, 2007).
International politics has led to both positive and negative consequences. International politics led to the first and second world wars being fought to ensure the world is a secure place to live in. In 2003 international politics led the war in Iraq seeing this as an effort towards fighting terrorism. For example, the US has over 650 military bases in over 100 countries in the world. The development of international politics has led to an almost elimination of different forms of governments, especially those that are left leaning, like communism. Thus, international politics presents numerous challenges and opportunities to countries that are involved. One advantage of international politics is that it has enabled countries to amicably deal with disputes through arbitrations in different venues like the International Court of Justice. Furthermore, international politics has ensured that weak states and citizens are protected from attack either from external forces or internal aggression. A good example is the current Libyan crisis where the International community was forced to intervene protects citizens from attack by government forces. However, critics have argued that international politics as the major cause of foreign interference in sovereign countries. Countries like the US have been criticized for interference in the affairs of other nations through regime changes, military attacks with the aim of controlling the natural resources of those countries. These have often led to resentment among citizens and revenge attacks through terrorism activities.
The European Union gives humanitarian aid to the developing countries especially the Caribbean, African and the Pacific countries. The US and the European Union help in maintaining international cooperation and resolution of conflicts in the world (Baylis & Smith, 2005).
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