Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Identity vs Power

A Dutch interview with former PM Tony Blair of UK Labour was helpful in creating a better understanding of the new Great Divide: Nationalism vs Internationalism (eg, my blog, GPF, TED). Hence, the title of this blog: Identity vs Power. A choice between both isn’t easy which may explain today’s political phenomenon of 51/49%. It might also explain why the UK, a former Superpower, focuses on Identity rather than Power as it still believes it is a Superpower.

Essentially, Nationalism is rooted in the fear over losing cultural identity. However, any cultural identity is zooming inwards. My generic cultural identity is Dutch but there are several more. I was born in a region called West Frisia and they are very proud of their Frisian roots. I’m also living in the second most beautiful Dutch city: Haarlem. Maastricht comes first.

The quest for Nationalism unleashes new dreams: an independent Scotland, a reunited Ireland, an independent Catalonia, an independent Flanders, an independent Kosovo. Essentially, Nationalism keeps zooming inwards to even more specific cultural identities. Hence, Nationalism results in continued fragmentation and thus a loss of Power – by definition.

Internationalism results in the exact opposite: a loss of cultural identity and a boost in Power (eg, EU, NATO). The problem is that there is no European identity because there is no European language. The surge of the Spanish language in the USA is likely to create nationalist tendencies (eg, Calexit, Texit). The 45th President only reinforces such nationalist ideas.

Russia supports the various nationalist movements in Europe and USA while it still regrets the collapse of the Soviet Union. I think, feel and believe that the Russian words, deeds and thoughts are deliberately inconsistent. Russia strives for a new Soviet Union while fragmenting its neighbours through its “shared” goal of Nationalism. Russia’s aim has always been to destabilise its opponents through covert means. Considering its state of affairs, it’s hard to blame them.

In the Great Left-Right Divide of the 19th and 20th Century, the political choice was rather digital. Today, I feel sympathy for both Nationalism and Internationalism. However, Power is superior to Identity, at least for me. Furthermore, Power does not automatically erase Identity. A choice for Identity, or Nationalism, causes fragmentation and a loss of Power (eg, Brexit).

The above explains my pro-EU and pro-Federalist stance. Strong neighbouring nations make a strong Federation (e.g., EU, USA). This is different from Steve Bannon‘s view: “I think strong countries and strong nationalist movements in countries make strong neighbours.” Similarly, weak neighbouring states make a weak Federation. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Recently, I read 2 new arguments on Internationalism. Anti: internationalism helped Asian countries gain Power (eg, China). Pro: “Migration does more to reduce global poverty and inequality than any other factor” (FT). In essence, these two arguments are linked and also support Johan Cruyff’s view: “Every disadvantage has its advantage” – and vice versa.

Inequality, nationalism, and poverty are common recipes for war. The opposite is also true: equality, internationalism, and wealth are common recipes for peace. Politicians are responsible for a fair allocation of equality and wealth. Without such a fair allocation, Nationalism will gain strength by appealing to the fears of the ones who were “Crushed by the Wheels of Industry”.

Crushed by the Wheels of Industry (1983) by Heaven 17

artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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