August 28, 2013
The Age of Nationalism
Paul Pillar, The National Interest
THIS REALITY of our time has been obscured in recent years by the intellectual struggles of the early post–Cold War period to define the era and then by the impact of the 9/11 attacks on the American consciousness. In some instances, the two together have generated an added layer of muddle. Some of the ideas about World War IV, for example, reflect the concept of clashing civilizations developed by the late Samuel P. Huntington, who argued that among the many dimensions of civilizations, as he defined them, the most important is religion. Huntington was on to something, as demonstrated by the role of religion in many armed conflicts, large and small, in recent times. Yet there is plenty of evidence to support the chief legitimate criticism of Huntington’s concept, which is that...