The historical study of the main characteristics and normative legacy of a nation-state has proved complicated for the social sciences as a whole. During the past few centuries, the nation-state has been deified and demonised equally; it has been regarded as modern as well as ancient form of social and political community; it has been seen as an imagined or imaginary society; rational structure of the community; it has created as much happiness as well as misery; it has been a source for political democracy, cosmopolitanism and ethnic cleansing.
It has also coexisted with empires colonies, blocks, protectorates, city-states among other forms of political organisations. It has gone through and experienced the unification, occupation, totalitarian terror, divisions and then unification. It has won legitimacy around ethnic or racial, republican, liberal, democratic class principle and federal (Chernilo, 2007). In spite of all these, a nation-state succeeded to present itself as a solid, stable and as the necessary form of social and political organisation in the contemporary world.
The nation-state is a territorial organisation that self-recognizes and deriving its political authenticity from the people and serving as a supreme body for a country as a sovereign territorial entity (Chernilo, 2007). Most people view a nation as a political thing that is self evident, a kind of natural culmination of all societies. It is high time people realised that the idea of a nation that Europe gave to the world was perhaps short-lived political form, a European exception, a precarious transition between ages of kings and the “neo-imperial” age (Guehenno & Elliott, 2000).
1). Modern nation-states have diverse feelings to their territory, compared to the dynastic monarchies; it is semi-sanctified, and non-exchangeable. No nation would swap territory with other states simply, for instance, because the king’s daughter got married. They have a discrete type of boundary, in principle defined only by the area of settlement of the national group, although most nation-states also sought natural borders like rivers, lakes, mountain ranges among others.
The most outstanding characteristic is the degree to which nation-states use the state as an instrument of national unity, in economic, social and cultural dimensions. This is done by promoting economic unity, first by abolishing internal customs and taxes. Nation-states normally have a guideline to form and sustain a national shipping infrastructure, facilitating business and movement (DiVanna, 2003). Nation-states usually have more centralised and identical public government than its colonial predecessors; they are smaller, and the population less diverse.
In several instances, the regional administration is also subordinated to central or national government. They also have an identical nationwide customs, through state’s guiding principle. The model of the nation-state suggests that its populace constitutes a nation, fused by a widespread descent, a common language and various forms of shared culture. When the unity is absent, the nation-state frequently tries to craft it; by promoting a homogeneous national language, through language guiding principle.
The nation-states create a common curriculum for both primary and secondary education as a way of fostering a common language. In addition, to create a common identity, history of a nation-state is enshrined in their curricula and taught usually in a propagandistic and mythologized edition, and especially during wars some nation-states still teach this kind of history. Language and cultural policy was sometimes negative, aimed at the suppression of non-national elements. Language prohibitions were sometimes used to accelerate the adoption of national languages, and the decline of minority languages.
A nation-state has a constitution that is a set of rules that governs its operations and is official. A state is as well recognised but other countries as independent and with the United Nations by her being a member of the UN. Besides, the state also acts on behalf of the people that are residing in that territory and nation-state is continuous; in the sense that a set of leaders come and go but the nation-state remains, thus its continuity. Nationalism being a product of modernity, reflecting on people’s need to belong to a social group to have a feeling of security in an environment where a people live.
Nationalism has been seen as an intense force that has resulted into socio-political conflicts all over the world, besides, it has been an instrument for bigotry and social unrests. The key to lasting business viability in a connected world is that each firm is part of one or more networks of value. Thus collaboration is the pillar to adding value as a network member. More often, people and corporations collaborate because of the profit that may accrue due to such collaboration (DiVanna, 2003) A nation defines itself by not only what it is, but as well as what it is not.
It is not a social group, neither is it a religious group, nor a racial group; a nation is what binds together the citizens of a nation is a amalgamation of historical factors that can not be reduced to a single dimension as social, religious, or racial (Guehenno & Elliott, 2000) an example of a nation is Germany. A state such as Georgia is described as a definite territory in which a legitimate government has the ability to control its own activities without intrusion from other system of governments (Europa, 2010).
It depicts more of a political and geographical area associated with a kind of political body; a nation, on the other hand, describes more of a cultural and/or ethnic entity. The term nation-state implies that the two geographically concur, and this distinguishes the nation-state from the other types of state, which historically come first, an example of a state is Georgia. In addition, a nation-state is understood as a political expression of a single or a central and relatively homogenous ethnic group. It groups very heterogeneous societies, communities loosely under the guidance of a common religious, and/or dynastic tradition.
The basis of segmentation that characterise such communities can be geographical, religious, political, social, economical, ethnical, race and even class or caste (European Parliament, 2008), an example of a state is Algeria. 2). The US has territorial boundaries which are not easily swopped. Besides, US is a symbolic community with her people voluntarily dedicate their most important political loyalties in spite of the many meticulous loyalties; economic, spiritual, racial, ethnic, political, social; that otherwise divide them. This gives the people of united state to identify with a common culture as a people of a modern nation-state.
In addition, the U. S has an impersonal power structure which bears it legitimacy from a people. A country’s foreign policy, which at time is called the international relations policy, consists of approaches preferred by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals in international relations. The plans are intentionally employed to interact with other nation-states. Contemporarily, due to transnational and globalization activities, the nation-states will also have to interact with non-state actors like terrorists.
A nation-state’s interests are paramount; foreign policies are premeditated by the government through high-level decision making progressions. More often than not, creating foreign policy is the job of the head of government and the foreign minister. In some countries the legislature is also involved in the process. 2 b). An example of foreign policy of US is Security from attack is the most paramount foreign policy of any nation. That is a nation should endeavour to have foreign policies that do not make her vulnerable from physical external attack, either by other countries or by individual actors like terrorists.
The focus of US foreign policy is thus, geared towards building a power to defend herself from against attack from other nation-states and these individual actors like international terrorists. Security from attack should go beyond the physical attack to include the domestic wellbeing of the American citizens and protect them against some psychological troubles like the loss of their jobs to foreigners, because of perhaps, poor foreign policy on immigration issues, and trade among others.
Foreign policy of the US is national interest or international justice; which focuses on the role of the US when other nations go against human rights like right to life, by some regimes which go to war and engage in massacre, genocide among others. Others argue that US should develop a foreign policy that protects human right when abused not only in American soil but also in other parts of the word. This may take a more noble form as diplomacy and may go to the extreme as military intervention if necessary, and then help with the reconstruction of the nation-state in question, like in the case of Iraq (Page & Bouton, 2006).
The aftermath of World War II saw the creation of European Union which was seen by many as an escape from the extreme forms of nationalism which had destroyed the continent. This followed the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community which, while having the modest aim of consolidated control of the previously national coal and steel industries of its member states, is seen to be the first step which culminated in the formation of the European Union. The founding members of the Community were Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.
It progressed to form a peaceful Europe through cooperation in the 1940s. Due to the war between the east and the west in the 1950s there was need for peace in Europe. Therefore the soviet tanks put down protests against the communist regime in Hungary. In 1957, the launch of the first man-made space satellite by the Soviet Union acted as a pioneer in the space race in addition to the European Economic Community or Common Market that was created by the Rome treaty. The emergence of youth cultures took place in the 1960s bringing with it economic growth.
In return, the EU countries stopped charging duty on custom in the course of their trade with each other. During this period, they agreed on joint food production control so that everyone had enough to eat which resulted in excess agricultural produce. In 1973 resulted in a growing community when Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Union, and raised the number of members to nine. This period experienced the last right wing dictatorship in Europe due to Salazar regime being overthrown in Portugal and the General Franco of Spain’s death.
The influence in EU affairs by the European Parliament increased and hence all citizens could elect their members directly for the first time. In addition jobs and infrastructure in poorer areas were created when the EU regional policy started to transfer huge sums of money. The changing face of Europe was introduced by the fall of the Berlin wall in the 1980s. Greece additionally joined the European Union followed by Spain and Portugal five years later.
The single European Act which is the foundation for a six year program that resolves problems with the free flow of trade across EU borders and creates the Single market was then signed in 1987. In 1989, the Berlin wall was pulled down and for the first time, the border between East and West Germany was opened and led to the reunification of Germany when these two united in 1990. In the 1990s the European Union developed a Europe without frontiers which resulted in Europeans being closer to each other when in central and Eastern Europe there was a collapse of communism.
This was when the single market was completed and the four freedoms of movement of goods, services, people and money was developed in addition to the Maastricht Treaty on European Union in 1993 and the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999. Austria, Finland and Sweden join the other member states in 1995, people are allowed to travel without border checks of passports when as, all village in Luxembourg gave its name to the “Schengen” agreements, numerous young people were able to study in other countries with the support of EU and with the use of mobile phones and the internet, communication was made easier.
From 2000 to present, the European Union experienced further expansion due to the introduction of a new currency for many Europeans. The member states began to work jointly to fight crime and introduced the war on terror after hijacked planes were flown in New York and Washington buildings. More than 10 countries joined EU and between east and west Europe there was a healing of political divisions (Europa, 2010). b).
These major institutions of the European Union are the European Parliament or EP which is elected directly by EU’s citizens to act as their representative, the Council of the European Union which is a representative of individual member states and the European Commission which endeavours to sustain the union’s interest as a whole. The three form an institutional triangle which makes policies and laws applied throughout the EU. The new laws are proposed by the commission but then they are adopted by the parliament and council.
In addition, the Court of Justice which maintains the European law and the Court of Auditors which checks the union activities finances are other institutions that play important roles (Europa, 2010). Moreover, there are also the European Investment Bank, Economic and Social Committee, Committee of the Regions, European Ombudsman, and the European Monetary Institute (ILO, 2010) The countries that make up the European Union are otherwise known as its member states. Though they maintain their independence, they put their power together in order to achieve strength and influence which they could not as individual nations.
This means that they give some decision making powers to created institutions which they share so that issues related to a common interest are decided on with democracy at European level. In total, they are27 are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (Europa, 2010) c).
The European Union enables closer relationships between its member states in order to maximize on their collective potential. This applies to economic and political activities such as free trade, freedom of movement, and choice of job. In addition it serves to unify the actions of its member countries in terms of security, foreign policy, and cooperation in matters related to police and justice. A lot of beaucracy that was involved with these issues has since been dissolved. In addition it has achieved its principle aim of ensuring Europe’s stability after the Second World War (ILO, 2010)
d). Foreign policy objectives for the European Union include peace building and peace making. This involves prevention and control of war or conflict between member states and other nations. It works to eliminate suffering of related citizens The rule of law and respect for human rights and basic freedom should also be strengthened by pursuing ambitious human rights policy that is based on agreement with the respective clause that is concerned with human rights and democracy.
An agreement based upon structured and deep political dialogue should also be established in addition to the implementation of the introduced parliamentary dimension (European Parliament, 2008) 4a). The nation-states and transnational entities pursued by the use of foreign policy tools such as diplomatic negotiations, economic aid, and sanctions, trade restrictions, military interventions, unilateral, or cooperative. These options are evaluated and monitored in attempts to maximize benefits of multilateral international cooperation.
A nation-state can use them singly or a combination. b). The consequences of this interaction for international politics are numerous. Some of them include the subordination of national interests of a country to uphold the collective interests of the nation-states, like the United States, or the transnational entities like the European Union. The economic interdependence is likely to either make war between trading partners less likely or, as realists claim, that economic interdependence increases the likelihood of conflict.
Such countries that engage in international may be prone to terrorist’s attacks besides, the nation-state can be less popular in other countries when the use military interventions like the case or US intervention in Iraq. References Busby,W. J. , 2010. Who Cares about the Weather? Climate Change and U. S. National Security. Retrieved from < http://www. gechs. org/downloads/holmen/Busby. pdf> on 12th July, 2010. Chernilo, D. , 2007. A Social Theory of the Nation-State: The Political Forms of Modernity beyond Methodological Nationalism.
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