The Paradoxes of American Nationalism

Topics: Nationalism, Nation, Race Pages: 2 (636 words) Published: November 15, 2009
The Paradoxes of American Nationalism
Americans have enormous national pride, which often leads them to become unwilling and unable to look inward. Americans see themselves and their ideals as universal truths, such as freedom, while it appears to other countries to be nationalism. For those Americans who don’t question information and don’t think beyond their own existence, it makes sense to say that they are naive to our nationalism and the nationalism of other countries. As Pei points out--there are a number of differences between nationalism in this country and nationalism in other countries. First, nationalism in this country is not created by the state as it is in some other countries. Our nationalism is produced by the common citizens. American nationalism is also unique, as it’s not based on the belief that we’re ethnically superior because there’s a mix of so many ethnicities. We as Americans base our nationalism in pride in our government and democracy instead. Unlike nationalism in other countries, American nationalism is based on our present and future capabilities, instead of in our past. In other countries, nationalism arises when people feel that they’re being humiliated by other countries. Americans do not dwell on their humiliations in the same way. Instead, they look forward to even better times that lie ahead of them. In Pei’s article, Pei takes a realistic approach in his analysis of American foreign policy. Based on his approach, it makes you ask yourself the following question: Do the three distinguishing characteristics of American nationalism that Pei identifies create the basis for a case of superiority for American nationalism as opposed to the nationalism of other countries? One thing to look at to answer this question is the inherent and general nature of American nationalism. It’s largely predicated not on ethnicity or ancestral ties but on the active choice of its participants to remain national Americans. This includes whether...
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