On 16th of February 2017 a suicide bomber created havoc in Pakistan. Over 80 lives were lost. That Pakistan has been at the receiving end of extremist retaliation because of being at the forefront of the war against terror is perhaps not very surprising. More startling is the fact that in recent times Europe has also suffered similarly, from a truck driver ploughing into the crowd celebrating Bastille day in Nice to shootings in Nuremberg and Munich. The continent’s airports have also come under fire with 36 dead in Istanbul and 32 in Brussels. The US has seen killings in San Bernardino and attack on police officers in Baton Rouge. The Middle East has been in the grip of continual terrorist activity since the first Gulf War.

These are only a few of the incidents that have occurred over the last couple of years. The complete list is long and unfortunately growing still.

It is apparent that there has been a gradual increase in terrorism over the last couple of years. And the knee jerk reaction from the world? Respond with a sense of rushed nationalism.

Rushed nationalism can be defined as the sudden lurch to the right within the political space of a country owing to activities across the world particularly those that are terrorism related. This can be seen in the form of the precipitous rise of the right of centre and far right parties.

Politically, two major events, among many others, stand as a testament to this fact. The first is the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency along with his rushed albeit misplaced notion of nationalism. Trump’s isolationist credentials include erecting a wall with Mexico, barring Muslims from the US, opposing trade deals such as North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), revoking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and reducing the role of NATO. The second event is yet to happen but is becoming more probable every day; Marine Le Pen winning the French presidential election. Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, could not achieve this feat because of the liberal populace. France might not be that lucky in 2017. Marine Le Pen is built in a similar mould to Donald Trump; e.g. protectionist, nationalistic, isolationist, sovereigntist.

On the global economic front, poor performance has meant squeezed standards of living for almost everyone. This lends itself readily to anti-immigration sentiments in the social sphere already exacerbated by the refugee crisis emanating from the Middle East. All this plays exactly into the hands of the rightist parties an example of which was the shock BREXIT vote in the UK to leave the EU.

This rushed nationalism is not without consequences. On the face of it, it seems to be the silver bullet for all the ills of the world and to provide security to its citizens. Delve a little deeper and nothing could be farther from the truth.


Recently the ‘country first’ slogan has been used to win the US presidential election. The Muslim travel ban in the US has seen protests, civil servants resigning and being fired, judges halting the presidential order and executive clashing with judiciary. Not to mention the hatred that is being fuelled by this archaic directive. Challenges are also afoot to reinvigorate the TPP and the establishment is already advising Donald Trump not to tinker with NAFTA and NATO. North America is now very divided and sceptical against the US building a wall on the border with Mexico. This doesn’t paint a rosy picture for the US and suggests difficult and insecure days ahead for the world.

The situation in Europe is not dissimilar. While the notion of ‘Britain first’ led to BREXIT, it has been difficult for the UK government to find strong trading relationships to replace those it will lose because of BREXIT. Mainland Europe is likewise insecure where even the tightening of immigration rules and a protectionist job market could not mitigate the acts of brutality that took place in 2016. Things don’t augur well for the continent in 2017 too especially if the swivel to the right continues.

The Asian subcontinent is steeped in an environment of distrust especially when it comes to India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, events such as on the 16th of February will recur unless the environment moves away from this rushed sense of nationalism as the sole means of providing security. The same can be said about the rest of the world as well.

The biggest allure of rushed nationalism is to provide security – geographical, economical, and social. If that premise is accepted than recent events have proved otherwise. Thus, there must be a policy shift towards internationalism because heightened nationalism doesn’t seem to be providing any satisfactory answers. Protecting one’s own turf while ordinary citizens suffer around the globe, is not the answer. Closing borders while migrant children die across the world, is not the answer. Promising security while generating further hatred and disillusionment and making citizens more insecure, is not the answer.

For this to work, the policy of internationalism would need to be formulated within the following strategies.

Rejuvenate the economy by leveraging low costs and global increase in business and trade. Price inflation will be reduced and thus the standards of living will not be squeezed at least any further. Therefore, internationalism will lead to overall increase in business activities and provide economic security.

Political relationships will become paramount where trade amongst neighbours is thriving. This will reflect in smooth and stable relationships across borders to manage the interdependencies in the political and economic arena. Consequently, preventing conflict and promoting peace will become a shared vision between nations as the dividends of a harmonious region and a safe world will be apparent to all.

The flow of intelligence information is the foremost weapon to be used against acts of terrorism. During the recent turmoil in Europe, the going logic was that nationalistic attitudes have only stopped the flow of crucial intelligence information that could have mitigated these disasters. Therefore, the most crucial tenet of internationalism would be the trusting and timely sharing of intelligence data. And this can only be underpinned by steady political relationships amongst nation states. This would allow other countries to stop or prevent unlawful, criminal and terrorism related activities.

Put simply – internationalism will engender a global camaraderie that will promote equality and tolerance for all.

The biggest allure of rushed nationalism is to provide security – geographical, economical, and social. If that premise is accepted than recent events have proved otherwise.