On at least two occasions in the French presidential debates, presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has declared that 'nationalism causes wars.'

His assertion, which has been repeated often over the years, is recognized as one of the great 'lessons of the 20th century.' It has inspired policy to chip away at national identity and undermine the differences between states to allegedly create a more peaceful world. But in spite of the rise of multicultural identity and fluidity of borders eroding traditional conceptions of nations, the world has been in a constant state of war. This is one fact that the critics of nationalism miss.

The critics of nationalism overlook that the United States of America, which gradually moved towards ethnopluralism and liberal global democracy after 1945, has a long resume of conflict dating back to that time. One could argue that America was pushing a policy of containment and proxy wars to keep the Soviet Union in check. But wait: that implies that wars are not caused by nationalism afterall. Well, back to the drawing board.

The theory that nationalism causes wars is further debunked when one considers that this big-bad Soviet Union that supposedly triggered aggressive American policy was built around the concept of anti-nationalism. In fact, it was one of the most aggressive powers of the last century.  The anti-nationalist Soviet Union invaded over a dozen countries within just a twelve-year period.  It also attempted to set up satellite states. The anti-nationalists claim to have an aversion to dictatorships and military industrial complexes, but the Soviet behemoth ended up propping up other powers and fighting proxy wars for its own economic and geopolitical gain. In short, the anti-nation did what the exact sort of things that nationalism and the nation-state are blamed for.

Typical anti-national propaganda in Europe, circa 2015.
"All forms of nationalism lead to Auschwitz!"
An anti-national internationalist may argue that the conflict anti-nationalism is linked to in the example above comes from a time when war was not considered apocalyptic for the civilizations that waged it, and was a political and economic instrument. But could the same not be said of the 'nationalist' countries of the 19th and 20th century? After all, events like the tragedy at Somme, which Macron incidentally mentions to explain his opposition to nationalism, occurred before the threat of apocalyptic mutual destruction became an anti-war deterrent, too. If the excuse is good enough to pardon anti-nationalism, then why should it not pardon nationalism?

Taken aback, the anti-national internationalist may shift the focus to the danger of a nationalist domestic policy. Depictions of the 20th century will again surface. This time, with the assertion that nationalism leads to the mistreating or killing of unwanted individuals domestically. But under the anti-nationalist movement, seven million starved to death because of state-induced famine, untold millions were purged from existence or used for slave labour. Few associate the opposition to nationalism with such things, yet the opposition to internationalism is associated with mistreating and killing unwanted individuals. Why the double standard?

As for what the anti-nationalists have achieved over the years in positions of power, our state identities are as cloudy and pluralized as ever, particularly in the United States, which has been governed by opponents of nationalism for over a decade. Yet conflict prevails. First, consider the tensions between those in the United States who support globalism and Russia. Next, consider the conflict between those who support globalism and the Islamic world. Finally, consider the conflict between those who support globalism and the communists in East Asia. In each of these conflicts, the common thread is not nationalism.  The common thread is a conflict over economic and geopolitical power. Some of the conflicts do not even involve states. And that is the point: if you take away the nation and even the state, you still have groups of individuals competing for resources and trying to take advantage of one another. So why is nationalism blamed for something that exists even in its complete absence?

The reason, of course, is the globalists do not want the independent communities and borders that nationalism creates. They want a steady flow of uneducated working class labourers to do the jobs that native populations pursued education to avoid, yet are now faced with because there is a surplus of educated, astute individuals. The globalists do not want to pay out in accordance with the rules of supply and demand, so they are flooding society with those who will take general service jobs for less than the market price. The globalists also want to break down borders in order to eliminate the tariffs they must pay on their goods.  They want to collude with other globalists in other states to form powerful lobbies at a suprastate level and push forward common, bare-bone safety and welfare standards and create one market to dump their products. They want fluid borders to blend together cultures to create a mass culture which they can market to. They also want a single currency to streamline their complex, global business dealings. Most importantly, though, they do not want the will of nations to guide their behavior. They want to guide the behavior of nations.

The European Union is held up as the triumph of all of the above ideas and, having fused people of multiple languages and nations under one supra-national body, anti-nationalism. But the success is inflated. The European Union project is held aloft by billionaires like George Soros, who pledged to invest $500 million to help migrants. The move should come as no surprise because, if all the European Union churned out were wage slaves, the result would look a lot like a South African diamond mine operation during the Apartheid that had been relocated onto European shores. Think about it.

Anti-nationalists will argue that, since Europe began promoting inter-cultural and mass-identity, breaking down borders and undermining the differences between states, Europe has largely avoided conflict. But no state in the European Union has - or even needs - a military because the responsibility of defense has been largely exercised by the United States, which still has troops on the ground in Europe and is actually increasing their presence. Consequently, there is an impression that several states, once embracing nationalism, have adopted anti-nationalism and completely removed themselves from conflict. In reality, any conflict between the European Union and "x" is by default a conflict between the United States and "x" and, as long as the world does not wish to initiate conflict with the United States it will not initiate conflict with the European Union. America took this role around 1945, when the opponents of nationalism began to gain power in Europe. Small wonder the people falsely assume that the divergence from nationalism, which began at the same time, brings peace.

Ironically, the politics nationalism - opposition to the rise of multiculturalism and fluidity of borders - would have helped prevent the conflict that the European Union is now facing.  Having embraced multiculturalism and the fluidity of borders, Europe has let in thousands of radical Islamists who are reaching out to Muslims within, while waging war on Europe from within, which is something that the United States cannot protect Europe from. Note that this conflict involves the themes that seem to crop up every time there is conflict - economics and geopolitics - and religion. Again, nothing about nationalism.

The thesis that anti-nationalism prevents war and nationalism creates war is propaganda for the blind.