“”It is not easy to see how the more extreme forms of nationalism can long survive when men have seen the Earth in its true perspective as a single small globe against the stars.
|—Arthur C. Clarke|
“”The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.
Nationalism is a term used for any ideology or political cause based on national consciousness and a belief in the unity of one's own nation. The nation is, contrary to popular American usage, not necessarily defined by political geography of nation states, but refers to a group of people with certain shared characteristics, usually language, history, religion, or common historical experience, each of which may also delineate an ethnicity. Nationalism has traditionally been a powerful force in domestic politics and international relations.
 Nationalism in sovereignty movements
The nature of nationalism depends on the context. One type of nationalism is that of an ethnic group or region, who are not recognised as a free nation, asserting their right to nationhood and demanding sovereignty. Contemporary examples of this include Irish nationalism (in Northern Ireland), Basque nationalism, Kurdish nationalism and Tibetan nationalism. Some of the current states of the world, including Australia, India and the USA, owe their existence to the struggles of nationalists during colonial history, while others, such as Germany and Italy, were formed by nationalist unifications of smaller existing states.
Since the concept of nation is so fluid, nationalisms can flow and transform from one to another. For example, when Yugoslavia collapsed, and split along ethnic lines, it was possible for a former Yugoslav nationalist to transfer that feeling to his smaller ethnic group. Gamal Nasser of Egypt was important in a movement that worked to create a pan-Arab nationalism.
 Nationalism as a sense of superiority
Other types of nationalism involve promoting the idea that one's own nation is inherently superior to other nations in its values, culture and other attributes. In modern times, this form of nationalism is most associated with fascism and Nazism, and played an important part in Italian, German and Japanese aggression before and during World War II. It is also strongly associated with racism, and the word "nationalist" continues to carry these connotations. In the English speaking world, few people would describe themselves as a nationalist, and those few are usually also associated with racialism, whereas the word "patriot" or "patriotism" are more readily used in terms of positive sentiments about one's country.
 Nationalism and the political spectrum
Politically, nationalists tend to be rather conservative, as they seek to reconnect with the "old ways" of their people. However, there have been many liberal nationalists, who felt that their nation could only survive by making drastic changes in the social and political systems. Some liberal nationalists, such as Mohammad Mossadegh, were part of the anti-colonial movement.
Today, there is a concentration of such nationalists in East Asia. In the past, German nationalism was also a liberal idea, attempting to unite a Germany fractured into a slew of tiny states after the Napoleonic Wars; the Deutschlandlied, much later to become a favorite song of Nazis, was initially written as a drinking song by a liberal professor who was rewarded for his pains by being fired from his job and hounded by the police. After Otto von Bismarck succeeded in uniting most of the German-speaking areas, and German Austria became independent of the non-German parts of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, the idea became a feature of the extreme right.
- ↑ One current example of this could be Guo Quan, who is an extreme Chinese nationalist, but also a leading democracy advocate.
- ↑ That is, once they had eliminated the third verse, which contained too many references to freedom and justice for their liking, and the second verse, which contained too many references to distractions like wine, women, and song.