The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend

By: Andreea Gustin

When discussing ideologies such as fascism or nationalism, we often focus at the national level. This week’s readings, however, allowed us to further explore these ideologies through an international lens and understand how and why far-right groups may turn to international cooperation.

David Motadel’s New York Times opinion piece, “The Far Right Says There’s Nothing Dirtier Than Internationalism – But They Depend on It” demonstrates how internationalism can bring nationalist groups together in unlikely ways in order to further common goals. Nationalism and internationalism by name do not seem as though they would be compatible in their goals. However, as can be seen through this week’s sources, nationalism and internationalism can be quite complementary to one another. 

This is idea is further demonstrated through Motadel’s “The Global Authoritarian Moment: The Revolt Against Empire” which highlights the Third Reich’s support during World War II of anti-colonial and anti-imperial movements throughout the British and French colonial empires. Upon reading this source, I found myself taken aback by the irony of it – Nazi Germany, which claimed the racial superiority of the Germanic race or the “Aryan” race, trying to assist in revolutions by colonized populations against other white Northern European states. At first, this did not quite make sense to me, but as I continued reading, I began to understand that although fascism may be a national movement, it goes beyond in order to achieve a common goal. In this case, the common goal was to promote anti-colonial solidarity and ensure that other people’s national identities are not compromised by imperial powers. 

This week’s sources showcased that nationalist internationalism is both ideological as well as pragmatic. Through these readings, it was made clear that although nationalist and internationalist efforts may not always see eye to eye, sometimes it is necessary for them to come together in order to battle a common enemy. 

Defining Terms

By: Andreea Gustin

The sources we explored this week set the foundation for some key terms which will follow us throughout the rest of our course. Given my basic understanding of fascism and populism, this week’s readings provided greater insight into some of the complex terms and concepts associated with these ideologies.

In recent years following the Trump presidency and all that came with it, many of us have seen the word “fascism” come up in regards to the American political climate. The article, “What We Don’t Understand About Fascism” by Victoria De Grazia, effectively showcased how contemporary events relate to the challenges and tragedies of the historic past. She argues that the problem facing America is not fascism itself, but rather a “crisis of a kind that historic fascism invented itself to address, in the most awful ways”. This week we also read the works of Moyn and Gordon’s which both aim to contextualize fascism and populism. Similar to De Grazia, both Moyn and Gordon discuss the use of comparisons of the past to contemporary situations, although their works point out some issues with comparing modern events to the past.  

This reading made me reflect on the fact that many of us attempt to understand modern issues by applying the lens of the past. They say history repeats itself, however, there needs to be greater understanding of how these ideologies change and how the meaning of these concepts develops over time. Today we can see ideologies like fascism and populism being used as labels to modern issues, however, modern issues can differ from those of the past and can lead to new consequences not outlined by history.

Andreea Gustin – Introduction

Hi everyone!

My name is Andreea and I am a fourth year Public Affairs and Policy Management student. I specialize in communications policy and strategic public opinion. In my second year at Carleton, I decided to minor in history after taking a first year 20th Century Europe history course which I ended up loving.

I’ve had the chance to take a few European history courses — some focusing on Europe as a whole, others focusing on specific areas like Rome or Russia. I’ve also taken some thematic history courses focusing on topics like Madness or Witchcraft.

My family immigrated here from Romania when I was very young and they often discuss the history and hardships that came with it which sparked my interest in European history and better understanding the problems of that time.

I’m really looking forward to this course and specifically learning more about social implications of fascist, populist and authoritarian governments. I can’t say I know too much about the topics of this course but I hope I’m able to gain a better understanding of how changes in government structures affected ordinary people throughout Europe and what kinds of lasting impacts this may have had.