Internationalism is Unavoidable

Kathleen McKinnon

My thoughts before reading into nationalism and international would have been that nationalism must deal very closely with internationalism because the “other” must be defined for the nationalist ie. what is the nation that nationalists are trying to preserve and against who or as opposed to which groups. Not that these things are exactly wrong but I would have also there to be a general interest in internationalism besides that one point, in that to make a country great and strong as the nationalist would want for the country their nation lives in, to have strong ties to other countries to create a sense of security.

Instead what seems the be the case is that nationalism often has too much factionalism and which likely hinders the ability of these groups to have really meaningful engagement with other countries and participate in internationalism as in “Parochial Nationalism.” (Motadel, 2020) However, that does not mean they do not engage in internationalism, it is just different than expected. There is often support from similar nationalist groups, parties, or regimes for each other and they can meet or even form alliances. So this newer concept is interesting to consider in how internationalism may also seem like a liberal idea in terms of global movements/globalization but it does have illiberal usages as well in a more “Cosmopolitan Nationalism.” (Motadel, 2019. 848) These interesting developments show how globalization as an advantage is even recognized by the nationalist, and not just in an imperialist way by controlling another country and using it for some type of power or resource but to actually ally with other nationalists to build strength and meaning.

David Motadel, “The Global Authoritarian Moment: The Revolt Against Empire” American Historical Review Vol. 124, Issue 3 (July 2019): 843-877.

David Motadel, “The Far Right Says There’s Nothing Dirtier Than Internationalism — But They Depend on It.” The New York Times. 2019.

Terms: How they are used vs. What they are. Is there a distinction?

Kathleen McKinnon

Rogers Brubaker’s “Why Populism?” podcast posed an interesting thought process of what makes populism and how it has been possibly overapplied in many instances as an evil racist machine. Not that is always true or untrue but it certainly makes clear that terms are not always clear and are not always used or portrayed correctly and thus become even more polarizing. Not only that but without proper definitions and with over applications what is going on in the determining of populism and authoritarian phenomena as eras or just periods, for example as pointed out in the podcast, are not so clear. It is better to understand these terms to determine or try to determine what is going on in the world.

Populism for example, as just the opposition to elites, is a broad definition and needs further exploration to be further understood otherwise it remains broad and in danger of misunderstanding. Both fascism and populism see themselves as the only legitimate form of government, both of these terms likewise have been historically overapplied and both have been seen as negative in a liberal democratic society but also these terms have some differences. (Finchelstein, 5). I get the sense that fascism is seen as more militaristic with the world wars and major revolutions (De Grazia) and that populism is what has risen to power in place to keep down the “other” while using information technology to prove legitimacy. It seems that over time that the authoritarianism which has manifested as fascism has seen a decline in favour of populism. But I would argue that the terms take on a life of their own as defined by popular media. The definitions can be fluid and change depending on how people perceive them and that is the role the media plays in this.

Works Cited

Rogers Brubaker, “Why Populism?” NUPI Podcast (51 minutes)

Federico Finchelstein, “Introduction: Thinking Fascism and Populism in terms of the Past” in Federico Finkelstein, From Fascism to Populism in History (University of California Press, 2017).

Victoria de Grazia, “What We Don’t Understand about Fascism” Zocalo Public Square hitler-20th-century/ideas/essay/


My name is Kathleen McKinnon, I’m a 2nd year EURUS MA in the European stream and have a BA in Poli Sci minoring in History and German. My research focus is on how Europeanization has affected the minority rights of Russian speakers in Latvia and Estonia mainly through the EU and its accession process but also through other bodies like the Council of Europe. I’m hoping to learn a little bit of how authoritarianism gains traction and why people respond to this type of regime. I’m also interested if this could be related to my research paper in someway even if indirectly.