Nationalism and Regionalism (and Crimea)

With nationalism and regionalism, I realize I have had confused regionalism for nationalism on a few occasions.  When I thought of the Yugoslavia issue, I thought that the identities within the territory would be considered that of regionalist rather than that of nationalist since it was not an identity shared by the entire nation.  It was select regions that held those ideals and created their own nation from it, changing their view from regionalism to nationalism.  Though, now thanks to the reading, I view regionalism as being like the European Union like in the book, or like the region of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.  It was originally home to many Armenians and they wanted to join Armenia rather than staying with Azerbaijan.  In even today’s news, there is the voting going on in Crimea to become a part of Russia rather than staying with Ukraine.

Regionalism can exist on a multitude of scales, from my understanding.  It can be small regions, or a shared identity made up by many territories or nations.  Regional identities may include the Midwest or New England or even Native American reserves as examples within the United States alone.  Nationalism though just tends to be focused on the nation itself.  The ideals may spread, but the only way nationalism increases in size is typically through emigration or exodus.  Most people that identify with that nation through ethnicity or shared history or belief in the same history outside of that nation still consider themselves a part of it in a way.  In cases of majorities in a particular region they may band together to try and become a part of their home nation.  Although the modernity of nationalism makes sense–which it is only something that has happened due to the creation of the modern nation; I believe it does have some foundation as being considered having ethnic foundation.  Without a shared identity through culture, it is hard to form a national idea, let alone create nationalism.  People with beliefs similar as others and have similar histories as those around them will be closer to them rather than those of other areas.  This shared identity helps create the nation, and with a general consensus of the same idea for that nation, nationalism occurs.

It’s interesting though at how easily these ideas can be applied to what’s currently going on in the world.  The timing of reading this chapter and the events in Ukraine could not be any better.  It is interesting to see how the region of Crimea shares the national identity of Russians (or, at least to the point of not wanting the current Ukrainian “government” in charge) that they will go as far as trying to vote to secede to become a part of Russia and how much of a commotion this whole debacle has caused.  More countries are getting involved in and are trying to say what is right and what is wrong based on their ideals for the territory, while the Russian forces back Crimea completely.  It is interesting to see how the story has developed and it will be interesting to see how it continues to develop.  Hopefully though, it will end without more bloodshed and the nations and the territory of Crimea will be able to come to a peaceful resolution.

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