Nation-States in Modern Times
The natives of Waitangi in New Zealand had to give up their sovereignty to the British throne at the time that the Crown arrived in the country. Since then, the natives have tried to fight for their right to govern their areas of New Zealand again. If do they get this permission from the New Zealand government, which they most probably will not get in modern times, the natives of New Zealand might make their own nation-state, that is, a place that is ruled by a certain entity and occupied by people belonging to the same culture and having the same values that are unique to that group (“Nation-State,” 2007).
This is the nature of the nation-state: It is a government form that may not be able to thrive in the era of globalization marked by cultural homogeneity, and featuring immigration laws, skills exchange, outsourcing, foreign direct investment and the likes.
In the olden days, Greece was a nation-state. Athens was the city-state of Greece, protecting a common culture under its own laws. Greece was the ruler of Athens at the same time. It had the power to dissolve Athens. Yet, Athens was an extremely popular cultural hotbed. It was not wise to dissolve Athens (Polopolos). Most importantly, Greece and Athens serve as excellent examples of governance for the politicians of the modern world. As a matter of fact, people use Greece’s example in thinking about how to develop a civilization. Alexander the Great continues to be remembered.
It is definitely possible for nation-states to develop in our day by following the example of Greece. Weaker groups such as the natives in New Zealand represent a minority nowadays, and may not be able to form their nation-state. At the same time, America used to be referred to as a ‘melting pot,’ even though the ‘Americanization’ of the world as a synonym for ‘globalization’ could easily have turned America into a lover of its own culture. America could have become like Greece if it had wanted to preserve its culture; however, the nation’s political mind is very much occupied with the business sense of things.
America chooses not to become a nation-state because it benefits immensely from foreigners. What about Europe? Can Europe become a nation-state with European Union, the Euro and its likes? Perhaps places like France and Italy, in particular, might consider becoming nation-states with the strongest regard for their culture. In point of fact, parts of Europe have been especially concerned in recent times with the upkeep of their traditional agricultural styles. As an example, certain European farm products like the French cheeses have become “entwined with the national cultural identity” (Kaplan & Calzonetti, 2005). Would globalization allow Europe or parts to Europe to turn into nation-states or city-states? – Perhaps so. Do we expect it to happen? – Probably not.
Let us turn to the Middle East. Could it happen among the Arab nations, with the strongest ties to their culture? Could Israel become a nation-state, with Jerusalem as its city-state? Yes, it is possible once they stop fighting over the Middle East. Arabs hate Americanization, apparently. But they cannot live without America and Europe buying their oil. They want to preserve their Islamic culture against the unIslamic behavior shown on Western television nevertheless.
They also do not want American clothing to be worn in their societies. Hijabs and extremely long skirts are still the norm in Saudi Arabia, very difficult for most foreigners to adjust to. Perhaps Arab nations and/or Israel will be the first to turn into nation-states, if they are not already. At this time they are not cultural states clearly because they fight too much. At a time of peace alone will art and culture be nurtured. Perhaps Middle East should really stop fighting now and become a nation-state if it wants to.
Kaplan, Eben, & Calzonetti, Claire. (2005, December 9). The WTO’s Troubled ‘Doha
Negotiations.’ Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 27 November 2006, from http://www.cfr.org/index.html.
“Nation-State.” (2007). Wikipedia. Retrieved 7 May 2007, from
Polopolus, Leonidas C. “Athens, Greece: A City-State that Grew from Optimality in the Golden
Era to Excessive Urbanization by the 21st century.” University of Florida. Retrieved 7 May 2007, from http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/kapparis/AOC/ATHENS.htm.