Describe the characteristics of the modern nation-state.
With the collapse of the pluralistic empires in the 19th Century, there arose the nation states as well as the continued development of the transnational entities that have widely influenced the way the nation states operate and relate to each other. The economies, politics, cultural interaction, social interaction and labor have al of late been widely influenced and shaped by these entities.
The idea of a nation was a dominant idea in history between the 8th and 14th Century. A nation can be is a group of people that possess common culture and shared identity but that lack authority and sovereignty. They are bound together by identity bonds. Many states claimed statehood and self rule but never had a state of their own. They based their ties and existence on shared religion, language, culture, history and even ethnicity.
Many of the nations lasted for a long time like the French nation but some existed for a short political time and disappeared like the Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. These nations were basically founded on a shared culture and political cultures that were treasured and shared by the French, Yugoslavs and Czechs wherever they were in the world. It was not confined a physical landmark or boundaries. The notion of a nation was also characterized by shared literary and artistic canons (Andrew Baruch Wachtel, 1998). However, due to the migrations that have continued to take place across the world, many nations' identities have been challenged by the sense of community of citizenship rather than the notion of being a member of a nation (Global Policy Forum, 2011). The other significant example of a nation that is not a nation-state is the Nation of Islam that was widely believed to have been founded by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930.
Apart from the nation, the other precursor to the nation state was the state. A state, by definition, is a country that that possess sovereignty and authority (particularly the ability to use force) but lacks a cohesive identity. It included empires and feudal states, polity of estates and the absolute states before the emergence of the nation-states. Some of the characteristics of the states were that they were formed for war making, trade and tribute and they had a very centralized power system. The feudal states systems had in fact personalized powers and warlords, there was absolute loyalty to taxation, the economy was widely agricultural and the predominant religion among the feudal states was Roman Catholic.
Among the polity of estates, there was emergence of kings, the queens and the Lords. This kind of state system also saw the emergence of local groups and assemblies like the cities and leaders were influenced by people. Then emerged the absolute states systems which had larger political systems than the feudal systems, stronger legal entities, centralized authority, divine right to rule over a people and bureaucracy was the order of the day (Word Press, 2011).
With the notion of state losing meaning, there emerged the nation-states. These are the most predominant form of governance and identity for a people in the contemporary politics. The nation state is characterized by fixed borders, there is a monopoly in the use of force, the power structures are impersonal in that they do not concentrate much on the individual or personality but institutions and the legitimacy is drawn from the people themselves through elective participation in choosing the representatives.
From the strictest definition of the term, a nation-state is a country or a state that has well defined borders and territory, a country wherein a nation of principally the same type of people inhabit with a common cultural background or race. In principle, a nation state would have everyone speak the same language, most likely subscribe to the same religion and have the same set of cultural and national values (Conjecture Corporation, 2011).
However, this situation is hardly achievable in the contemporary society with the rampant cross-border migration and globalization. Those countries that can be said to be closest to the ideal definition of a nation-state are Iceland and Japan. Coincidentally both of them are islands hence lesser crossing of the sea into such areas makes them retain the nation-state identity more than any other country.
2. Explain how the United States fits the criteria of and functions as a modern nation-state.
The USA has worked hard through all the political regimes to ensure that it retains the ideology of nation state at least as concerns our sovereignty, Fixed territory and Common culture in a bid to be a nation-state even in the changing consistency of the citizenship and the culture of the U.S.A. due to the porosity of the borders and free immigration concept that it tries to promote.
The fixed territory of the U.S.A. is a crucial aspect in ensuring that USA maintains its nation-state. The fixed territory includes any areas of extended spatial location within the control of the U.S.A. federal government. These include the clearly defined geographical regions in reference to land, sea or air under the control of the U.S.A. federal government though not limited to only these regions. Indeed, it extends to all the tracts and areas that are under the dominion of the U.S.A. federal government and belong to it. These include the tracts of land located a distance away from the country for administrative purposes and other uses. The territory covers various regions, districts, and even divisions that are under the direct supervision of the U.S. federal government.
The other issue that is crucial in the maintaining of USA as a nation-state is their sovereignty. This includes the power to make decisions about the extent of the relationship with other nations and the control of internal affairs of the government. The sovereignty extends from the political aspect of it, where Americans are free to determine their internal political endeavors without external influence and using the voting power to make the political decisions that run the U.S.A., economic aspect that American's have to ensure that they are economically sufficient and the economy of the country can support its people within its boundary legally and social aspect where Americans are entitled to chart a way of existing peacefully with the neighbors and people from different nationalities within the American borders as long as it does not interfere with the internal social setting of the American people (Friedrich Balke, 2007). Sovereignty is the supreme independent authority to over the three mentioned factors here apart from just the physical geography of the U.S.A.
Another pertinent issue in the nation-state retention is the common cultures that are shared among the Americans and are preserved from on e generation to the other. The U.S.A. has some cultures that are retained and observed so closely that make it a distinct nation-state from the others states and the neighboring states.
One of the common cultures is the institutional order that is very powerful. These are displayed in issues such as the divorce instances that are a serious competitor to marriage as an institution more than in any other country. The other factor under the common culture is the education system that binds the entire American schooling population in the use of English as a language of instruction and interaction in the learning institutions. This makes English override all other different languages that may have existed or may come into the American society through immigration. This is the monoculture that Americans are exposed to and in a monolingual manner such that it defines USA as a nation-state. This is such a strong identity such that even the children that are born from pure immigrant families will be forced to learn English and indeed more than 90% of them come to know English before they even learn their native languages (Robert N. Bellah, 2011).
The USA has varied foreign policies that it pursues to ensure that its integrity is maintained. These foreign policies are pursued both in a bilateral or multilateral manner. The top objective of the U.S.A. foreign policy is to protect the territorial integrity of USA. It is the duty of the federal government to ensure that the territories of the country are protected from foreign attacks. This also includes the protection of the embassies in foreign land and the safeguarding of the military personnel stationed or visiting a foreign country.
The other foreign policy objective of USA is to maintain the international balance of power. This is does by having the excesses of aggressor countries checked and liaising with friendly countries and allied forces to curb the excesses of countries that intrude into the sovereignty of other countries. This has been seen in various instances like the Israel and Pakistan instance.
3. Discuss the European Union as a transnational entity by doing the following
Several wars ravaged Europe in the 20th Century and this made the idea of having a peaceful United States of Europe a dream that was…