Internationalism (politics)

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For the Marxist concept of internationalism, see proletarian internationalism.

Internationalism is a political movement which advocates a greater economic and political cooperation between nations for the benefit of all. Partisans of this movement, such as supporters of the World Federalist Movement, claim that nations should cooperate because their long-term mutual interests are of greater value than their individual short-term needs.

Internationalism is by nature opposed to ultranationalism, jingoism and national chauvinism. Internationalism presupposes the recognition of other nations as equal, in spite of all their differences. The term internationalism is often wrongly used as a synonym for cosmopolitanism. 'Cosmopolitanist' is also sometimes used as a term of abuse for internationalists. Internationalism is not necessarily anti-nationalism.


[edit] The modern ideal of internationalism

In today's world, Internationalism is most commonly expressed as an appreciation for the diverse cultures in the world, and a desire for world peace. People who express this view take pride in not only being a citizen of their respective countries, but of being a "citizen of the world". Internationalists feel obliged to assist the world through leadership and charity.

Internationalists advocate the presence of a "United Nations" type organization, and often support a stronger version of a world government.

Contributors to the current version of Internationalism include Albert Einstein, who believed in a world government, and expressed the follies of patriotism as "an infantile sickness".

[edit] George Washington's advice in relation to internationalism

Washington advised the United States to remain a neutral player in the international political game. He urged the new republic to avoid conflicts and alliances with other nations. Although he felt that economic ties with other nations should be promoted to encourage trade and commerce, political ties should be minimal. He was concerned that having close relations could force the US to unite with allies to promote their interest and be drawn into their war. Likewise, he was concerned that strongly discordant relations would do the same and that both situations could force the US into conflicts that may not be important to the US. He was concerned that these type of relations would cause passion driven foreign policy rather than policy based upon the nation's interest.

[edit] The sovereign nations vs supranational powers balance

Internationalism, in the strict meaning of the word, is still based on the existence of sovereign nations. Its aims are to encourage multilateralism (world leadership not held by any single country) and create some formal and informal interdependence between countries, with some limited supranational powers given to international organizations controlled by those nations via intergovernmental treaties and institutions.

The ideal of many internationalists, among them world citizens, is to go a step further towards democratic globalization by creating a world government. However, this idea is opposed and/or thwarted by other internationalists, who believe any World Government body would be inherently too powerful to be trusted, or because they dislike the path taken by supranational entities such as the United Nations or the European Union and fear that a world government inclined towards fascism would emerge from the former. These internationalists are more likely to support a loose world federation in which most power resides with the national governments.

[edit] Internationalism in Britain

In nineteenth century Britain there was a liberal internationalist strand of political thought epitomised by Richard Cobden and John Bright. Cobden and Bright were against the protectionist Corn Laws and in a speech at Covent Garden on September 28 1843 Cobden outlined this brand of internationalism:

Free Trade! What is it? Why, breaking down the barriers that separate nations; those barriers behind which nestle the feelings of pride, revenge, hatred and jealously, which every now and then burst their bounds and deluge whole countries with blood... [1]

Cobden therefore believed that Free Trade would pacify the world by interdependence, an idea also expressed by Adam Smith in his The Wealth of Nations and common to many liberals of the time. A belief in the idea of the moral law and an inherent goodness in human nature also inspired their faith in internationalism.

In the twentieth century a Gladstonian liberal who became a socialist after the Great War, J. A. Hobson in his book Imperialism (1902), anticipated the growth of international courts and congresses which would hopefully settle international disputes between nations in a peaceful way. Sir Norman Angell in his work The Great Illusion (1910) claimed that the world was united by trade, finance, industry and communications and that therefore nationalism was an anachronism and that war would not profit anyone involved but would only result in destruction.

Lord Lothian was an internationalist and an imperialist who in December 1914 looked forward to:

...the voluntary federation of the free civilised nations which will eventually exorcise the spectre of competitive armaments and give lasting peace to mankind. (J.R.M. Butler, Lord Lothian 1882-1940 (Macmillan, 1960), p. 56.)

In September 1915 he thought the British Empire was 'the perfect example of the eventual world Commonwealth' (Ibid, p. 57).

Internationalism expressed itself in Britain through the endorsement of the League of Nations by such people as Gilbert Murray. Both the Liberal Party and more so the Labour Party had prominent internationalist members, like the Labour Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald who believed that 'our true nationality is mankind' (Lord Vansittart, The Mist Procession, p. 373).

[edit] Other uses of the term

  • In linguistics, an "internationalism" is a loanword that, originating in one language, has been borrowed by most other languages. Other examples of such borrowings include "OK", "microscope", and "tokamak".

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

es:Internacionalismo eu:Internazionalismo fr:Internationalisme nl:Internationalisme ru:Интернационализм (политика) zh:国际主义

Internationalism (politics)

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