What is a Nation?

Referendums in Iraqi Kurdistan and Catalonia raise the question “What Is a Nation?”

What is a nation? What is a nation-state? Is it the same as a country? Are a people, or a tribe, the same thing as a nation? What does national sovereignty really mean? These are the key questions for our globalized 21st century.

What is a nation? Is it something you die for? Get murdered for? Is it something that can make you clinically insane, incapable of seeing reality? Is a nation something that can be created by treaty or politics? What does the birth of a nation look like? What does it smell like when it dies?

Michael Goldfarb draws on his decades covering conflicts rooted in frustrated attempts to express national feelings to look for an answer and comes up with more questions:

  • Can the dozens of nations that make up western Europe hope to preserve their wealth and high living standards in a globalized economy without pooling their nation-hood into something greater?
  • What is the importance of a nation-state in a world whose economy is no longer organized on national lines, In an era where the loyalties of global elites are to each other and not the lands of their birth?
  • Will the 21st century see the creation of a United States of Europe and witness the splitting apart of the United States of America?
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