Benedict Anderson's Ideas of Nationalism

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Introduction In this paper, this author will examine in light of Benedict Anderson's ideas how theories of nationalism can be instructive and helpful in formulating future US foreign policy initiatives in the Middle East region. These would be policies that could simultaneously address Palestinian anger over Israeli settlements on the one hand, and Israel's persistent security concerns on the other, against a backdrop of political tumult and popular uprisings in neighboring Egypt. By understanding these theories, State Department pronouncements can sell the idea of peaceful coexistence over the heads of governments and directly to the people in the street who are making policy in the wake of the Arab Spring. Analysis In the chapter on cultural roots, he offers a number of historical bases that make possible the imagining of a nation. Benedict Anderson in the chapter on cultural roots observes that a notion of nationhood arises first in the death of religious beliefs and is now a principal force in aspects of modern thought. The decline of belief in religion causes a deep void that needs to be filled for the devotee. When there is no irrevocable truth, one needs to be manufactured to supplant it. Changes in the religious community that are brought about by the decline in religious belief give rise to this nationalism along with the decline of sacred languages. This brings about the growth of secular languages so necessary in nationalism. As a result of this, the
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