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<nettime> Romantic Nationalism or Digital Politics?
Newmedia on Wed, 28 Nov 2012 18:45:55 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Romantic Nationalism or Digital Politics?


I presume that some on this list read the material from  STRATFOR, an 
Austin TX based "private" intelligence network (mostly derived from foreign 
journalist inputs, according to the Wikileaks internal emails released  
last year) run by George Friedman. 

George sees everything through  the lens of "geo-politics" -- which is to 
say that *geography* (literally natural resources, coastlines,  
mountains, rivers etc.) takes priority over everything else in his 

His latest essay caught my eye for its heroic efforts to ignore what is  
really going on in the recent spate of "succession" efforts -- including  
Catalonia and Palestine (but apparently not Texas <g>). 


What George calls "romantic nationalism" is  what might be called DIGITAL 
politics, if you give priority  to technology and the various ways that 
we adapt to new technological  environments (as I discussed in my UN 
speech two weeks ago). 

The  Westphalian nation-state was, as we would analyze things, *not* the 
result simply of geography but rather a  major effect of the PRINTING 
PRESS and its ability to tie-together the  various "nations" through 
their printed language starting in the 16th  century. 

While there have long been attempts to rearrange (or to  engineer) these 
borders, what is happening today takes on a new context  because we are 
now in a very different *digital*  technological environment. 

As a result of focusing on the "wrong" theme  (and, no doubt, their own 
limited resources), STRATFOR has completely missed  China -- which they 
view as geographically in terrible shape (exposed coast,  surrounded by 
enemies, burdened by need to feed peasant population) and  instead 
champion Japan as the most important Asian power. 

Moreover,  as the above Friedman essay illustrates, by ignoring the 
impact of  technology, they are consistently mistaken about major current 

The NATION STATE has *long* been  dust-binned (as has been the printing 
press as the dominant medium, since  the mid-1800's). 

It was replaced by a sequence of "empires" (driven by a  sequence of new 
technologies) and, over the past 50 years, by an attempt to  build a 
GLOBAL elite -- centered in the ambitions of the group that "won" WW  II, 
which can be short-handed as the "Rockefellers" (this time in an  
environment dominated by Arthur C. Clarke's geostationary satellite  
television broadcasts, which incidentally should have been a clue for  
George Friedman that borders don't matter any more!) 

The mechanism  used by this group certainly involved the US (and other 
governments) but it  was largely promoted by an explosion of 
NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS --  starting with the UN, World Bank and 
IMF but now with thousands of  NGOs.

A recently published book "Foundations of the American Century: The  
Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations of American Power" details  
how the "Big 3" were a crucial part of this strategy to build a global  
network of like-minded elites -- 


As the author was scolded (in the Q&A) last year when he presented  the 
book at the Hudson Institute, the "networks" that have always been the  
focus of these foundations are really not properly called "American," so  
Prof. Parmar's "neo-Gramscian" approach (i.e. he gives priority to a  
peculiar "Marxist" class-style of "hegemony" analysis) missed the *global* 
forest while cataloging all the "national" trees -- 


In the current US situation, however we might have felt about Obama vs.  
there is little doubt that the Dems waged a very sophisticated  
*cable-television* styled "niche-marketing" campaign, while the  Repubs 
were still fighting with an earlier *radio/network-tv*  style campaign. 
As we know, the newer technology won that contest.  

And as we have already seen, the "relief" that the relentlessly  
advertised/hyped election was over (along with the overall low turnout)  
-- resulting in a "status quo" outcome that points to something *very* 
different in the future. 

Is it any  surprise that more-and-more people are "giving up" on 
Washington and turning  to state-and-local politics instead? 

Could we be going through our own  "de-nationalization" -- as reflected 
in Bill O'Reilly's sharp contrasting of  Texas and California (the two 
largest states) on his show last night?   How many "nations" are we? 

What happens to "American Exceptionalism" in  a world that is finally 
recognizing that "nations" are no longer the  unit-of-measure in global 

We are in a new technological  environment (i.e. the INTERWEB with 
as its contents) and people are adapting accordingly.  Could 
*civilizations* now 
be a better way to think about society? 

And what does DIGITAL  politics look like 10+ years from now . . . when 
*everyone* is  encouraged to FEEDBACK from the broadband smartphones we 
all carry in our  pockets? 


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