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Klavan: Is Nationalism As Bad As Macron Says?

The romance between France's Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump is officially over, with Macron issuing a stern rebuke to the idea of nationalism right in front of the president. So what's going on here? Is nationalism as bad as Macron and other European leaders make it out to be? Andrew Klavan decided to take on the issue on Tuesday's episode of "The Andrew Klavan Show."

The bestselling author broke down Macron’s speech bashing nationalism and the call to develop a European army that "can defend against Russia, China and the United States."

"So it was obviously a zing," said Klavan. "I thought that Macron and Trump were supposed to love each other, but I guess they’re on the outs."

He continued: "Trump said he took that as an insult, and there was all this fuss about the fact that Trump didn’t go to the ceremonies for Veterans Day, and he didn’t go to a cemetery. Of course, we had to be outraged by this. But then, at the ceremony that Trump was at, Macron got up and gave this speech where he attacked nationalism. He said ‘patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism.’ So Trump is sitting there, and looking very stony-faced, and Macron goes on – 'nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism, because it says 'our interests first, who cares about the others?' We erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great, and most essential, it’s moral values.'"

"The problem with this is that it makes absolutely no sense and it’s entirely untrue, but other than that it’s great," joked Klavan. "Nationalism is an essential part of patriotism, you’re a patriot because you love your nation. Who’s he talking to? It’s Trump, because Trump has made a big deal about being an American nationalist and all this stuff, but he’s also talking to all the countries in Eastern Europe in saying 'you have all these nationalist movements, this is not right! Because we are France, we are here to tell you all how to behave.'"

Klavan explained that Europeans see nationalism as connected to imperialism, which some have connected to the cause of the First World War. But Klavan argues that is not a realistic comparison and ignores the impact of communism on the concept.

"Macron is not listening," he continued. "He isn’t listening to the Eastern Europeans who were dominated by the USSR. Their nationalism stripped away and forced into this multinational structure where they were told 'Oh no, you’re not Poland, you’re just one of the Unions of Soviet Socialists Republics.' They’re fighting back from that, they want their nation and their identity, and France is secure in that, they have their nation and their identity. Trump actually tweeted out ;there is no country more nationalist than France, a very proud people and rightfully so.' The French have laws about how many movies they can show because they don’t want American culture taking over theirs. So for Macron to sit up there and denounce nationalism is actually a nationalistic move. It’s just slapping Trump around for no reason. The leaders are not listening. The people in the capitals are not listening to the people. It’s a real problem, and we have got to start listening to each other."

Video and transcript below:

This thing about leaders not listening was what you were seeing in France over the weekend. Everybody made a big fuss about Emmanuel Macron saying Europe needs an army – I think he said “you know, we can’t surrender enough people as it is, we want a big army that we can surrender, a big army instead of a little one” – no, he didn’t say that. But he did say he wants a European army so they can defend against Russia, China and the United States. So it was obviously a zing.

I thought that Macron and Trump were supposed to love each other, but I guess they’re on the outs. Trump said he took that as an insult, and there was all this fuss about the fact that Trump didn’t go to the ceremonies for Veterans Day, and he didn’t go to a cemetery. Of course, we had to be outraged by this. But then, at the ceremony that Trump was at, Macron got up and gave this speech where he attacked nationalism. He said “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism.” So Trump is sitting there, and looking very stony-faced, and Macron goes on – “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism, because it says ‘our interests first, who cares about the others?’ We erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great, and most essential, it’s moral values.”

The problem with this is that it makes absolutely no sense and it’s entirely untrue, but other than that it’s great. Nationalism is an essential part of patriotism, you’re a patriot because you love your nation. Who’s he talking to? It’s Trump, because Trump has made a big deal about being an American nationalist and all this stuff, but he’s also talking to all the countries in Eastern Europe in saying “you have all these nationalist movements, this is not right! Because we are France, we are here to tell you all how to behave.”

This does arise out of World War 1. Americans do not understand WW1 like the Europeans do. We didn’t lose as many people there, we weren’t as involved in it. It wiped a generation away, Russia became the Soviet Union, the Austro-Hungarian empire vanished from the face of the earth. The Ottoman Empire ultimately vanished. Here in America it was the beginning of the progressive movement, with Woodrow Wilson, the first anti-constitution President, starting to install the deep state that we’re still fighting with today. It is still haunting all of our countries today. But the Left, as it always has managed to do in the past, seized the narrative. What was the reason we lost millions of men, all this disaster? Well, it was nationalism, that was the problem. You could just as easily have said, since nobody can really understand why and how the war got out of hand the way it did, you could easily say it was because of unions like NATO, it was because everyone was sworn to defend everybody else, so when a war started everybody had to take sides, and the entire continent went up in smoke.

For western Europe, the idea was this: we have got things figured out, everything should be like western Europe, our values are eternal values and therefore we don’t need nations, we just need to share our values. That’s the basis of the European Union, in the same way it’s the basis of the United States – but the difference is we don’t expect everyone to fall in line with our values. We are a big experiment on whether you can spread values without taking over other countries. In the old days, everybody hates imperialism and says empire was a bad thing, but not so bad, it was a way of spreading values.

Macron is not listening. He isn’t listening to the Eastern Europeans who were dominated by the USSR. Their nationalism stripped away and forced into this multinational structure where they were told “oh no, you’re not Poland, you’re just one of the Unions of Soviet Socialists Republics.” They’re fighting back from that, they want their nation and their identity, and France is secure in that, they have their nation and their identity. Trump actually tweeted out “there is no country more nationalist than France, a very proud people and rightfully so.” The French have laws about how many movies they can show because they don’t want American culture taking over theirs. So for Macron to sit up there and denounce nationalism is actually a nationalistic move. It’s just slapping Trump around for no reason. The leaders are not listening. The people in the capitols are not listening to the people. It’s a real problem, and we have got to start listening to each other.

Watch more of The Andrew Klavan Show here.

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