It is against this background that the central premise of this essay is focused on conducting an exhaustive critique into the relevance or otherwise of nationalist sentiments in our day and age. This question clearly emanates from the recent trends of highly charged tensions generated in the global political landscape due to nationalism. The debate is even made more complex by the fact that in one breadth whilst nationalism is cited as a justifiable intervention in a bid to consolidate an existing heritage in the next breadth all the blame for the internecine conflicts that have engulfed some parts of the world with deplorable impacts have heaped on the doorsteps of nationalist sentiments. Nationalism remains one of the greatest issues in international politics that does not have a simple, straightforward answer1. Suffice to cite a few instances to buttress the forgoing points. The state of Bangladesh was carved out of Pakistan, fuelled mainly by the strong nationalist elements of the then Pakistani Bengali populace. In many respects the Bengali people shared common features with the mainland Pakistani people, with their Islamic religious creed serving as the most shining example. Yet nationalist yearning for sovereignty far exceeded the underlining factors-- a drive that eventually lead to the establishment of the independent state of Bangladesh. Irrespective of how this issue is looked at it served as a landmark victory for the Bengali nationalist.
In sharp contrast, the same cannot be said about the Yugoslavian massacre that witnessed the mass killing of both ethnic Serbians and Albanians on a purely nationalist alter. Neither can the Nazi extremist execution of over six million Jews be used as a good example of the benefits of nationalist. To this end, the essay proceeds to pose prying questions as to what constitutes and when the middle line can be towed with regards to the question of nationalist sentiment. One truism is acknowledged in conducting this review. Nationalism is an inevitable human reality that can never be eliminated, whilst acknowledging this fact there is need to also state in terms of the need for complementary moderation to work within the framework of established state structures.
To achieve the stated goals of this essay, there will be a conscientious attempt to conduct a theoretical assessment of all the contending issues on the nationalist debate as a way of orienting the reader before delving into the analytical scope of the essay. The essay extensively uses, historical and contemporary precedents to conduct a comparatively and inferential analysis that will eventually lead to a tentative conclusion to support the underlining thesis of the essay.
There is a general consensus among anthropologists and sociologists that the human being has an inherent inclination to crave for affiliation with a recognized group within an environment that is socially supported2. Indeed, this serves as the graphic illustration of Aristotle's saying that man is a social animal. Group structures provide viable grounds for the provision of perceived or even real security besides the cardinal goal of presenting an identity. The group structure