Is nationalism the central political issue of our time? From Donald Trump’s “America First” politics, to the British vote in favor of Brexit, to the crises in the European Union over immigration and debt, it certainly seems so. All across the Western world people are demanding that their leaders strike a new balance between international commitments and national sovereignty. Amidst these movements comes a provocative and timely book, The Virtue of Nationalism, by Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony.
It is not just that nationalism is the key issue of day, Hazony argues, but that the nationalists are right and their critics are wrong. Hazony contends that an international order based on nationalist rather than internationalist principles is the only option for those who care about personal and collective freedom. It is this tradition we must restore, he argues, if we want to limit conflict and hate—and allow human difference and innovation to flourish.
On September 4, Hudson Institute hosted a discussion between Mr. Hazony and William A. Galston, who holds the Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program and writes a weekly column for The Wall Street Journal. Hudson Distinguished Fellow and Wall Street Journal Columnist Walter Russell Mead chaired the event, which focused not just on Hazony’s book but on the profound and broader changes underway in the politics of the United States and Europe.