SSN Commentary

Our Era Is One of Defensive Nationalism. It’s Happened Before

Policy field

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Rutgers University-Camden

Originally published in Made by History, TIME Magazine on March 18, 2024.

In late 2023, voters in Argentina and the Netherlands elected right-wing populists promising dramatic changes. But these two countries aren’t alone. Around the world, nations have become deeply polarized. Tense elections involving far right candidates have occurred across the globe in Peru, Israel, and Italy, among others. And, of course, the United States is headed for another nail-biter of an election in 2024.

At the same time, violent conflicts have escalated. A recent report found that in 2022 deaths from internal and external conflicts increased 96% from the previous year. The carnage in Israel and Gaza will likely drive these numbers even higher.

What could be the cause of these disturbing trends?