Small fires blaze as more turn to nationalism: What do we do next?

01/07/2018 03:16 pm ET

The rise of nationalism in Europe threatens the continent. From Germany to Spain, France, England and Belgium to the Netherlands, Hungary and Poland, identity-populist movements are spreading their venom over new boundaries, to the horror of those who have read a few history books.

But the EU is working like a brick wall against these radical preachers of exclusion and hatred and lack of solidarity, acknowledging that we experience severe political, social and cultural indifferences that have recently hastened a strong movement of nationalism across Europe.

The world of hate is presently taking its harvest, with its roots in social, cultural and economic exclusion. In fact, it is the ‘new inequality of opportunity’. This means that in the world today, not everyone is treated alike. Likewise, as we have a situation of high pace, high complexity and high expectations, it is not surprising those among us who are socially excluded create hate. It is a world of hate created by people who cannot deal with their limited knowledge, seeing the current world around them transforming much more rapidly than they do. Is it surprising? Naturally they are lost, scared and fear what might be next, seeking to unite and bond with others who feel the same way.

For an increasing number people across Europe, nationalism seems to be the answer. But if they desire to eliminate hate, then they must as individuals cease to hate. Because to destroy hate, they must disassociate themselves from hate in all its gross and subtle forms.

Europe, defined in accordance with the maxim ‘united in diversity’, promotes the connection of states and citizens with different cultures, traditions and languages, but not necessarily of people with misleading identities. In fact, it is least supportive of those who try to redefine the hatred of their neighbours, as is typical of nationalism. But nationalism comes from external threats that are stirred within any system that tends to dominate, control, manipulate or exclude a minority.

Clearly, those countries which want to rely on Europe to achieve their independence have become the worst detractors of the EU, a club of decadent and obsolete countries seeking to favour and benefit themselves. Under such circumstances, any system will sooner or later tumble.

It is the arrogance and blindness of a political establishment, manipulated by Europe’s well-known economic elite, that has so far managed to entice an entire continent to follow them, believing they can regulate cultural, social and economic diversity with financial benefits and political agreements. In fact, this exclusion of identify leads to separation, eventually resulting in social and political conflicts.

Nationalism in these countries was not established overnight; it grew over many decades of ignoring concerns, anxieties and fears, as people were simply expected to comprehend and deal with problems themselves. But ignoring concerns won’t help to solve problems; in fact, it aggravates situations. Minorities have full right to step up their pace and aggressiveness to have concerns recognised and voices heard. The latest news is that the Spanish centralised government and the EU had to acknowledge that there are severe reasons to be concerned. Also France`s Front National, which excelled in their last pools, as well as Germany`s ADF, are string indications that many Europeans are very much concerned for the future their countries, otherwise such political movements would never occur. But do their governments and the EU acknowledge these signs of concern ?

Because people are so anxious about dealing with the unknown, many resort to violence as a means of coping. But if the ideal of non-violence will not free our minds from this violence, any comparison or analysis will not necessary help dissolve violence. So, we are currently caught up in violence, in wars, in corruption, in global dominance. If we practice discipline to control violence and change to non-violence, surely that brings about self-centred thought and activity, because our mind is focused on getting rid of one thing and acquiring something else. In other words, if we are not capable of understanding the major cause of violence, we will continue to seek inner security. In each one of us resides the urge for psychological security, an inward sense of being safe, which projects an outward demand for inner security. Inwardly, each one of us wants to be secure, safe and certain. If any sort of relationship is attacked, and we no longer feel safe, we become violent, an expression of the psychological demand, the inward demand, to be certain of our relationships in everything.

But there is no such thing as absolute certainty or security in any relationship as well within any organisational- or social system. Inwardly, psychologically, we desire to be secure, but there is no such thing as permanent security. These uncertainties are contributory causes of the prevalent violence rampaging throughout the world. And while that is precisely why more and more people are turning towards nationalism, this eventually causes extraordinary brutality, callousness and indifference.

The trouble is that we rarely listen to anything: our minds, our brain cells, are so conditioned to an ideology about violence that we never look at the actual fact of violence. We look at violence through an ideology, and regarding violence through an ideology creates a time interval. And when we admit time, there is no end to violence; we go on showing violence even while preaching non-violence.

Because political parties, societies and nations do not understand the central causes of conflict and sorrow, we escape into peace movements, making it even more difficult. We are far too lazy to take hold of ourselves, to understand ourselves, and being lazy is really a form of conceit, as we expect others to solve problems for us and give us peace and understanding in return. When any system, political party, society government or even entire nation is in conflict with itself, this inevitably generates conflict: only that same system can create peace and stability itself.

This lack of inclusiveness and political mindset that prevails across Europe is promoting nationalism, leading to sweeping changes across Europe. On the other hand, member states such as the Baltic countries and Eastern European countries have contributed little to strengthen Europe’s commonality. How could they, considering that they all have undergone tremendous political turmoil for decades. Many remain in social blindness, becoming well-admired by followers, but aiming to benefit financially in overcoming their domestic struggle.

Perhaps developing cultural agility could be the start. An open attitude would certainly benefit stakeholders in the EU. It was this lesson the British empire learned in the 20th century when they demanded protection of their sovereignty, resulting in a brutal dead-end of colonial superiority. Now a similar situation is occurring in the EU. Are we experiencing a continental salto-mortale without a safety net? Like the British empire, the EU is now reacting similarly. And why should they react differently? Remember, their founding members insisted on reigning with righteousness, dominance and exclusiveness; they do not realise the way they are dominating has not changed. We have a ‘colonialism of escapism’. It is the limited knowledge, ignoring people’s concern, which perpetuates nationalism across Germany, Spain, France, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary and Poland: a serious force with which to be reckoned.

This has now coerced policymakers of France and Germany policymaker to entice citizens to avoid jeopardising their future by simply opposing the nationalists. But without a doubt, the nationalists in both countries will catch up, as the elite of France and Germany will continue to ignore concerns. If most European member states never ended in debt, and if Britain’s Brexit hadn’t prevailed, it is unlikely that nationalism today would be so severe. It is the tremendous lack of inclusiveness, creating a brutal separation across Europe, that is slowly revealing just how deep these conflicts truly are. If such concerns would have been heard at the beginning, however, we would not be suffering traumatic waves of nationalism across so many European countries.

But today we have serious social and economic inequity across Europe that is widely ignored by the political elite in Brussels and in many European countries. If these prolonged conflicts are not addressed soon, there is a possibility that over a hundred sub-countries may be raised up over this century, admits Jean Claude Junker, President of the EU’s Commission.

A radically different mindset in the political and economic arenas is required to comprehend that we need to include those in decisions to avoid another political tsunami in Europe. We are suffering immensely from a lack of leadership. Leadership should be required to have the ability to relate to and connect with a nation and its citizens for the purpose of inspiring and empowering and uplifting the people.

When we see a problem, whether social inequality, political exclusion or the lack of acknowledgement of a minority group, we are quick to declare, “we must solve that problem”. But instead, we are constantly producing that sort of problem by the manner which we carry on with the same thought with which we have approached other problems: we do not look at it differently and include all by applying comprehension, cooperation, curiosity, coordination, cultural acceptance and courage.

In our modern world, it is imperative that leaders learn to work with people who are not like them and who think differently to them. Political concerns can no longer be solved by one centralised entity or one system, one sector or one culture alone. Leading across boundaries through collaboration is increasingly crucial.

There’s no doubt that this can, and will, be challenging. Now is the moment and here is the place where cultural intelligence has found its importance. We have never needed it more than we do right now. Cross cultural skills consist of a broad set of skills instrumental for intellectual effectiveness: rational skills, tolerance of uncertainty, adaptability, empathy and perceptual acuity.

As globalisation has rendered businesses more complex, dynamic and competitive, the ability to function effectively in various cultural contexts – referred to as cultural intelligence (CQ) – has never been more important for any organisation, including the EU. Such abilities go beyond simply being intelligent, emotionally mature or having good general, social and leadership skills.

CQ is a system of three interconnected components: cultural knowledge, cross-cultural skills and cultural metacognition. While these CQ components can be developed in different ways, it is important to note that they do not operate in isolation from each other. However, a certain autonomy is required to be empowered to encourage political and economic evolvement for each European country.

Such cultural cohesiveness can be developed with cultural embeddedness, education, inclusive leadership skills, a value and belief system inclined toward cooperation and togetherness as well as emotions, desires and visions, and a labour market that contributes to a mutual economic value proposition.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS