A human being is largely dependent and defined with the help of society or another social group. First of all, there is a basic need for protection, but secondly, people started forming groups and later on nations to identify themselves with some society, to be considered a part of something bigger and more important or significant. Thus, people started to unite, and a form of society called the nation-state gradually evolved.
First of all, the nation-state is characterized by three main features:
- Sovereign territory
- State language
This means that every nation-state has power over some territory with clearly defined borders, moreover, in comparison to empire, the nation-state usually is characterized by common language and culture and a number of permanent residents on its territory. Characteristics of this form of government are underlined in its name. As far as a nation, this is registered residents inhabiting the limited territory, sharing common language and culture, while the state is a political particle that has defining power over some territory, and this power is not usually centered in one person’s hands.
As an example of the nation-state, Poland can be regarded. This is one of the recent members of the European Union and it is characterized by strictly defined borders, whereas at some point in history, many countries tried to invade and rule Poland, nowadays it is an independent state with its own government. Furthermore, most of the population of the country shares common language – Polish- and Polish people are also largely defined by common religious believes as far as the majority of population is Catholics.
On the contrary
“Israel cannot be considered a “nation” since it is one having a large “national minority of Arab Palestinians who, however, still remain in a tribal stage, although in the course of the struggles against Israel the tribal sheik is giving way to the socialist trained intellectual as the nomads have settled down.” (Weisbord)
Moreover, another example of the nation-state is the United States of America. First of all, it has a sovereign territory where the government of the USA is only legislative power. Moreover, most of the population of the USA native and first language is English. Besides, as a country of 50 states with huge territory and dispersed population, the USA works well to ensure its sovereignty, and this can be seen when regarding, first of all, borderline protection. As usually, there are military forces protecting the borders of the country, but also this is encouraged by a common language and tradition, and even though the USA is divided into fifty states, each exercising some power over a fixed territory, they are still subordinate to the government of the USA and have no sovereignty.
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These principles are reflected in the main objectives of the foreign policy of the USA, the main principle of which is to protect the territory of the country. This principle has been carried out since the beginning of the nineteenth century when for the last time some foreign army invaded the territory of the USA. However, nowadays this threat is growing as far as there is the fright connected to global terrorism. This is the main threat to the sovereignty of the country, therefore, most of the foreign policy acts are sparkled by the fight against terrorism. But there is also another target in the foreign policy of the USA and that is to protect its allies. Therefore, the USA has been an active member of NATO, the alliance in Europe called to defend countries participants.
NATO is one of the most influential political alliances in Europe, however, the most influential in terms of territory and political impact is the European Union. First of all, its power spreads over 27 countries-participants and the main functions of this union are to enable closer relationships between different countries, such as free trade, to happen without different red tape along its way. Furthermore, it established a counterbalance to the US is the most influential world power. Thirdly, the European Union was a historical solution in terms of governing and making policy in a multinational environment. As far as throughout the history of Europe different unions have come up it is clear that there was a need for unification among different countries based on some profitable need or desire to simplify interaction.
The main political objectives of the EU are defined by their desire of being a superpower in terms of global politics, therefore, their foreign policy is characterized by the representation of interests of countries-participants globally and in questions connected to their interests. However, while comparing the goals of nation-state and EU being the transnational entity, it is clear that the main political targets of the nation-state (in this case, the USA) is shaped by the desire and the need of one nation, whereas, the foreign policy of the transnational entity is dictated by multiple nations and sources. Thus, they have to be more cautious to take into account and satisfy the needs of all 27 countries-participants. Moreover, they have to be careful about choosing political means of influence, which are mostly limited to talks and peacemakers.
To sum up, the need for people for a society defined the nation-state as the most common political form of country. Furthermore, this country is characterized by ensuring its sovereignty and by protecting the borders, and, thus, its population. Moreover, if to compare the political unit of the nation-state and transnational entity, it is clear that politically speaking, nation-states are more stable as far as they are unified by common targets and cultural background.