Few topics have attracted as much writing in recent years as the rise of populism and nationalism. I was interviewed recently by a student reporter at PSU, who wanted to talk to me about Jair Bolsanaro’s rise in Brazil. How does a politician -who served as an officer during the dictatorship, and has made offensive comments about many groups- win the Brazilian presidency? Of course, Brazilians are exhausted by the endless political scandals, which have left one previous president impeached, and another in prison. Anyone who once promised to shut down Congress will attract votes in this context. The Worker’s Party failed to denounce its leaders for corruption, which cost them legitimacy. I quoted Bolsanaro in my book on military terror in Brazil, in which he said that 30,000 corrupt officials needed to be lined up and shot. He made that statement about twenty years ago. Brazilians have been so frustrated by the massive scandal involving Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras, that these and similar comments probably helped more than hurt him. …
Although this map by Frank Jacobs and Parag Khanna is now almost four years old, the fundamental forces that are driving the emergence of new states have not changed. Indeed, their depiction of where new states might appear has proven to be prescient, particularly with regard to Kurdistan. Still, the fact that none of these possible nation-states has yet achieved global recognition makes the point the current nation-state system is resilient. As Ann Hironaka has argued (in her concise, thoughtful and well-researched book titled “Neverending Wars”), the global community’s reluctance to recognize new states may have the unintended consequence of prolonging conflicts. If so, perhaps this map doesn’t truly point to where new states will emerge as much as it indicates areas that are likely to experience conflict.
Shawn Smallman, 2016