Nationalism and Internationalism in Liberalism, Marxism and Islam By Tahir Amin. Islamabad: IIIT, 1991. xxxii + 106 pp.

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Glenn E. Perry



Professor Amin, who teaches international relations at Quaid-i-Azam
University in Islamabad, has provided us with a short but insightful
analysis of twentieth-century writings from the Liberal, Marxist, and
Islamic traditions on the issue of "nationalism versus internationalism."
Pointing out that Western writings treat the "nation-state" as "a universal
form," he presents two main arguments: a) nationalism emerged from
"Western liberal culture" and is now "seriously challenged by a variety
of communitarian internationalisms," of which Islamic revivalism is the
most important in the Islamic world (p. 5), and b) Islamic revivalismoften
misunderstood as being a backward-looking "fundamentalism" -is
"a reaction against Liberal and Marxist internationalism which are seen
as the two imperialist ideologies of the West" (p. 6).
Amin briefly states the essence of the three traditions-the Liberal
belief in nationalism as natural, with "world unity [envisaged as emerging]
through the prism of nation-states" (p. 7); the Marxist goal of a "classless
world society" (p. 7); and the Islamic idea of all "believers . . . belong [
ing] to one global community, the ummah" (p. 10). Insisting that the
dialogue among the three trends is facilitated by understanding all of them
"from within and through their main spokesmen" (p. 10), he proceeds with
a chapter on the representative literature of each. Each chapter is divided
into three sections: traditional writers, modernization theorists, and postmodernization
Perhaps reflecting the author's Western education, the book's longest
chapter is the one on Liberalism. He begins with Toynbee, whom he
describes as "an internationalist par excellence in the Western communitarian
tradition" (p. 13). Three other Liberal writers are categorized as
"traditional"-E. H. Carr, Hans Kohn, and Carleton Hayes. Under the designation
of modernization theorists, Amin deals with Karl Deutsch and
Ernest Gellner, while the section on post-modernization theorists looks
mainly at Walker Conner and A. D. Smith.
In the chapter on Marxism, Amin analyzes Marx and Engels as "traditional
writers." Lenin is classified as a "modernization theorist," while ...

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