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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 18, 2020

“Wretched Nurseries of Unceasing Discord”: Nationalism, War, and the Project of Peace

Cheyney Ryan


Is there an intimate connection between nationalism and war? Does the right to national self-determination invariably lead to bellicose relations with others? These have been central concerns in the literature on nationalism and war. They have also been concerns of political thinkers/activists who have worried about these connections and have sought to fashion a conception of national identity free of its warlike proclivities. This essay explores the link of war, nationalism, and national self-determination with reference to the founding of the state of Israel. And it reflects on the views of Martin Buber whose writings on Zionism constantly engaged these questions in searching for a peace-oriented nationalism.

* I am indebted to the Editors of this Journal for their comments, and to Professor Stephen Jay Stern of Gettysburg College for discussions about Martin Buber and Zionism. Cite as: Cheyney Ryan, “Wretched Nurseries of Unceasing Discord”: Nationalism, War, and the Project of Peace, 21 Theoretical Inquiries L. 207 (2020).

** Cheyney Ryan is senior research fellow in the Oxford Institute for Ethics and Armed Conflict, Oxford University. He has also taught at the University of Oregon, Northwestern University, and Harvard Law School. He has written widely on the ethics of war and peace, with a special focus on pacifism and non–violence. He is co–chair of the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights.

Published Online: 2020-09-18
Published in Print: 2020-07-28

© 2020 by Theoretical Inquiries in Law