Pat Buchanan

Chinese nationalism, says Abe, is also behind China's quarrels with Vietnam and other nations over islands of the South China Sea.

If Beijing is unable to deliver economic growth, "it will not be able to control the 1.3 billion people ... under the one-party rule," Abe told The Washington Post. He is now denying those quotes.

But China is not alone in stoking the flames of nationalism to maintain legitimacy.

Abe has himself taken a firm stand against China in the Senkakus and is moving rightward on patriotism, security and a defense of Japan's history in the 20th century, and he is rising in the polls. The apologetic and pacifist Japan of yesterday is no more.

In Russia, a nation that saw its Orthodox faith ripped up by the roots by Josef Stalin, then saw its Marxist-Leninist ideology and a Communist Party that was its Vatican collapse, is searching to locate the ancient sources of Russian patriotism and nationhood. Vladimir Putin seeks to knit back together the empire of the Romanovs and revive the old church.

In the Muslim world, the secularism of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Saddam Hussein and Bashar Assad are yielding to forces that look all the way back to Muhammad and the Quran as infallible guides to politics, law and national greatness. The Sunni-Shia split recalls our Catholic-Protestant split in the time of Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII, the Council of Trent and the Thirty Years War.

Nor should America be smug about this search for legitimacy.

Our British-Protestant then European-Christian identity has gone the way of the Cheshire Cat. In the age of Obama, Jefferson's Declaration and Madison's Constitution are invoked to justify societal mandates that would have had the Founding Fathers loading muskets.

What is our guiding light now that the philosophical, cultural, religious and political roots of the old republic are being systematically severed?

What gives legitimacy to the American government? Elections, majority rule through universal suffrage of a people, ever-larger shares of whom are ignorant of the faith, culture and civilization whence we came?

If our economy should sink like Southern Europe's, if the great god Progress no longer smiles upon us, what do we fall back on?

One day, Americans will begin to ask themselves such questions, if they have not already begun to do so.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at


Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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