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JS Mill went from being a strong supporter of national liberation movements in 1848 to a more nuanced position as he saw liberation turn to nationalism, solidarity turn to tribalism. His ideal was of cultural hybridisation and of citizens loyal to their states. He supported foreign intervention especially to counter the intervention of autocrats or on humanitarian grounds, but he firmly opposed any notion of being able to imposes democracy by the sword. And what would he have thought of Syria today?

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