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In politics, dual loyalty is loyalty to two separate interests that potentially conflict with each other, leading to a conflict of interest.

Inherently controversial

While nearly all examples of alleged "dual loyalty" are considered highly controversial, they point to the inherent difficulty in distinguishing between what constitutes a "danger" of dual loyalty, a pair of misaligned interests, versus what might be more simply a pair of partially-aligned or even, according to the party being accused, a pair of fully-aligned interests. For example, immigrants who still have feelings of loyalty to their country of origin often insist that their two (or more) loyalties do not conflict. As Stanley A. Renshon at the Center for Immigration Studies noted,

Lan Samantha Chang (1999), a novelist writing in response to the Wen Ho Lee case, could say in a New York Times op-ed piece entitled Debunking the Dual Loyalty Myth, "True, many immigrants have strong ties to their countries of birth... But cultural or familial loyalties are on a different level from political allegiances.... I love China, but I am a citizen of the United States." Ms. Chang appears to want to distinguish a love for one's "home" country from being willing to commit treason against one's adopted one. This is obviously a fair, reasonable, and appropriate distinction. Yet, in the process of making such a distinction, she acknowledges the duality of her feelings. The issue is not between love of one's country of origin and treason, but rather the multiple loyalties that appear to be part of many immigrants' psychology.[1]

Transnationalist interpretations

Some scholars refer to a growing trend of transnationalism and suggest that as societies become more heterogeneous and multicultural, the term "dual loyalty" had increasingly become a meaningless bromide. According to the theory of transnationalism, migration and other factors, including improved global communication, produce new forms of identity that transcend traditional notions of physical and cultural space. Nina Glick Schiller, Linda Basch, and Cristina Blanc-Szanton define a process by which immigrants "link together" their country of origin and their country of settlement.

The transnationalist view is that "dual loyalty" is a potentially-positive expression of multi-culturalism and can contribute to the diversity and strength of civil society. That view is popular in many academic circles, but others are skeptical of the idea. As one paper describes it,

On occasion, these imagined communities conform to the root meaning of transnational, extending beyond loyalties that connect to any specific place of origin or ethnic or national group. Yet what immigration scholars describe as transnationalism is usually its opposite... highly particularistic attachments antithetical to those by-products of globalization denoted by the concept of "transnational civil society" and its related manifestations.[2]

Beyond its usage in particular instances, the terms "dual loyalty" and "transnationalism" continue to be the subject of much debate. As one academic wrote:

Although the events of September 11th may have shaken some assumptions – at least in the United States – about the nature of transnational networks and their capacity to facilitate flows of people, goods, and ideas across borders, the terms "globalization" and "transnationalism" remain relatively stable, albeit frustratingly imprecise additions to the language of social sciences, including anthropology.[3]

Historical examples

Other historical examples of actual or perceived "dual loyalty" include the following:

See also


  1. ^ Stanley A. Renshon. "Dual Citizenship and Conflict: The War of 1812 Redux? Archived April 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine" Center for Immigration Studies.
  2. ^ Waldinger, Roger; Fitzgerald, David (March 2004). "Transnationalism in Question" (PDF). American Journal of Sociology. 109 (5): 1178. doi:10.1086/381916. S2CID 143317592.[dead link]
  3. ^ Wagner, Sarah (2002), Putting a Face on Transnationalism: Migration, Identity, and Membership in the Transnational City of Johannesburg (PDF), p. 2, archived from the original (PDF) on April 8, 2005.
  4. ^ " article on John F. Kennedy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2006-03-17.
  5. ^ a b Leonard P. Zakim, Janice Ditchek, Confronting Anti-Semitism: a Practical Guide, KTAV Publishing House, Inc., p. 26, 2000 ISBN 0-88125-629-3, 9780881256291
  6. ^ Rory Miller, Divided Against Zion: Anti-Zionist Opposition in Britain to a Jewish State in Palestine, 1945–1948, Routledge, pp. 129–135, 2000 ISBN 0-7146-5051-X, 9780714650517
  7. ^ John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, pp. 146–149, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007 ISBN 0-374-17772-4
  8. ^ Dore Gold, Blaming Israel for the Iraq War, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol. 3, No. 25 3 June 2004.
  9. ^ Emanuel, Rahm (2019-03-07). "I've Faced the Charge of Dual Loyalty". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-05-04.
  10. ^ Postscript 9/11 Media Coverage of Terrorism and Immigration Archived February 17, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Center for Immigration Studies, April 2003.
  11. ^ Linda Chavez, "Mexican law to challenge loyalties Archived November 13, 2005, at the Wayback Machine," Abilene Texas News, April 8, 1998.
  12. ^ Bangladesh slammed for persecution of Hindus,
  13. ^ A Bleak Future for Bangladesh Hindu's Archived February 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,
  14. ^ The Hindu Minority in Bangladesh: Legally Identified Enemies, Human Rights Documentation Centre
  15. ^ Breach of Faith. Human Rights Watch. p. 14. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  16. ^ "Ahmadis and the State of Israel". Al Islam. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  17. ^ Relman, Eliza. "Republicans tried to smear Alexander Vindman by implying the US military officer has dual loyalty to Ukraine". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-05-04.