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Expert Alert

U of M expert available to speak on Independence Day, patriotism and the war

June 30, 2010

As the nation celebrates Independence Day this weekend, with many Americans proudly displaying the flag and participating in parades and fireworks celebrations, feelings of patriotism will abound. But what is the significance of these expressions, in particular as the nation’s military is engaged in ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan?

A University of Minnesota expert who can comment on expressions of patriotism in times of war and peace is:

Ronald Krebs, associate professor of political science, University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts

Krebs believes that expressions of patriotism are at least as widespread today as they ever have been – even as today’s patriotism demands less of Americans. “As Americans, including our politicians, have grown more distant from the military experience, a sort of ‘muscular’ patriotism has become an easy and cheap way to prove one's devotion to America,” Krebs says.

Krebs says that American forces being stationed abroad, or even engaged in war, is no guarantee of broad-based public support for the war itself. “People rally around the flag in a war’s initial weeks and even months, but those effects are short-lived. So while Americans still ‘support our soldiers,’ for some time now, they've been quite skeptical of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Krebs’ research focuses on the origins and consequences of international conflict and military service. His recently published book, “Fighting for Rights: Military Service and the Politics of Citizenship,” explores how and when the military’s participation policies shape minorities’ struggle for citizenship rights. 

To interview Krebs, contact Jeff Falk at (612) 626-1720 or; or Tessa Eagan at (612) 625-3781 or

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.  

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