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Author Topic: The new imperialism
Terry Johnson
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posted 12 September 2002 01:55 AM      Profile for Terry Johnson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've waited for someone in the US or British administrations to clearly express the nature of the imperialist effort they are jointly engaged in.

British foreign minister Jack Straw has obliged.

In a Sep. 6 speech at the University of Birmingham, he says the US, Britain and Europe (and Canada, BTW) should divide up the world between them, and take responsibility for shepherding "failed states" in their assigned regions to maturity--or, when that failed, intervening militarily to sort things out.

The signs of a "failed state"? Straw includes such things as an inability to provide public goods like health care to its citizens, economic instability, civil insurgencies, high population growth and dependence on a single resource as symptoms. Most countries outside the developed world would likely qualify.


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Apemantus
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posted 12 September 2002 06:29 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
But then to someone who would rather see a country's people starve, be oppressed and die than intervene to save them, violating the arbitrary borders drawn up by previous imperialists, I guess any concern beyond words for people living in another land smacks of imperialism...
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Flowers By Irene
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posted 12 September 2002 07:26 AM      Profile for Flowers By Irene     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't think anyone wants to see people starving, oppressed, or dying, but there are other ways of fixing those problems than sending in the bombers. No matter how hungry you are, bullets still leave a bad taste behind.
Secondly, JFTR, most of those arbitrary borders aren't so arbitrary. The colonialists learned, many many moons ago, this little stategy called divide and conquer. Ethnic and linguistic groups were often divided by borders created by the Imperial know-it-alls, and leaving minorities in power when they left, for the expressed purpose of creating conflicts that would distract the locals from colonial pillaging and plundering.

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Apemantus
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posted 12 September 2002 08:00 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
Fair point, I shouldn't have said arbitrary, what I meant was more that they were not drawn along tribal or ethnic lines, so the borders are not 'intelligent', I suppose.

And yes, there are many other ways than bombing and I suspect Jack Straw makes that very clear in his speech, that those other ways must be supported first and foremost, but with some rulers in some failed states, notably Saddam Hussain, force may be the end option.

The difficulty with always believing states to have inviolable borders is that it implies that whatever goes on within is no-one's business other than the inhabitants - fair point but when those inhabitants are powerless against a dictator? When they have rebelled before and been slaughtered? At what point should outside forces have intervened in Rwanda, or should they have done what they did, and not interfere? Would it make a difference if the outside forces were not so linked to one country (ie. less imperialist because not so dominated by one nation). Would your view change if it was developing nations that were the outside force?

Interested in people's thoughts on that.


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Michelle
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posted 12 September 2002 08:16 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My problem with this idea is that getting the industrialized world, which has based their economy and lifestyle on the pillaging of developing countries' resources and labour, to "shepherd" those countries is like getting the wolf to watch the chickens.
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Apemantus
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posted 12 September 2002 08:32 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
lol, yeah.

Which is why I started to think of what I did above, but then the problem is how does a chicken that has been starved and abused look after, guard, check on the other chickens especially the ones that the wolf has used to wrangle his way into the pen!?


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Flowers By Irene
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posted 12 September 2002 09:04 AM      Profile for Flowers By Irene     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Rwanda was a missed opportunity to prevent genocide, and I have no problem with intervetion in that kind of scenario. My point is that the 'how' is as important, if not more, than the 'why'.

There is always the risk that a military intervention can make any problem exponentially worse. Its tricky when say, if intervention had occurred, and maybe only 250 000 Tutsis get murdered instead of a half million, but what if the cost of this is 350 000 Hutus? All of the sudden you are looking at 100 000 more deaths caused by 'humanitarian intervention' Not that that would necessarily be the case, but I guess my point is that cause and effect must be examined closely, and unneeded risks eliminated, on a case by case basis.


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Apemantus
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posted 12 September 2002 09:08 AM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
Absolutely agree with you on that.


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satana
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posted 12 September 2002 11:00 AM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If imperialism is the only way to fix the world, why don't we do it the "right" way:
By annexing these "failed states", giving the local populations the same rights, political representation and economic opportunities as anyone else in the rest of the country...?

Imagine...a "Greater Canada"...
the True North, South, East, and West strong and free!


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Dogbert
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posted 12 September 2002 11:44 AM      Profile for Dogbert     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Cuba-Canada Merger! I wanna live in Canuba.
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flotsom
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posted 12 September 2002 11:53 AM      Profile for flotsom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That would be Canaba, Dogbert.

It's really only a simple matter of taking the 'd' in Canada and "turning her east to face the warmth of Cuba's rising sun."

Ask the Senate.

Twas one of their ideas.

[ September 12, 2002: Message edited by: flotsom ]


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Black Dog
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posted 12 September 2002 12:02 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Ummm...call me nutty, but based on Straw's criterea for a "failed state", the U.S., Britain, an dmost of the industrialized, western world could be considered failures:

quote:
On governance, the indicators could include whether the country's government has the machinery of public administration to implement its policies effectively? Is corruption rampant?

-See the 2000 presidential elections and the current Florida debacle.

quote:
And on the economic side, we could consider whether the state's economy is stable, or heavily dependent on certain industries or agricultural sectors.

-Like, say, oil.

quote:
Dynamic social pressures such as rapid population growth, social inequality; high unemployment and a high rate of HIV/AIDs infection could lead in time to the weakening of key state institutions and the economically active population.

-This is happening in our own backyards.

What's that line about the speck in your brother's eye?


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Flowers By Irene
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posted 12 September 2002 01:37 PM      Profile for Flowers By Irene     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I like that idea of Canada and Cuba becoming one country, primarily because on pissing off the US scale of 1 -10, it would rate a healthy 12.6
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lagatta
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posted 12 September 2002 01:50 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I like Canuba too, and it would solve the Francophone-Anglophone dispute since everyone would have to learn Spanish.

Of course that WOULD be easier for us, eh? ...


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Black Dog
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posted 12 September 2002 01:50 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If we join, we can pack off Jean and Fidel to the Home For Aged Dictators and turn Cuba (sorry, Canaba) into the world's top tourist destination. I betcha they could grow some pretty good bud down there...
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DrConway
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posted 12 September 2002 06:34 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
John Kenneth Galbraith, in 1977, noted that the US's largest export sector was not manufactured goods but raw materials and natural resources.

He sardonically noted that by this definition, the US was effectively a Third World country and should begin voting that way in the UN.


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kropotkin1951
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posted 13 September 2002 02:14 AM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well how about democracy. One human adult one vote. Oops that would effectively end the west's power. The idea of the West engaging in that kind of hands on imperialism besides for being repugnent is also unworkable.

I think its more like a parent and teenagers. The fastest way to get a teenager to rebel is tell them they have to do something because it is good for them.


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Flowers By Irene
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posted 13 September 2002 02:48 AM      Profile for Flowers By Irene     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
John Kenneth Galbraith, in 1977, noted that the US's largest export sector was not manufactured goods but raw materials and natural resources.
He sardonically noted that by this definition, the US was effectively a Third World country and should begin voting that way in the UN.

Of course, this applies to Canada today. We are essentially a 'third world' nation with a 'first world' infrastructure.

But I think many of our problems stem from this - not which 'world' we belong to, but the very notion of separate worlds. Wasn't it Kennedy who said "We live in one world, we breathe the same air; we have to learn to live together, or we're going to die together."

I think by now we should all be realizing that what goes on in another hemisphere can affect us as much as what goes on next door.


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satana
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posted 13 September 2002 09:31 AM      Profile for satana     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Seriously, though, nobody annexes territory any more.

The empires of the past like the Romans or Islamic Caliphates believed, like western "empires" today, that their way of life was superior to those of the surrounding "barbarians" and "unbelievers". To gain power and inlfuence these empires expanded their physical borders, incorporating the local populations into their own.

If our way of life is "more superior", why don't we prove it by allowing other countries to join us?

What world administrators are taking about is not a "new imperialism", but the same old-fashioned colonialism thats been going on the last several hundred years: taking control of and exploiting a region, ensalaving the local population, and destroying all resistance.


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adlib
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posted 13 September 2002 12:32 PM      Profile for adlib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
What world administrators are taking about is not a "new imperialism", but the same old-fashioned colonialism thats been going on the last several hundred years: taking control of and exploiting a region, ensalaving the local population, and destroying all resistance.

Ward Churchill said, "Meet the new boss; same as the old boss..."


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hibachi
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posted 13 September 2002 12:46 PM      Profile for hibachi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The New Imperialism

There are several forces vying for world domination. They include the Roman Empire reconstructed as the Catholic Church, the United States, a republic reconstructed as a corporate state, and Britain, reconstructed as Cool Brittania, ruler of Europe.

The British model, which has been ingrained into me since I was a child, is that evolution is preferable to revolution, and despite its failings, there is no worse system of government than a constitutional monarchy. Failing that, the LSE can deliver other presidential models that adhere to the Common Law, and would allow a new franchise to start contributing to the body thereof. Through the Common Law, and optional Bills of Rights and Constitution, a legal framework for a mixed economy can be established along with a democratic society.

It is imperialism of the idea. Canada and Britain coexist well, sharing the common law. In its own way, America is part of this tradition as well, and so are Australia, New Zealand and other places.

This is the idea that it is proposed that we can use to combat theocratic wahabi Islam. We learned a long time ago that life under the greed of a totalitarian King is nasty, brutish and short, and we have to wait generations for a kind one. For centuries as people we have fought for the rule of law, rather than the rule of Kings, in our own little triumph of symbolism over substance for the good of all.

There is great mystical significance available through the symbolism of Islam, and this should be embraced. Helping the Islamic people to peace and prosperity is going to go a lot further than making war with them, as our way of life is attractive to them. Perhaps an Islamic Erasmus will come along.


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kropotkin1951
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posted 13 September 2002 03:06 PM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Ward Churchill said, "Meet the new boss; same as the old boss..."

Interesting quote since I always thought it was a line from the Who's, "We Won't Get Fooled Again."

I'd love to know who Ward Churchill is and whether the Who were using one of his lines as the hook to a great song.


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Sisyphus
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posted 13 September 2002 04:29 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I'd love to know who Ward Churchill is and whether the Who were using one of his lines as the hook to a great song.


He's a Native American (Cherokee, I believe) scholar who has argued that the term genocide has been appropriated by cultures (particularly the Jews) to give themselves special status, when the victims of real genocide (i.e. destruction of an entire people) are more accurately seen as indigenous peoples. The tone is NOT anti-semitic, in my estimation. He has also written about the unconstitutional and illegal means that the FBI has used in order to suppress dissent, particularly in organizations concerned with the rights of racial minorities. The chief objection to his writings that I have noticed (besides allegations of anti-Semitism), lies with his thesis that the pre-contact indigenous population of North America was over 100,000,000. I am not competent to comment on this issue, but as my mate is a devotee, I have heard him quoted at length and looked at the footnotes. As far as I can judge, he's a most respectable scholar, albeit with a definite polemical cant. Here, he's being interviewed by progressive author and Znet pundit, David Barsamian. As to the quote, I've always heard it attributed to The Who .

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singh
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posted 13 September 2002 04:45 PM      Profile for singh        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
lies with his thesis that the pre-contact indigenous population of North America was over 100,000,000.

This is a bogus figure -- there are not enough archeological sites to support his contention.


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Black Dog
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posted 13 September 2002 05:04 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
100 million or 100 thousand: there's no denying the "conquest of the New World" is one of the bloodiest and saddest chapters in human history.
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singh
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posted 13 September 2002 05:54 PM      Profile for singh        Edit/Delete Post
Just a question: why do you put "conquest of the New World" in quotation marks?
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Black Dog
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posted 13 September 2002 05:57 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Cause that's how it's often referred to: as a conquest (I guess I should've put just that part in quotes. Whatever). Ethnic cleansing would be the more appropriate term, I suspect.
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Apemantus
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posted 13 September 2002 05:58 PM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
And why not 'genocide'? Could that term not apply?
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Black Dog
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posted 13 September 2002 05:59 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
That too.
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singh
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posted 13 September 2002 06:08 PM      Profile for singh        Edit/Delete Post
What about when one first nations group annihilated another first nations group. Elaine Dewar's book "Bones" suggests this may have happened in pre-contact days. Were the natives, themselves, occasional ethnic-cleansers?
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Apemantus
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posted 13 September 2002 06:10 PM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
They may well have been - does that make it more acceptable then?
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singh
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posted 13 September 2002 06:14 PM      Profile for singh        Edit/Delete Post
Not at all, quite the contrary. Violence has been committed by most groups (perhaps not the Quakers), and must be stopped by all groups.
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Black Dog
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posted 13 September 2002 06:15 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't think anyone would attempt to romanticize pre-contact life here in north america. Inter-tribal wars were common place, as they are anywhere different groups clash over resources, territory, etc. But that doesn't make the systematic,total genocide perpatrated by the west any less horrible.
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singh
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posted 13 September 2002 06:19 PM      Profile for singh        Edit/Delete Post
But that's my point ... although the "West" could be held responsible for genocidal acts between 1492-1892 in North America, there is ample evidence that waves of migrants crossed the Berring Straits and annihilated existing groups that predated them. In other words, it just wasn't a case of big, bad West... the same thing happened from the East, too. Both very bad.
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Apemantus
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posted 13 September 2002 06:21 PM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
Well, the East has had their comeuppance, getting annihilated by the West, so when does the West get its' comeuppance?
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singh
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posted 13 September 2002 06:23 PM      Profile for singh        Edit/Delete Post
An eye for an eye just makes us all blind.
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Apemantus
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posted 13 September 2002 06:31 PM      Profile for Apemantus        Edit/Delete Post
Sorry, maybe comeuppance was the wrong word - when is the West gonna accept its guilt and pay for its crimes? Its not about revenge but rather about justice.
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Terry Johnson
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posted 13 September 2002 07:21 PM      Profile for Terry Johnson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But that doesn't make the systematic,total genocide perpatrated by the west any less horrible.

Europeans did commit genocide of some native American peoples. The extermination of the Beothuk and Carib Indians comes to mind. But for the most part, there was no systematic effort to exterminate the aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas.

The European powers did, at different times and in different places, set out to enslave, convert and assimilate native peoples. But the dramatic post-contact decline in native population was principally due to disease. In many cases--like that of the fur trading companies in the Canadian northwest, whose profits were based on healthy native populations--European interests were harmed by sudden depopulation.

European contact with the Americas, I'd say, proved deadliest not when the settlers had a native policy, but when their attitude towards native people was one of neglect. Neglect--turning a blind eye to the suffering of other peoples--is morally reprehensible. But it's not genocide.

I don't say this, BTW, to excuse or justify the harmful effects of European settlement. But as I've argued in other threads, I hate to see a good word--genocide--ruined by overuse.


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