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Colonialism is reviving as a policy toward less-developed countries


Western hegemony has long been the foundation of imperialism

Tunde Obadina (staff director), “The Myth of Neocolonialism,” Africa Business Information Services, January 23, 2008. Online: www.afbis.com/analysis/neo-colonialism.html; accessed May 15, 2008

“Virtually every nation in the world, whether colonised or not, has had to deal with western hegemony. Antonio Gramsci defined hegemony as an order in which a certain way of life and thought is dominant and one concept of reality prevails throughout society. The dominant ideology permeates every facet of human existence — taste, morality, customs, religious and political principles. Since the nineteenth century the West has defined human development and set the pace of change which others have followed. The West has not imposed its will on the world by force but by the sheer attractiveness of its civilisation and the belief in the desirability of material progress and prosperity. It is able get people in other nations to desire what it desires and thereby manipulates their aspirations. This is the bedrock of imperialism. It is what enables it to control and use the resources of underdeveloped nations in a manner advantageous to the developed nations and at the expense of the economies of underdeveloped countries.”


The United States became a colonial power in the 20th century

Eric A. Posner (Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law, Univ. of Chicago Law School), “The Limits of Limits,” The New Republic, May 27, 2010, p. 37

“All this changed in the twentieth century. As a great power with foreign interests, the United States sought to assert regulatory authority globally. Antitrust laws, drug laws, anti-terrorism laws, and many other laws now were applied to foreigners on foreign territory as long as their behavior had an effect in the United States (and sometimes not even then). These laws established a new pattern: the United States would in effect rule, or at least burden foreign populations, not as subject populations in colonies like in the Philippines, but simply by enacting extraterritorial law that penetrated the borders of the supposedly sovereign states that they inhabited. Foreign countries, including America’s closest allies, complained bitterly about these infringements on their sovereignty, but to no avail. Their corporations had to yield to American law in order to retain access to American markets.”


The colonial urge has revived in a new form

Leong Yew (Research Fellow, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore), Neocolonialism, May 14, 2002. Online: www.usp.nus.edu.sg/post/poldiscourse/neocolonialism1.html, accessed May 15, 2008

“One common argument among postcolonial intellectuals is that it is too simplistic to say that imperialism has ended and that this occurred when the European empires relinquished their colonies during the few decades after the second world war. The use of the term, neocolonialism, is one such manifestation of this ongoing nature of imperialism. Yet it is in itself extremely contentious because it is multifaceted and loosely used, is often used as a synonym for contemporary forms of imperialism, and in a polemical way is used in reaction to any unjust and oppressive expression of Western political power. Lying underneath all these various meanings of neocolonialism is a tacit understanding that colonialism should be seen as something more than the formal occupation and control of territories by a Western metropole. Hence while formal methods of control like the implementation of administrative structures, the stationing of military forces, and most importantly the incorporation of the natives as subjects of the metropolitan government, neocolonialism suggests an indirect form of control through economic and cultural dependence. In this case neocolonialism describes the continued control of former colonies through ruling native elites compliant with neocolonial powers, populations that are exploited for their labour and resources in order to feed an insatiable appetite for finished physical or cultural commodities made by the metropole.”


The nature of economic relations between nations perpetuates colonialism

Leong Yew (Research Fellow, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore), Neocolonialism, May 14, 2002. Online: www.usp.nus.edu.sg/post/poldiscourse/neocolonialism1.html, accessed May 15, 2008

“At issue in development and dependency theory is the difficulty for the Third World states in escaping from the Western notion of development. Classification, economic growth, the ways economic output is measured, and the progressive linear model of development have been so deeply entrenched that neocolonized states have no other recourse but to be part of that system. Consequently dependency theorists depict a world made up of developmental inequities, noting that metropolitan centres, in seeking to be even more developed, ‘under-develop’ the peripheries through trade exploitation. More recently critical development theory goes beyond its predecessor because the notion of neocolonial actions in the periphery cannot be so easily explained, especially with the economic successes of Asia. In this regard ‘development’ can no longer be theorized in purely economic terms but has to incorporate other dimensions like culture, gender, society and politics as well. In variations of critical development theory like post-development theory, Young asserts that there has been a movement towards ‘popular development.’ This is the empowerment of usually non-governmental, civil actors to address fundamental human needs, hence an emphasis on sustainable development, ‘self-reliance,’ and ‘cultural pluralism and rights.’”


The U.S. now uses economic leverage to enable its colonialism

Eric A. Posner (Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law, Univ. of Chicago Law School), “The Limits of Limits,” The New Republic, May 27, 2010, p. 39

“As the twentieth century progressed, Americans realized that the economic benefits of colonialism could be obtained through free-trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties, and that the military benefits could be secured through base agreements and military alliances. In extremis, small countries that were tempted away from the fold by hostile powers could be undermined internally or invaded, their governments replaced by people friendlier to the Americans — a costly and unpleasant business that was nonetheless a far cry from colonial administration. By the time of the Cold War, this new system was firmly in place. The new system created a new legal landscape, which was very different from conventional imperialism involving territorial conquest. The Insular Cases could be regarded as dead letters, as constitutional aberrations. The new type of imperialism, if that is what it was — in which the United States offered aid and security in return for bases, constructed international trade and financial institutions that served American economic interests, and otherwise propped up allies while subverting adversaries — did not require territorial acquisition and colonial administration.”


Economic colonialism avoids the headaches of administering an empire

Eric A. Posner (Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law, Univ. of Chicago Law School), “The Limits of Limits,” The New Republic, May 27, 2010, p. 40

“If the American government extends its power abroad by conquering territory and absorbing populations, it must confront the question of whether those people now live ‘in’ the United States and should have the rights of citizens; but if the government extends its power by offering aid and assistance to some countries and threatening others with sanctions and invasions, so as to obtain the identical economic and security benefits, the citizenship issue does not arise. The people in the affected territories remain foreigners, and thus not entitled to participation in our government. From a constitutional perspective, the problem of American power over foreigners simply vanished.”


Other nations recognize U.S. colonialism for what it is

Eric A. Posner (Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law, Univ. of Chicago Law School), “The Limits of Limits,” The New Republic, May 27, 2010, p. 40

“Curiously, Americans do not seem to be bothered by this violation of the principle of self-rule: we can neglect the world as long as we appease the Founders. But foreigners do not wear our constitutional blinders. For many foreign critics, the American rejection of territorial conquest as ‘imperialism,’ while accomplishing the same ends in less visible and constitutionally awkward ways, is hypocrisy. This is the domain of The Quiet American and other literary blasts against American power — and a large new scholarly literature on American empire.”


The less-developed nations become intellectual clients of the Great Powers

Rajiv Malhotra (president, The Infinity Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic and educational organization), The Axis of Neocolonialism, July 10, 2002. Online: rajivmalhotra.sulekha.com/blog/post/2002/07/the-axis-of-neocolonialism.htm, accessed May 15, 2008

“A people without their own representation system, in a worst case scenario, get reduced to being intellectual consumers looking up to the dominant culture. In the best case scenario, they could become intellectual producers, but only within the representation system as defined and controlled by the dominant culture, such as has happened recently with many Indian writers in English.”


Less-developed nations remain the serfs of wealthy nations

Tunde Obadina (staff director), “The Myth of Neocolonialism,” Africa Business Information Services, January 23, 2008. Online: www.afbis.com/analysis/neo-colonialism.html; accessed May 15, 2008

“At the 1961 All-African People’s Conference held in Cairo neo-colonialism was defined as ‘the survival of the colonial system in spite of the formal recognition of political independence in emerging countries which become the victims of an indirect and subtle form of domination by political, economic, social, military or technical means.’ The implication is that western powers still control African nations whose rulers are either willing puppets or involuntary subordinate of these powers. The main economic theories supporting the neo-colonialism concept come from the dependency school developed in the late 1950s by Marxist economists who initially focused on Latin America. According to them poor countries are satellites of developed nations because their economies were structured to serve international capitalism. The natural resources of the satellites are exploited for use in the centre. The means of production are owned by foreign corporations who employ various means to transfer profits out of the country rather than invest them in the local economy. So what these countries experience is the ‘development of underdevelopment’ .The unequal relations between developed and underdeveloped countries make economic progress impossible for the latter until they break economic links with international capitalism.”


Whatever benefits colonialism brought, it imposed greater sacrifices on Africa

Tunde Obadina (staff director), “The Myth of Neocolonialism,” Africa Business Information Services, January 23, 2008. Online: www.afbis.com/analysis/neo-colonialism.html; accessed May 15, 2008

“Whatever may have been its pluses and minuses, colonialism was a dictatorial regime that denied peoples’ right of self determination. It brought death, pain and humiliation to millions of its victims. The notion that colonialism was a civilising mission is a myth — the system was propelled by Europe’s economic and political self- interest. However, to meet their economic and administrative needs colonial powers built some infrastructure, like railway to carry export commodities, and they educated a few Africans to help them run the colonies. But nowhere in Africa were positive contributions made to any substantial extent.”


Colonialism breeds political crises

Tunde Obadina (staff director), “The Myth of Neocolonialism,” Africa Business Information Services, January 23, 2008. Online: www.afbis.com/analysis/neo-colonialism.html; accessed May 15, 2008

“In disrupting pre-colonial political systems that worked for Africans and imposing alien models, colonialism laid the seeds of political crisis, say its critics. By redrawing of the map of Africa, throwing diverse people together without consideration for established borders, ethnic conflicts were created that are now destabilising the continent. The new nation-states were artificial and many were too small to be viable. Fewer than a third of the countries in Africa have populations of more than 10 million. Nigeria, the major exception to this, was imbued with ingredients for its self-destruction. Western multi-party democracy imposed by colonial powers polarised African societies. ‘It was the introduction of party politics by colonial administration that set off the fire of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria,’ wrote one Itodo Ojobo in the New Nigerian newspaper in 1986.”


Colonialism is evil because it denies freedom

Richard Just (staff managing editor), “Evils and Excuses,” The New Republic, September 9, 2009, p. 34

“For Mamdani, colonialism seems to be just a matter of one continent involving itself too heavily in the affairs of another continent — a jurisdictional abuse. But what was it that made colonialism so vile, so repugnant? Surely the essence of colonialism was the denial of freedom. The provenance matters less than the crime. If you read accounts of the savageries that attended European ventures into Africa, and then read accounts of what has taken place these past few years in Darfur, you will be struck by the similarities between them. It is no coincidence that the historian M.W. Daly has described post-independence governments in Khartoum as governing Darfur by ‘internal colonialism.’ And this phenomenon is not unique to Sudan. Today many African tyrants treat their people with the same contempt Europeans once did. Is it a consolation for the victims that their oppression does not come from the West?”


Colonialism tramples human rights

Kofi Ankomah (Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration), “Colonialism and Neocolonialism,” Human Nature Review, Volume 3 (2003), p. 331

“One is made to feel that human rights have been the most important idea that has evolved and applied in Western thinking from time immemorial. Unfortunately, Western praxis does not support such a claim. The story has been told but perhaps needs telling again: How, by Western colonialism, the majority of the world’s people came to live in intolerable poverty and in absolute and relative deprivation. In addition, under colonialism, the majority of natives around the globe were subjected to inhuman treatment, whilst the people of the West behaved as if human rights did not exist in their vocabulary. Resistance to colonial oppression was met with more oppression and the natives took on the responsibility to fight the oppression with all the means available to them. They realized that unless they fought to liberate themselves from the intensity of oppression, no discourse on man’s inhumanity to man would disarm the oppressors.”


Modernization is not necessarily good

Tunde Obadina (staff director), “The Myth of Neocolonialism,” Africa Business Information Services, January 23, 2008. Online: www.afbis.com/analysis/neo-colonialism.html; accessed May 15, 2008

“It is, of course, a presumption that modernisation is desirable. The fact that western society is more complex than traditional African society does not necessarily mean that it is better. Complexity does not equal human progress. Pre-colonial African societies were materially less developed than societies in other regions of the world, but they were no less balanced and self-contained than any elsewhere. Africans were no less happy or felt less accomplished than Europeans or Japanese. Who is to say whether people living in agrarian societies are less developed as human beings than inhabitants of industrialised ones?”


Modern neocolonialism is worse the old, overt form

Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972; prime minister and president of Ghana and a founder of the pan-Africanist movement), as quoted in Neocolonialism by Leong Yew, May 14, 2002. Online: www.usp.nus.edu.sg/post/poldiscourse/neocolonialism1.html, accessed May 15, 2008

“Neo-colonialism is... the worst form of imperialism. For those who practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it means exploitation without redress. In the days of old-fashioned colonialism, the imperial power had at least to explain and justify at home the actions it was taking abroad. In the colony those who served the ruling imperial power could at least look to its protection against any violent move by their opponents. With neo-colonialism neither is the case.” [Ellipsis in original text]


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