Tag Archives | Imperialism

A Tear for Africa: Abduction and Reduction

Photo: Nasa (PD)

From Maximilian Forte of Zero Anthropology, A photo and text essay examining the intersection of western hegemony and humanitarianism.

Helpless, pleading, wanting, needing, small, weak, staring at you, black–this is the anti-bogeyman invented by Western humanitarianism, what passes as morality in the ideology of empire (yet again). Past the time of a London Missionary Society, we now have the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the moral dogma of a white, western elite that projects its abusive notion of “protection” everywhere it is not wanted. Hence we have the “smug self-congratulation” marking Obama’s “Atrocity Prevention Board” and empowering the U.S. to undertake global police work. Part of a long history of casting wars as “humanitarian,” the “moral compass” of Western imperialism has an appropriately nautical sound in this commercial that declares the U.S. Navy to be “a force for global good” (nautical or extraterrestrial perhaps: the images are inspired by the opening of Star Wars, and the narration echoes Darth Vader).

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Self-Hatred vs. Self-Love: An Interview with Eric Walberg

Postmodern ImperialismGilad Atzmon writes on Media With Conscience:

Two weeks ago I published a review of Eric Walberg’s invaluable new book Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games. I was left with a few questions which Eric was kind enough to address.

Gilad Atzmon:  Hello Eric; thanks for finding the time to talk. I would like to begin if I may, with a few short questions: firstly, what is self-hatred?

Eric Walberg: Buddhism is based on the annihilation of the self. Islam – on the total submission of self. It’s at the heart of Christian beliefs too. (I don’t know about Judaism.)  Self-hatred has respectable roots.

GA: I totally agree with you. However, I wonder, are you a self-hater? I ask because in your writing, you seem to be deeply familiar with that kind of intellectual adventure.

EW: In some way, I like Woody Allen’s riposte “I may be self-hating but not because I’m a Jew.” 
The self is constantly prompting us to do terrible things, so a bit of self-criticism is not such a bad trait.

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Christopher Hitchens Vs. Noam Chomsky on Osama Bin Laden

Hitchens Photo: Trockennasenaffe (CC) / Chomsky Photo: Duncan Rawlinson (CC)

Hitchens Photo: Trockennasenaffe (CC) / Chomsky Photo: Duncan Rawlinson (CC)

Christopher Hitchens takes issue with Noam Chomsky’s recent Guernica article in Slate:

Anybody visiting the Middle East in the last decade has had the experience: meeting the hoarse and aggressive person who first denies that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center and then proceeds to describe the attack as a justified vengeance for decades of American imperialism.

This cognitive dissonance — to give it a polite designation — does not always take that precise form. Sometimes the same person who hails the bravery of al-Qaida’s martyrs also believes that the Jews planned the “operation.” As far as I know, only leading British “Truther” David Shayler, a former intelligence agent who also announced his own divinity, has denied that the events of Sept. 11, 2001, took place at all. (It was apparently by means of a hologram that the widespread delusion was created on television.)

In his recent article for Guernica magazine, however, professor Noam Chomsky decides to leave that central question open.

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The Human Agency of Revolution

FistScholar Tarak Barkawi argues revolutions are caused by human agency; not telecommunications technologies, in Al Jazeera:

To listen to the hype about social networking websites and the Egyptian revolution, one would think it was Silicon Valley and not the Egyptian people who overthrew Mubarak.

Via its technologies, the West imagines itself to have been the real agent in the uprising. Since the internet developed out of a US Defense Department research project, it could be said the Pentagon did it, along with Egyptian youth imitating wired hipsters from London and Los Angeles.

Most narratives of globalisation are fantastically Eurocentric, stories of Western white men burdened with responsibility for interconnecting the world, by colonising it, providing it with economic theories and finance, and inventing communications technologies. Of course globalisation is about flows of people as well, about diasporas and cultural fusion.

But neither version is particularly useful for organising resistance to the local dictatorship.

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Juan Cole: Libya Is Not Iraq

liyaIs the bombing of Libya Obama’s Iraq redux? Informed Comment says no, laying out the factors that make the Libyan intervention ethical, non-imperialist, and fundamentally different from Bush’s 2003 invasion. Convincing or not?

On the surface, the situation in Libya a week and a half ago posed a contradiction between two key principles of Left politics: supporting the ordinary people and opposing foreign domination of them. Libya’s workers and townspeople had risen up to overthrow the dictator in city after city. Even in the capital of Tripoli, working-class neighborhoods such as Suq al-Jumah and Tajoura had chased out the secret police. In the two weeks after February 17, there was little or no sign of the protesters being armed or engaging in violence.

Then Muammar Qaddafi’s sons rallied his armored brigades and air force to bomb the civilian crowds and shoot tank shells into them. Members of the Transitional Government Council in Benghazi estimate that 8000 were killed as Qaddafi’s forces attacked and subdued Zawiya, Zuara, Ra’s Lanuf, Brega, Ajdabiya, and the working class districts of Tripoli itself, using live ammunition fired into defenseless rallies.

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The American Military’s New Fiefdom: Egypt

With the American military as its greatest benefactor, the Egyptian military has assumed control of the day-to-day functions of government, but which direction will this force take and who under whose auspices are members of the Egyptian military operating?

FMF funds totalled 1.8 B in FY 2009, who do you think is in charge?

FMF funds totalled 1.8 B in FY 2009, who do you think is in charge?

Is this move towards military rule a remnant of the previous administration’s new domino theory in the middle east or the first decisive step in the new administration’s new “plan” for the region? The Project for the New American Century spent many years strong-arming an already pliant Bush administration into increasing military aid to regions like the middle east, but only to regimes it could “work with“.

Consider this excerpt from diplomatic cables addressed to a General Schwartz from 2009:

Your visit will fall on the anniversary of the April 6, 2008 nation-wide strike protesting political and economic conditions.

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Ex-Canadian Defense Minister Says Aliens Have Visited Earth: Hawking Is Wrong About Them

CTV News reports:
Live Long and Prosper

Stephen Hawking’s warnings of an alien invasion have prompted a vigorous defence of extraterrestrials by their most prominent Canadian fan. Former federal defence minister Paul Hellyer, 86, believes not only that aliens have visited Earth but also that they have contributed greatly to human technological advances.

So he can’t quite understand why the world renowned astrophysicist views them with such trepidation; Hawking recently warned that malevolent aliens could lead to the destruction of humanity.

The longtime cabinet minister accuses Hawking of spreading misinformation about extraterrestrials.

“I think he’s indulging in some pretty scary talk there that I would have hoped would not come from someone with such an established stature,” Hellyer said in an interview.

“I think it’s really sad that a scientist of his repute would contribute to what I would consider more misinformation about a vast and very important subject.”

Hawking speculates in a new documentary that most extraterrestrial life will be similar to microbes, or small animals — but he adds that advanced life forms may be “nomads, looking to conquer and colonize” new planets.

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