26
Aug
08

Imperialism Reloaded: Media Roundup

One of the purposes of this collection is to highlight the increased recognition of the renewed validity and utility of the concept of imperialism as underscored in a range of media. Only extracts of each item are featured below (click on the titles to read the complete items). Even support for African slavery makes a comeback in some mainstream media, in the Caribbean itself of all places. Also included is the lead item on Islamophobia within the “Democratic” Party and the Obama campaign itself. Five stars appear above every item I strongly recommend.

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*****
The Only Good Muslim Is the Anti-Muslim

by M. Junaid Levesque-Alam
Dissident Voice
August 25th, 2008

For some, Barack Obama’s stature as a man of the left has fallen precipitously, like late autumn leaves shed by branches bowing to the will of winter.

Disappointment has often been self-inflicted. Supporters have dipped their pens deeply into the inkwell of Obama’s inspiring story and written their own lines on Afghanistan, oil drilling, or the death penalty – only to see these wishful words unceremoniously erased by presidential politics or the senator’s own views.

But for American Muslims and progressive allies, both eager to see an end to the vilification of Arabs and Muslims in the United States, Obama’s mantra of hope and change barely set in before it expired.

First we witnessed the embarrassing spectacle of micro-level ethnic cleansing when two Arab women with headscarves were whisked offstage ahead of a campaign photo-op in Detroit. Then we heard Obama call false claims about his purportedly Muslim identity “smears” – as if he was accused not of belonging to an Abrahamic faith observed by more than 1.2 billion people, but of slinking out of Congress to visit a brothel. Soon after we saw the senator genuflect before AIPAC and call for a permanently Israeli Jerusalem – a vision the Jewish state has assiduously tried to realize by macro-level ethnic cleansing, purging its Arab residents.

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Slavery was good for the black man
Michael Dingwall
The Jamaica Observer
Saturday, August 09, 2008

Have we ever stopped to consider where we black people, especially those of us in the West, would be right now if it weren’t for the Atlantic Slave Trade? What state do you think black Africa would be in today? Do you think that we would have been better off without slavery? I don’t think so!

When the Europeans went to Africa to buy slaves, what did they find? They found a society and people vastly inferior to theirs. While the Europeans had emerged from their feudal practices, our ancestors in Africa, for the most part, had not developed for many centuries. We did not understand the concept of nation or government. Science and technology (and innovations in these areas) were non-existent in black Africa of the 15th and 16th centuries. Indeed, as a people, we had no sense of self-identity. In many respects, we were uncivilised.

Slavery was our most important contact with modernity. It is through this “most heinous system ever created” that we blacks were able to understand some of the principles of global trade. Our ancestors were introduced to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade between Europe, Africa and the West Indies. Black Africa’s part in the trade was the importation of European technology and the export of slaves. The importation of European technology was important – even though the Africans did not appreciate this importance at first. The export of slaves was also very important, especially for us in the West.

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UN warns of food ‘neo-colonialism’
By Javier Blas in London
Financial Times
Published: August 20 2008

The race by food-importing countries to secure farmland overseas to improve their food security risks creating a “neo-colonial” system, the United Nations’ top agriculture official has cautioned.

The warning by Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, comes as countries from Saudi Arabia to China plan to lease vast tracts of land in Africa and Asia to grow crops and ship them back to their markets.

“The risk is of creating a neo-colonial pact for the provision of non-value-added raw materials in the producing countries and unacceptable work conditions for agricultural workers,” Mr Diouf said.

Financial investors and food companies were also looking to invest in overseas farmland, raising some concerns, officials said.

The pursuit of foreign farm investments is the latest sign of how the global food crisis, which has seen record prices for commodities such as wheat and rice, is reshaping the politics of agriculture.

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Paris Declaration on aid a form of collective colonialism by donors
by Yash Tandon
Business Daily
August 1, 2008

At first glance, the Paris Declaration (PD) looks benign. It recognises faults of the present system, and sets out sensible principles. Why, then, are the developing countries not all that excited? Many have signed on to the PD, but apparently without fully analysing the implications of its proposals.

Meanwhile, awareness is growing among both civil-society and government actors in the developing world that not all that glitters about the PD is gold, and that underlying the declaration could be another agenda not readily transparent at first reading.

Roberto Bissio of “Social Watch” wrote the most critical assessment so far; and he did so on assignment from the UN Human Rights Council’s High-Level Task Force on the Implementation of the Right to Development. Lack of adequate UN involvement is only one serious problem . Others include dubious criteria for measuring performance, governance and related issues.

The PD’s performance conditionalities are defined by the donors in conjunction with the World Bank. If “recipient” countries do not perform, they are subject to penalties. If “donor” countries do not perform, there is no penalty. In normal business transactions, both sides of a deal run risks.

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House speaker: globalization gives rise to “new-style colonialism”
ANTARA
August 16, 2008.

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR-RI) Speaker Agung Laksono said he was concerned that globalization in many aspects of the people`s life had led to the emergence of a “new-style colonialism” in the political, economic and cultural fields.

The impact of globalization had harmed the interest and sovereignty of developing countries, he said in his address at the Parliament`s plenary session prior to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s State-of-the Nation Address here on Friday.

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Rwanda’s Kagame says ICC targeting poor, African countries
AFP
Jul 31, 2008

KIGALI (AFP) – Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday dismissed the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a new form of imperialism created by the West to control the world’s poorest countries.

The court “has been put in place only for African countries, only for poor countries,” Kagame told reporters in his monthly briefing.

“Every year that passes, I am proved right,” he added. “Rwanda cannot be part of that colonialism, slavery and imperialism.”

Kagame was referring to the ICC prosecutor’s call for an arrest warrant to be served on Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir on war crimes charges over the conflict in Darfur, where Rwanda has some 2,600 peacekeepers.

The African Union and the Arab League have urged the UN Security Council to defer the decision.

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Rwanda accuses France over 1994 genocide
Arthur Asiimwe
The Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
Kigali, Rwanda
Aug 05 2008

Rwanda formally accused senior French officials on Tuesday of involvement in its 1994 genocide and called for them to be put on trial.

Among those named in a report by a Rwandan investigation commission were former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin and late president Francois Mitterrand.

Kigali has previously accused Paris of covering up its role in training troops and militia who carried out massacres that killed about 800 000 people, and of propping up the ethnic Hutu leaders who orchestrated the slaughter.

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International court wrong on Bashir indictment
Stephen Asiimwe
The New Vision (Uganda)
Tuesday, 5th August, 2008

The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, risks causing more problems to the victims of the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region. His application for an indictment against Sudan’s President Omar el-Bashir undermines the prospects for peace in Sudan. The indictment would damage the political processes in Sudan and also put the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the South at risk.

Although the Sudan government may have committed crimes, they do not match those committed by Nazi Germany. Addressing the Security Council on June 5, Ocampo spoke of a vast single crime scene where “the entire Sudanese State apparatus has been organised to physically and mentally destroy entire communities.” One wonders whether the Security Council does not understand what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are there no communities in the two countries?

Not all leaders of the most industrialised nations (G8) would be safe if the ICC was to move against everybody who is responsible for human rights violations. However, the G8 leaders would not allow any of them to be indicted because that precedent would put all of them in danger. Although Bashir cannot exonerate himself to the satisfaction of the super powers that he is not responsible for human rights violations in Darfur, the ICC is guilty of exaggeration and hypocrisy. Why should the court target tyrants of small states and leave the leaders of the super powers as if their hands are clean?

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Zimbabwe: Thank You for Defeating Imperialism, Voters Told
The Herald (Harare)
Published by the government of Zimbabwe
3 July 2008

ACTING President Cde Joice Mujuru yesterday said Zimbabweans had – by voting for President Mugabe in the presidential run-off – sent a strong message to the agents of regime change that they wanted to defend their independence, sovereignty, land and defeat imperialism.

Addressing mourners at the National Heroes’ Acre in Harare during the burial of Zimbabwe’s late ambassador to Sudan, Cde Lloyd Gundu, the Acting President said voting for the opposition would have meant “selling our birthright and our heritage through the stroke of a pen”.

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*****
Bill Moyers’ Journal: Transcript of Conversation with Professor Andrew Bacevich, retired colonel

August 15, 2008

The limits of American power have never been more vividly on display. That’s the subject of my conversation this week with Andrew J. Bacevich. Here is a public thinker who has been able to find an audience across the political spectrum, from THE NATION or THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE magazines, lecturing to college classes or testifying before Congress.

Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who’s in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.

Perhaps it’s also because when he challenges American myths and illusions, he does so from a patriotism forged in the fire of experience as a soldier in Vietnam.

After 23 years in the Army, the West Point graduate retired as a colonel and has been teaching international relations and history at Boston University. Bacevich has published several acclaimed books, including this one, THE NEW AMERICAN MILITARISM. His latest, published this week, is THE LIMITS OF POWER: THE END OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM.

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*****
The Long War: How Many Iraqs and Afghanistans Lie Ahead?
By Andrew Bacevich
Tomdispatch.com
Posted August 14, 2008

All you really need to know is that, at Robert Gates’s Pentagon, they’re still high on the term “the Long War.” It’s a phrase that first crept into our official vocabulary back in 2002, but was popularized by CENTCOM commander John Abizaid, in 2004 — already a fairly long(-war-)time ago. Now, Secretary of Defense Gates himself is plugging the term, as he did in April at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, quoting no less an authority than Leon Trotsky:

“What has been called the Long War is likely to be many years of persistent, engaged combat all around the world in differing degrees of size and intensity. This generational campaign cannot be wished away or put on a timetable. There are no exit strategies. To paraphrase the Bolshevik Leon Trotsky, we may not be interested in the Long War, but the Long War is interested in us.”

The Long War has also made it front and center in the new “national defense strategy,” which is essentially a call to prepare for a future of two, three, many Afghanistans. (“For the foreseeable future, winning the Long War against violent extremist movements will be the central objective of the U.S.”) If you thought for a moment that in the next presidency some portion of those many billions of dollars now being sucked into the black holes of Iraq and Afghanistan was about to go into rebuilding American infrastructure or some other frivolous task, think again. Just read between the lines of that new national defense strategy document where funding for future conventional wars against “rising powers” is to be maintained, while funding for “irregular warfare” is to rise. The Pentagonization of the U.S., in other words, shows no sign of slowing down.

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BIZARRO IMPERIALISM: How it works, and who profits
Justin Raimondo
AntiWar.com
August 22, 2008

The US-Iraqi “status of forces” agreement has been months in the making, and today [Thursday] we are told that it’s “almost” ready – but not quite. So what’s the problem? Well, there are a few bones of contention between the “liberators” and the “liberated,” the first being how long US forces will stay, and the second being the terms under which they will essentially continue their occupation. What this increasingly contentious issue between the Americans and the Iraqis reveals and underscores is just how far down the road to empire the US has traveled.

What is becoming readily apparent, even to this administration, is that the Americans are no longer wanted by any of the Iraqi factions: not the Sunnis, who hated us from the beginning, not the Shi’ites, who soon learned to hate us, and not even the Kurds, formerly our trusted compradors in the region and now sullenly resentful at having had their anti-Turkish campaign reined in by a joint effort of US and Iraqi forces.

The battlelines in our endless “war on terrorism” are shifting eastward, away from Iraq – where we’re being pushed out by the Iraqis, and their Iranian allies – and toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Obama wants thousands more US soldiers sent to the Afghan front, and certainly our reverses in that theater aren’t being publicized as widely as the alleged “success” of the surge. I’ll leave it to Michael Scheuer to explain why the bones of so many empires are buried in those hills: suffice to say that the Democrats’ Afghan adventurism is bound to be just as successful – and involve just as many if not more casualties and other costs – as the conflict in Iraq. The alleged rationale for it is also exactly the same: we’re fighting al Qaeda, the destroyers of the twin towers! The only answer to that is: it’s a little late for that, now isn’t it?

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NATO: A Tool Of U.S. Imperialism
By Ghali Hassan
25 August, 2008
Countercurrents.org

NATO has become part of the U.S. military. Instead of dismantling the once defence alliance, the U.S. pushed to enlarge NATO and expand its boundaries. The U.S. has lured most European nations, including former Warsaw Pact members, the so-called “New Europe”, to join its military. Poland, Hungry and the Czech Republic joined in 1999; Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuanian, Estonia, Slovakia and Romania in 2004, others are waiting in line. Becoming a NATO member proves to be a profit bonanza for U.S.-Israeli weapon industries and arm dealers. All new recruits into NATO are obliged to increase their “defence” budgets to modernise and enlarge their military arsenals at the expense of vital public services.

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*****

AND FOR THOSE WHO MADE IT TO THE END OF THIS POST…A CARTOON:

Howard Zinn — A People’s History of the American Empire

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