Category Archives: Theories of imperialism

The Rise of German Imperialism and the Phony “Russian Threat”

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The Rise of German Imperialism and the Phony “Russian Threat”

By James Petras

December 08, 2014 “ICH” – The principle Nazi ideological prop that secured massive financial and political support from Germany’s leading industrialists was the Communist and Soviet threat.  The main Nazi military drive, absorbing two-thirds of its best troops, was directed eastward at conquering and destroying Russia.  The ‘Russian Threat’ justified Nazi Germany’s conquest and occupation of the Ukraine, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, with the aid of a substantial proportion of local Nazi collaborators.

After Germany’s defeat , division  and  disarmament, and with the extension of Soviet power,  the US reinstated the Nazi industrial and banking giants, officials and intelligence operatives. At first they were engaged in rebuilding their domestic economy and consolidating political power, in collaboration with the US military occupation forces.

By the late 1960’s Germany regained economic primacy in Europe and was at the forefront of European ‘integration’, in association with France and England. It soon came to dominate the principle decision – making institutions of the European Union(EU). The EU served as Germany’s instrument for conquest by stealth. Year by year, through ‘aid’ and low interest loans,the EU  facilitated German capitalist’s  market penetration and financial expansion,through out south and central Europe. Germany set the agenda for Western Europe, gaining economic dominance while benefiting from US subversion and encirclement of Eastern Europe, Russia and the Baltic and Balkan states.

Germany’s Great Leap Forward:  The Annexation of East Germany and the Demise of the USSR

Germany’s projection of power on a world scale would never have occurred if it had not annexed East Germany. Despite the West German claims of beneficence and ‘aid’ to the East, the Bonn regime secured several million skilled engineers, workers and technicians, the takeover of factories, productive farms and, most important, the Eastern European and Russian markets for industrial goods, worth  billions of dollars. Germany was transformed from an emerging influential EU partner, into the most dynamic expansionist power in Europe, especially in the former Warsaw Pact economies.

The annexation of East Germany and the overthrow of the Communist governments in the East allowed German capitalists to dominate markets in the former  Eastern bloc. As the major trading partner, it seized control of major industrial enterprises via corrupt privatizations decreed  by the newly installed pro-capitalist client regimes.  As the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgarian, the Baltic States “privatized” and “de-nationalized” strategic economic, trade, media and social service sectors, ‘unified’ Germany was able to resume a privileged place.  As Russia fell into the hands of gangsters, emerging oligarchs and political proxies of western capitalists, its entire industrial infrastructure was decimated and Russia was converted into a giant raw-material export region.

Germany converted its trade relations with Russia from one between equals into a ‘colonial’ pattern:  Germany exported high value industrial products and imported gas, oil and raw materials from Russia.

German power expanded exponentially, with the annexation of the “other Germany”, the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe and the ascendancy of client regimes eager and willing to submit to a German dominated European Union and a US directed NATO military command.

German political-economic expansion via ‘popular uprisings’, controlled by local political clients, was soon accompanied by a US led military offensive – sparked by separatist movements. Germany intervened in Yugoslavia, aiding and abetting separatists in Slovenia and Croatia .It backed the US-NATO bombing of Serbia and supported the far-right, self-styled Kosovo Liberation Army ( KLA),engaged in a terrorist war in  Kosovo .  Belgrade was defeated and regime change led to a neo-liberal client state.  The US built the largest military base in Europe in Kosovo. Montenegro and Macedonia became EU satellites.

While NATO expanded and enhanced the US military presence up to Russia’s borders, Germany became the continent’s pre-eminent economic power.

Germany and the New World Order

While President Bush and Clinton were heralding a “new world order”, based on  unipolar military supremacy, Germany advanced its new imperial order by exercising its  political and economic levers.  Each of the two power centers, Germany and the US, shared the common quest of rapidly incorporating the new capitalist regimes into their regional organizations –the European Union (EU) and NATO– and extending their reach globally. Given the reactionary origins and trajectory into vassalage of the Eastern, Baltic and Balkan regimes, and given their political fears of a popular reaction to the loss of employment, welfare and independence resulting from their implementation of savage neoliberal “shock policies”, the client rulers immediately “applied” for membership as subordinate members of the EU and NATO, trading sovereignty, markets and national ownership of the means of production for economic handouts and the ‘free’ movement of labor, an escape valve for the millions of newly unemployed workers.  German and English capital got millions of skilled immigrant workers at below labor market wages, and unimpeded access to markets and resources. The US secured NATO military bases, and recruited military forces for its Middle East and South Asian imperial wars.

US-German military and economic dominance in Europe was premised on retaining Russia as a weak quasi vassal state, and on the continued economic growth of their economies beyond the initial pillage of the ex-communist economies.

For the US, uncontested military supremacy throughout Europe was the springboard for near-time imperial expansion in the Middle East, South Asia, Africa and Latin America.  NATO was ‘internationalized’ into an offensive global military alliance: first in Somalia, Afghanistan then Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine.

The Rise of Russia, The Islamic Resistance and the New Cold War

During the ‘decade of infamy’ (1991-2000) extreme privatization measures by the client rulers in Russia on behalf of EU and US investors and gangster oligarchs, added up to vast pillage of the entire economy, public treasury and national patrimony.  The image and reality of a giant prostrate vassal state unable to pursue an independent foreign policy, and incapable of providing the minimum semblance of a modern functioning economy and maintaining the rule of law, became the defining view of Russia by the EU and the USA. Post-communist Russia, a failed state by any measure, was dubbed a “liberal democracy” by every western capitalist politician and so it was repeated by all their mass media acolytes.

The fortuitous rise of Vladimir Putin and the gradual replacement of some of the most egregious ‘sell-out’ neo-liberal officials, and most important, the reconstruction of the Russian state with a proper budget and functioning national institutions, was immediately perceived as a threat to US military supremacy and German economic expansion.  Russia’s transition from Western vassalage to regaining its status as a sovereign independent state set in motion, an aggressive counter-offensive by the US-EU. They financed a neo-liberal-oligarchy backed political opposition in an attempt to restore Russia to vassalage via street demonstrations and elections. Their efforts  to oust Putin and re-establish Western vassal state failed. What worked in 1991 with Yeltsin’s power grab against Gorbachev was ineffective against Putin. The vast majority of Russians did not want a return to the decade of infamy.

In the beginning of the new century, Putin and his team set new ground-rules, in which oligarchs could retain their illicit wealth and conglomerates, providing they didn’t use their economic levers to seize state power.  Secondly, Putin revived and restored the scientific technical, military, industrial and cultural institutions and centralized trade and investment decisions within a wide circle of public and private decision makers not beholden to Western policymakers.  Thirdly, he began to assess and rectify the breakdown of Russian security agencies particularly with regard to the threats emanating from Western sponsored ‘separatist’ movements in the Caucuses, especially, in Chechnya, and the onset of US backed ‘color revolutions’ in the Ukraine and Georgia.

At first, Putin optimistically assumed that, Russia being a capitalist state, and without any competing ideology, the normalization and stabilization of the Russian state would be welcomed by the US and the EU.  He even envisioned that they would accept Russia  as an economic, political, and even NATO partner.   Putin even made overtures to join and co-operate with NATO and the EU.  The West did not try to dissuade Putin of his illusions .In fact they encouraged him, even as they escalated their backing for Putin’s internal opposition and prepared a series of imperial wars and sanctions in the Middle East, targeting traditional Russian allies in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

As the ‘internal’ subversive strategy failed to dislodge President Putin, and the Russian state prevailed over the neo-vassals, the demonization of Putin became constant and shrill. The West moved decisively to an ‘outsider strategy’, to isolate, encircle and undermine the Russian state by undermining allies, and trading partners

US and Germany Confront Russia:  Manufacturing the “Russian Threat”

Russia was enticed to support US and NATO wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya in exchange for the promise of deeper integration into Western markets.  The US and EU accepted Russian co-operation, including military supply routes and bases, for their invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The NATO powers secured Russian support of sanctions against Iran. They exploited Russia’s naïve support of a “no fly zone” over Libya to launch a full scale aerial war. The US financed  so-called “color revolutions” in Georgia and the Ukraine  overt, a dress rehearsal for the putsch in 2014  Each violent seizure of power allowed NATO to impose anti-Russian rulers eager and willing to serve as vassal states to Germany and the US.

Germany spearheaded the European imperial advance in the Balkans and  Moldavia, countries with strong economic ties to Russia.  High German officials “visited” the Balkans to bolster their ties with vassal regimes in Slovenia, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Croatia.  Under German direction, the European Union ordered  the vassal Bulgarian regime of Boyko “the booby” Borisov to block the passage of  Russian owned South Stream pipeline to Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and beyond.  The Bulgarian state lost $400 million in annual revenue . . .  Germany and the US bankrolled pro-NATO and EU client politicians in Moldavia – securing the election of Iurie Leanca as Prime Minister.  As a result of Leanca’s slavish pursuit of EU vassalage, Moldavia lost $150 million in exports to Russia.  Leanca’s pro-EU policies go counter to the views of most Moldavians – 57% see Russia as the country’s most important economic partner.  Nearly 40% of the Moldavian working age population works in Russia and 25% of the Moldavians’ $8 billion GDP is accounted for by overseas remittances.

German and the US empire-builders steamroll over dissenting voices in Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia, as well as Moldova and Bulgaria, who’s economy and population suffer from the impositions of the blockade of  the Russian gas and oil pipeline.  But Germany’s, all out economic warfare against Russia takes precedent over the interests of its vassal states: its theirs to sacrifice for the ‘Greater Good’ of the emerging German economic empire and the US – NATO military encirclement of Russia. The extremely crude dictates of German imperial interests articulated through the EU, and the willingness of Balkan and Baltic regimes to sacrifice fundamental economic interests, are the best indicators of the emerging German empire in Europe.

Parallel to Germany’s rabid anti-Russian economic campaign, the US via NATO is engaged in a vast military build-up along the length and breadth of Russia’s frontier.  The US stooge, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg, boasts that over the current year, NATO has increased 5-fold the warplanes and bombers patrolling Russian maritime and land frontiers, carried out military exercises every two days and vastly increased the number of war ships in the Baltic and Black Sea.

Conclusion

What is absolutely clear is that the US and Germany want to return Russia to the vassalage status of the 1990’s.  They do not want ‘normal relations’. From the moment Putin moved to restore the Russian state and economy, the Western powers have engaged in a series of political and military interventions, eliminating Russian allies, trading partners and independent states.

The emergent of extremist, visceral anti-Russian regimes in Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania served as the forward shield for NATO advancement and German economic encroachment.  Hitler’s ‘dream’ of realizing the conquest of the East via unilateral military conquest has now under Prime Minister Merkel taken the form of conquest by stealth in Northern and Central Europe, by economic blackmail in the Balkans, and by violent putsches in the Ukraine and  Georgia.

The German economic ruling class is divided between the dominant pro-US sector that is willing to sacrifice lucrative trade with Russia today in hopes of dominating and pillaging the entire economy in a post-Putin Russia (dominated by ‘reborn Yeltsin clones’); and a minority industrial sector, which wants to end sanctions and return to normal economic relations with Russia.

Germany is fearful that its client rulers in the East, especially in the Balkans are vulnerable to a popular upheaval due to the economic sacrifices they impose on the population. Hence, Germany is wholly in favor of the new NATO rapid deployment force, ostensibly designed to counter a non-existent “Russian threat” but in reality to prop up faltering vassal regimes.

The ‘Russian Threat’, the ideology driving the US and German offensive throughout Europe and the Caucuses, is a replay of the same doctrine which Hitler used to secure support from domestic industrial bankers, conservatives and right wing overseas collaborators among extremists in Ukraine, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria.

The US-EU seizure of power via vassal political clients backed by corrupt oligarchs and Nazi street fighters in Ukraine detonated the current crisis. Ukraine power grab posed a top security threat to the very existence of Russia as an independent state.  After the Kiev take-over, NATO moved its stooge regime in Kiev forward to militarily eliminate the independent regions in the Southeast and seize the Crimea .thus totally eliminating Russia’s strategic position in the Black Sea. Russia the victim of the NATO power grab was labelled the “aggressor”. The entire officialdom and mass media echoed the Big Lie. Two decades of US NATO military advances on Russia’s borders and German-EU economic expansion into Russian markets were obfuscated.  Ukraine is the most important strategic military platform from which the US-NATO can launch an attack on the Russian heartland and the single largest market for Germany since the annexation of East Germany

The US and Germany see the Ukraine conquest as of extreme value in itself but also as the key to launching an all-out offensive to strangle Russia’s economy via sanctions and dumping oil and to militarily threaten Russia. The strategic goal is to reduce the Russian population to poverty and to re-activate the quasi-moribund opposition  to overthrow the Putin government and return Russia to permanent vassalage. The US and German imperial elite, looking beyond Russia, believe that if they control Russia, they can encircle ,isolate and attack China from the West as well as the East.

Wild-eyed fanatics they are not.  But as rabid proponents of a permanent war to end Russia’s presence in Europe and to undermine China’s emergence as a world power, they are willing to go to the brink of a nuclear war.

The ideological centerpiece of US-German imperial expansion and conquest in Europe and the Caucuses is the “Russian Threat”.  It is the touchstone defining adversaries and allies.  Countries that do not uphold sanctions are targeted.  The mass media repeat the lie.  The “Russian Threat” has become the war cry for cringing vassals – the phony justification for imposing frightful sacrifices to serve their imperial ‘padrones’ in Berlin and Washington –  fearing the rebellion of the ‘sacrificed’ population.  No doubt, under siege, Russia will be forced to make sacrifices.  The oligarchs will flee westward; the liberals will crawl under their beds.  But just as the Soviets turned the tide of war in Stalingrad, the Russian people, past the first two years of a bootstrap operation will survive, thrive and become once again a beacon of hope to all  people looking to get from under the tyranny of US-NATO militarism and German-EU economic dictates.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

IMF and Third World governments: A relationship of coercion or collusion ?

IMF and Third World governments:
A relationship of coercion or collusion ?

By Elias Davidsson


One faces a hard choice in attributing responsibility for the consequences of IMF induced programmes.

Is it correct to attribute to the IMF the “imposition” of such policies on countries ? To which extent do the leaders of recipient countries voluntary implement IMF-induced policies ?

IMF officials maintain that countries’ leaders are not “coerced” into implementing the recommended policies. While it is true that countries’ leaders face hard choices between pursuing IMF policies (unpopular with the popular masses) and pursuing alternative policies (which might alienate the business community, internal and external), the choice is nevertheless theirs.

IMF officials can therefore claim that they are not in any way “responsible” for the consequences ensuing from their recommended policies. If such policies are causing hardship to certain sectors of society, it is the country’s government which ultimately bears the responsibility for having chosen such path among a set of alternatives, as well as for having brought the country to such a situation.

Progressive people typically blame the IMF for “imposing” its policies on poor countries, implying that the governments of recipient countries are victims of unbearable pressure. Sometimes critics concede that some collusion exists between governments and the IMF but the consequences of such collusion, in terms of a viable counter-strategy and in terms of assigning responsibility, are seldom spelled out. In spite of the occasional awareness of collusion, the thrust of the critique continues to be levelled at the IMF, its officials and its backers.

It must be noted that while the IMF is often blamed for “imposing” conditions on countries, no evidence is ever presented to substantiate the coercive nature of the relationship. We should distinguish between legitimate pressure and outright coercion. Governments are constantly subject to various kinds of pressure, by constituencies, lobbies, legal constraints and foreign governments. Pressure is thus a legitimate means of influencing a government. The government, acting under various pressures, ultimately choses what to do, taking the various pressures into account. Coercion refers to pressure which by its nature and extent, does not leave a choice. It is more akin to terror than to legitimate pressure. Are governments coerced by the IMF ?

Countries’ leaders accepting to implement IMF “medicine” do not act under the threat of a gun. No IMF official is guiding their hand when they sign legislation to abolish food subsidies or privatize state enterprises. And there is no evidence that the IMF is systematically bribing countries’ leaders in order to obtain their subservience. Typically, a government would send to the IMF a “letter of intent”, detailing its plans of economic adjustment and recovery. The IMF would then determine whether these plans are commensurable with its own agenda and doctrine and if it does, it would disburse funds to the requesting government to help it pursue the planned economic reform.
We do not need here to address the nature of such policies, as this subject is extensively treated in literature. The IMF is without question one of the main governance tools of the international capitalist class, the aim of which is certainly to maintain the privileges and rule of world elites. What concerns us here is only one question: Does the relationship between the IMF and the governments of Third World countries is one of coercion or of collusion ?

At a less formal level “letters of intents” are certainly formulated in close collaboration between a country’s senior officials and the IMF advisors. What happens at these closed meetings ? Is there some arm-twisting going on behind closed doors ? And if so, how does this arm-twisting manifests itself ? Little is known about this aspect. What is known however, is that government officials, including those of central banks and finance ministries, typically share the same economic doctrine as IMF officials: They share with their IMF guests a typically top-down approach to governance, free-market ideology as well as a high salaries. Often we discover that the government officials participating in negotiations with the IMF, are themselves former IMF employees or have been trained in liberal economics at Western universities.

Thus, it is difficult to sustain the claim that the IMF “imposes” its terms on countries or “coerces” governments to impose unpopular policies.

There are fundamental implications to be drawn, depending whether one considers the IMF “imposing” or “coercing” its policies on poor countries or whether one considers countries’ governments as carrying voluntarily IMF policies, acting more or less as willing and paid “agents” of the world’s ruling elite.

If it is claimed that the IMF does “coerce” countries by some hidden weapons (which must be produced as evidence), and that the recipient governments act under what might amount to “duress” or are plainly bribed, the inescapable conclusion would be that the IMF bears the main or full responsibility for the consequences of its imposed policies, including those leading to poverty, disease and death. Such conclusions would warrant concerted efforts to either reform the IMF, abolish it, transfer its prerogatives to the United Nations, demand reparation to be paid by the IMF and its backers to the victims and punish IMF officials for criminal acts.

In the case however that no coercion (as distinct from legitimate pressure) can be shown to have taken place, the term “collusion” between the IMF and the government of the recipient country would be more apt to describe the relationship.

That governments typically attempt to dispel the perception of “collusion” by using anti-IMF rhetoric in public. It would after all undermine governments’ legitimacy to be seen as engaging in collusive practices with international institutions, the foreseeable consequences of which are harmful to these governments’ popular constituencies. Thus, the mere reference to an anti-IMF rhetoric by a government does not necessarily indicate that it tried as hard as it could to resist inequitable demands by the IMF. The IMF has no difficulties to defend itself against charges of arm-twisting by pointing to the “letter of intent” duly and voluntarily signed by a public leader of a recipient government.
What approach is there for the millions of victims of IMF-induced policies, duly carried out by sovereign governments ?

The widely shared approach by progressive individuals and organisations is IMF-bashing. This is the easiest way. It ensures mobilization. And such a rhetoric is even acceptable to some Third-World governments, as it increases their bargaining leverage. But are we thereby unwittingly protecting the lieutnants of world capitalism by feigning that they are victims of the generals or acting under “orders from above” ?

If we conclude that the IMF and its lieutnants in member states do in fact collude in maintaining the majority of the world’s people in poverty, in other words that practically all governments more or less collude with the principal centers of world capitalism, thus participating collectively in maintaining peoples under the heel, what strategies should be pursued for global justice ? How should we relate to institutions such as the United Nations ? Are campaigns to reform it an exercise in futility ? Have we reached the point where all governments must be considered,prima facie, as agents of international capitalism to be resisted and combatted, or do some governments genuinely represent popular needs and a progressive agenda, ready to lead international struggle for a better world ?

Failing to address the above questions, strategies for global justice will remain ambivalent and therefore ineffective.

Elias Davidsson, Iceland
7. Oct. 1999

The Imperial System: Hierarchy, Networks and Clients. The Case of Somalia

Intoduction: The imperial system is much more complex than what is commonly referred to as the "US Empire". The US Empire, with its vast network of financial investments, military bases, multi-national corporations and client states, is the single most important component of the global imperial system. Nevertheless, it is overly simplistic to overlook the complex hierarchies, networks, follower states and clients that define the contemporary imperial system. To understand empire and imperialism today requires us to look at the complex and changing system of imperial stratification.
The Imperial System: Hierarchy, Networks and Clients
The Case of Somalia


James Petras
February 8, 2007

Introduction:

The imperial system is much more complex than what is commonly referred to as the "US Empire". The US Empire, with its vast network of financial investments, military bases, multi-national corporations and client states, is the single most important component of the global imperial system (1). Nevertheless, it is overly simplistic to overlook the complex hierarchies, networks, follower states and clients that define the contemporary imperial system (2). To understand empire and imperialism today requires us to look at the complex and changing system of imperial stratification.

Hierarchy of Empire
The structure of power of the world imperial system can best be understood through a classification of countries according to their political, economic, diplomatic and military organization. The following is a schema of this system:

I. Hierarchy of Empire (from top to bottom)

A. Central Imperial States (CIS)
B. Newly Emerging Imperial Powers (NEIP)
C. Semi-autonomous Client Regimes (SACR)
D. Client Collaborator Regimes (CCR)

II. Independent States:

A. Revolutionary

Cuba and Venezuela

B. Nationalist

Sudan, Iran, Zimbabwe, North Korea

III. Contested Terrain and Regimes in Transition

Armed resistance, elected regimes, social movements

At the top of the imperial system are those imperial states whose power is projected on a world scale, whose ruling classes dominate investment and financial markets and who penetrate the economies of the rest of the world. At the apex of the imperial system stand the US, the European Union (itself highly stratified) and Japan. Led by the US they have established networks of 'follower imperial states' (largely regional hegemons) and client or vassal states which frequently act as surrogate military forces. Imperial states act in concert to break down barriers to penetration and takeovers, while at the same time, competing to gain advantages for their own state and multinational interests.

Just below the central imperial states are newly emerging imperial powers (NEIP), namely China, India, Canada, Russia and Australia. The NEIP states are subject to imperial penetration, as well as expanding into neighboring and overseas underdeveloped states and countries rich in extractive resources. The NEIP are linked to the central imperial states (CIS) through joint ventures in their home states, while they increasingly compete for control over extractive resources in the underdeveloped countries. They frequently 'follow' in the footsteps of the imperial powers, and in some cases take advantage of conflicts to better their own position.

For example China and India's overseas expansion focuses on investments in extractive mineral and energy sectors to fuel domestic industrialization, similar to the earlier (1880-1950's) imperial practices of the US and Europe. Similarly China invests in African countries, which are in conflict with the US and EU, just as the US developed ties with anti-colonial regimes (Algeria, Kenya and Francophone Africa) in conflict with their former European colonial rulers in the 1950' and 1960's.

Further down the hierarchy of the imperial system are the 'semi-autonomous client regimes' (SACR). These include Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Chile and lately Bolivia. These states have a substantial national economic base of support, through public or private ownership of key economic sectors. They are governed by regimes, which pursue diversified markets, though highly dependent on exports to the emerging imperial states. On the other hand these states are highly dependent on imperial state military protection (Taiwan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia) and provide regional military bases for imperial operations. Many are resource-dependent exporters (Saudi Arabia, Chile, Nigeria and Bolivia) who share revenues and profits with the multi-nationals of the imperial states. They include rapidly industrialized countries (Taiwan and South Korea), as well as relatively agro-mineral export states (Brazil, Argentina and Chile).

The wealthy oil states have close ties with the financial ruling classes of the imperial countries and invest heavily in real estate, financial instruments and Treasury notes which finance the deficits in the US and England.

On key issues such as imperial wars in the Middle East, the invasion of Haiti, destabilizing regimes in Africa, support for global neo-liberal policies and imperial takeovers of strategic sectors, they collaborate with rulers from the CIS and the NEIP. Nevertheless, because of powerful elite interests and in some cases of powerful national social movements, they come into limited conflicts with the imperial powers. For example, Brazil, Chile and Argentina disagree with the US efforts to undermine the nationalist Venezuelan government. They have lucrative trade, energy and investment relations with Venezuela. In addition they do not wish to legitimize military coups, which might threaten their own rule and legitimacy in the eyes of an electorate partial to President Chavez. While structurally deeply integrated into the imperial system, the SACR regimes retain a degree of autonomy in formulating foreign and domestic policy, which may even conflict or compete with imperial interests.

Despite their 'relative autonomy', the regimes also provide military and political mercenaries to serve the imperialist countries. This is best illustrated in the case of Haiti. Subsequent to the US invasion and overthrow of the elected Aristide Government in 2004, the US succeeded in securing an occupation force from its outright client and 'semi-autonomous' client regimes. President Lula of Brazil sent a major contingent. A Brazilian General headed the entire mercenary military force. Chile's Gabriel Valdez headed the United Nations occupation administration as the senior official overseeing the bloody repression of Haitian resistance movements. Other 'semi-autonomous' clients, such as Uruguay and Bolivia, added military contingents along with soldiers from client regimes such as Panama, Paraguay, Colombia and Peru. President Evo Morales justified Bolivia's continued military collaboration with the US in Haiti under his presidency by citing its 'peacekeeping role', knowing full well that between December 2006 and February 2007 scores of Haitian poor were slaughtered during a full-scale UN invasion of Haiti's poorest and most densely populated slums.

The key theoretical point is that given Washington current state of being tied down in two wars in the Middle East and West Asia, it depends on its clients to police and repress anti-imperialist movements elsewhere. Somalia, as in Haiti, was invaded by mercenaries by Ethiopia, trained, financed, armed and directed by US military advisers. Subsequently, during the occupation, Washington succeeded in securing its African clients (via the so-called Organization of African Unity according to the White House's stooge, Ugandan Army spokesman Captain Paddy Ankunda) to send a mercenary occupation army to prop up its unpopular client Somali warlord ruler. Despite opposition from its Parliament, Uganda is sending 1500 mercenaries along with contingents from Nigeria, Burundi, Ghana and Malawi.

At the bottom of the imperial hierarchy are the client collaborator regimes (CCR). These include Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf States, Central American and Caribbean Island states, the Axis of Sub-Saharan States (ASS) (namely Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Ghana), Colombia, Peru, Paraguay, Mexico, Eastern European states (in and out of the European Union), former states of the USSR (Georgia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Latvia, etc), Philippines, Indonesia, North Africa and Pakistan. These countries are governed by authoritarian political elites dependent on the imperial or NEIP states for arms, financing and political support. They provide vast opportunities for exploitation and export of raw materials. Unlike the SACR, exports from client regimes have little value added, as industrial processing of raw materials takes place in the imperial countries, particularly in the NEIP. Predator, rentier, comprador and kleptocratic elites who lack any entrepreneurial vocation rule the CCR. They frequently provide mercenary soldiers to service imperial countries intervening, conquering, occupying and imposing client regimes in imperial targeted countries. The client regimes thus are subordinate collaborators of the imperial powers in the plunder of wealth, the exploitation of billions of workers and the displacement of peasants and destruction of the environment.

The structure of the imperial system is based on the power of ruling classes to exercise and project state and market power, retain control of exploitative class relations at home and abroad and to organize mercenary armies from among its client states. Led and directed by imperial officials, mercenary armies collaborate in destroying autonomous popular, nationalist movements and independent states. Client regimes form a crucial link in sustaining the imperial powers. They complement imperial occupation forces, facilitating the extraction of raw materials. Without the 'mercenaries of color' the imperial powers would have to extend and over-stretch their own military forces, provoking high levels of internal opposition, and heightening overseas resistance to overt wars of re-colonization. Moreover client mercenaries are less costly in terms of financing and reduce the loss of imperial soldiers. There are numerous euphemistic terms used to describe these client mercenary forces: United Nations, Organization of American States and Organization of African Unity 'peacekeepers', the 'Coalition of the Willing' among others. In many cases a few white imperial senior officers command the lower officers and soldiers of color of the client mercenary armies.

Independent States and Movements

The imperial system while it straddles the globe and penetrates deeply into societies, economies and states is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Challenges to the imperial system come from two sources: relatively independent states and powerful social and political movements.

The 'independent' states are largely regimes, which are in opposition to and targeted by the imperial states. They include Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Zimbabwe. What defines these regimes as 'independent' is their willingness to reject the policies of the imperial powers, particularly imperial military interventions. They also reject imperialist demands for unconditional access to markets, resources and military bases. These regimes differ widely in terms of social policy, degree of popular support, secular-religious identities, economic development and consistency in opposing imperialist aggression. All face immediate military threats and /or destabilization programs, designed to replace the independent governments with client regimes.

Contested Terrain

The imperial hierarchy and networks are based on class and national relations of power. This means that the maintenance of the entire system is based on the ruling classes dominating the underlying population – a very problematical situation given the unequal distribution of costs and benefits between the rulers and the ruled. Today massive armed resistance and social movements in numerous countries challenge the imperial system. Contested terrain includes: Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, Palestine, Sudan and Lebanon where armed resistance is intent on defeating imperial clients. Sites of mass confrontations include Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Iran where the imperial powers are intent on overthrowing newly elected independent regimes. Large scale social movements organized to combat client regimes and the imperial patrons have recently emerged in Mexico, Palestine, Lebanon, China, Ecuador and elsewhere. Inside the imperial states there is mass opposition to particular imperial wars and policies, but only small and weak anti-imperialist movements.

The Anomaly: Israel in the Imperial System

Israel is clearly a colonialist power, with the fourth or fifth biggest nuclear arsenal and the second biggest arms exporter in the world. Its population size, territorial spread and economy however are puny in comparison with the imperial and newly emerging imperial powers. Despite these limitations Israel exercises supreme power in influencing the direction of United States war policy in the Middle East via a powerful Zionist political apparatus, which permeates the State, the mass media, elite economic sectors and civil society (3a). Through Israel's direct political influence in making US foreign policy, as well as through its overseas military collaboration with dictatorial imperial client regimes, Israel can be considered part of the imperial power configuration despite its demographic constraints, its near universal pariah diplomatic status, and its externally sustained economy.

Regimes in Transition

The imperial system is highly asymmetrical, in constant disequilibrium and therefore in constant flux – as wars, class and national struggles break out and economic crises bring down regimes and raise new political forces to power. In recent times we have seen the rapid conversion of Russia from a world hegemonic contender (prior to 1989), converted into an imperial client state subject to unprecedented pillage (1991-1999) to its current position as a newly emerging imperial state. While Russia is one of the most dramatic cases of rapid and profound changes in the world imperialist system, other historical experiences exemplify the importance of political and social changes in shaping countries' relationship to the world imperial system. China and Vietnam, former bulwarks as independent, anti-imperialist states, have seen the rise of liberal-capitalist elites, the dismantling of the socialized economy and China's incorporation as a newly emerging imperialist power and Vietnam as a semi-autonomous client regime. The major transitions during the 1980's – 1990's involved the conversion of independent anti-imperialist states into imperial client regimes. In the Western hemisphere, these transitions include Nicaragua, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Jamaica and Grenada. In Africa, they include Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Algeria, Ethiopia and Libya, all converted into kleptocratic client regimes. In Asia similar processes are afoot in Indo-China. Because of the disastrous consequences of imperial-centered policies administered by client regimes, the first decade of the new millennium witnessed a series of massive popular upheavals and regime changes, especially in Latin America. Popular insurrections in Argentina and Bolivia led to regime shifts from client to semi-autonomous clients. In Venezuela after a failed coup and destabilization campaign, the Chavez regime moved decisively from semi-autonomous client to an independent anti-imperialist position. Ongoing conflicts between imperial and anti-imperialist states, between client regimes and nationalist movements, between imperial and newly emerging imperial states, will change the structure of the imperial system. The outcomes of these conflicts will produce new coalitions among the principal forces, which compose the imperial hierarchy and its adversaries. What is clear from this account is that there is no singular omnipotent 'imperial state' that unilaterally defines the international or even the imperial system.

Even the most powerful imperial state has proven incapable of unilaterally (or with clients or imperial partners) defeating or even containing the popular anti-colonial resistance in Iraq or Afghanistan. The major imperial political successes have occurred where the imperial states have been able to activate the military forces of semi-autonomous and client regimes, secure a regional (OAS, OAU and NATO) or UN cover to legitimate its conquests. Collaborator elites from the client and semi-autonomous states are essential links to the maintenance and consolidation of the imperial system and in particular the US empire. A specific case is the US', intervention and overthrow of the Somali Islamic regime.

The Case of Somalia: Black Masks – White Faces

The recent Ethiopian invasion of Somalia (December 2006) and overthrow of the de-facto governing Islamic Courts Union (ICU)or Supreme Council of Islamic Courts and imposition of a self-styled 'transitional government' of warlords is an excellent case study of the centrality of collaborator regimes in sustaining and expanding the US empire.

From 1991 with the overthrow of the government of Siad Barre until the middle of 2006, Somalia was ravaged by conflicts between feuding warlords based in clan-controlled fiefdoms (3).

During the US/UN invasion and temporary occupation of Mogadishu in the mid-1990's there were massacres of over 10,000 Somali civilians and the killing and wounding of a few dozen US/UN soldiers (4). During the lawless 1990's small local groups, whose leaders later made up the ICU, began organizing community-based organizations against warlord depredations. Based on its success in building community-based movements, which cut across tribal and clan allegiances; the ICU began to eject the corrupt warlords ending extortion payments imposed on businesses and households (5). In June 2006 this loose coalition of Islamic clerics, jurists, workers, security forces and traders drove the most powerful warlords out of the capital, Mogadishu. The ICU gained widespread support among a multitude of market venders and trades people. In the total absence of anything resembling a government, the ICU began to provide security, the rule of law and protection of households and property against criminal predators (6). An extensive network of social welfare centers and programs, health clinics, soup kitchens and primary schools, were set up serving large numbers of refugees, displaced peasants and the urban poor. This enhanced popular support for the ICU.

After having driven the last of the warlords from Mogadishu and most of the countryside, the ICU established a de-facto government, which was recognized and welcomed by the great majority of Somalis and covered over 90% of the population (7a). All accounts, even those hostile to the ICU, pointed out that the Somali people welcomed the end of warlord rule and the establishment of law and order under the ICU.

The basis of the popular support for the Islam Courts during its short rule (from June to December 2006) rested on several factors. The ICU was a relatively honest administration, which ended warlord corruption and extortion. Personal safety and property were protected, ending arbitrary seizures and kidnappings by warlords and their armed thugs. The ICU is a broad multi-tendency movement that includes moderates and radical Islamists, civilian politicians and armed fighters, liberals and populists, electoralists and authoritarians (7). Most important, the Courts succeeded in unifying the country and creating some semblance of nationhood, overcoming clan fragmentation. In the process of unifying the country, the Islamic Courts government re-affirmed Somali sovereignty and opposition to US imperialist intervention in the Middle East and particularly in the Horn of Africa via its Ethiopian client regime.

US Intervention: The United Nations, Military Occupation, Warlords and Proxies

The recent history of US efforts to incorporate Somalia into its network of African client states began during the early 1990's under President Clinton (8). While most commentators today rightly refer to Bush as an obsessive war-monger for his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, they forget that President Clinton, in his time, engaged in several overlapping and sequential acts of war in Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Yugoslavia. Clinton's military actions and the embargoes killed and maimed thousands of Somalis, resulted in 500,000 deaths among Iraqi children alone and caused thousands of civilian deaths and injuries in the Balkans. Clinton ordered the destruction of Sudan's main pharmaceutical plant producing vital vaccines and drugs essential for both humans and their livestock leading to a critical shortage of these essential vaccines and treatments (9). President Clinton dispatched thousands of US troops to Somalia to occupy the country under the guise of a 'humanitarian mission' in 1994 (10). Washington intervened to bolster its favored pliant war-lord against another, against the advice of the Italian commanders of the UN troops in Somalia. Two-dozen US troops were killed in a botched assassination attempt and furious residents paraded their mutilated bodies in the streets of the Somali capital. Washington sent helicopter gunships, which shelled heavily, populated areas of Mogadishu, killing and maiming thousands of civilians in retaliation.

The US was ultimately forced to withdraw its soldiers as Congressional and public opinion turned overwhelmingly against Clinton's messy little war. The United Nations, which no longed needed to provide a cover for US intervention, also withdrew. Clinton's policy turned toward securing one subset of client warlords against the others, a policy which continued under the Bush Administration. The current 'President' of the US puppet regime, dubbed the 'Transitional Federal Government', is Abdullahi Yusuf. He is a veteran warlord deeply involved in all of the corrupt and lawless depredations which characterized Somalia between 1991 to 2006 (12). Yusuf had been President of the self-styled autonomous Puntland breakaway state in the 1990's.

Despite US and Ethiopian financial backing, Abdullahi Yusuf and his warlord associates were finally driven out of Mogadishu in June 2006 and out of the entire south central part of the country. Yusuf was holed up and cornered in a single provincial town on the Ethiopian border and lacked any social basis of support even from most of the remaining warlord clans in the capital (13). Some warlords had withdrawn their support of Yusuf and accepted the ICU's offers to disarm and integrate into Somali society underscoring the fact that Washington's discredited and isolated puppet was no longer a real political or military factor in Somalia. Nevertheless, Washington secured a UN Security Council resolution recognizing the warlord's tiny enclave of Baidoa as the legitimate government. This was despite the fact that the TFG's very existence depended on a contingent of several hundred Ethiopian mercenaries financed by the US. As the ICU troops moved westward to oust Yusuf from his border outpost – comprising less than 5% of the country – the US increased its funding for the dictatorial regime of Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia to invade Somalia (14). Despite the setbacks, scores of US military advisers prepared the Ethiopian mercenaries for a large-scale air and ground invasion of Somalia in order to re-impose their puppet-warlord Yusuf. Meles Zenawi, the Ethiopian dictator, depends heavily on US military and police weaponry, loans and advisors to retain power for his ethnic 'Tigrayan' based regime and to hold onto disputed Somali territory. The Tigrayan ethnic group represents less than 10% of the Ethiopian multi-ethnic population. Meles faced growing armed opposition form the Oromo and Ogandese liberation movements (15). His regime was despised by the influential Amhara population in the capital for rigging the election in May 2005, for killing 200 student protesters in October 2006 and jailing tens of thousands (16). Many military officials opposed him for engaging in a losing border war with Eritrea. Meles, lacking popular backing, has become the US most loyal and subservient client in the region. Embarrassingly parroting Washington's imperial 'anti-terrorist' rhetoric for his attack on Somalia, Meles sent over 15,000 troops, hundreds of armored vehicles, dozens of helicopters and warplanes into Somalia (17). Claiming that he was engaged in the 'war against terrorism' Meles terrorized the people of Somalia with aerial bombardment and a scorched earth policy. In the name of 'national security' Meles sent his troops to the rescue of the encircled war lord and US puppet, Abdullahi Yusuf.

Washington co-coordinated its air and naval forces with the advance of the invading Ethiopian military juggernaut. As the US advised-Ethiopian mercenaries advanced by land, the US air force bombed fleeing Somalis killing scores, supposedly in hunting 'Al Queda; sympathizers (18). According to reliable reports, which were confirmed later by US and Somali puppet sources, US and Somali military forces have failed to identify a single Al Queda leader after examining scores of dead and captured fighters and refugees (19). Once again the pretext to invade Somalia used by Washington and its Ethiopian client – that the ICU was attacked because it sheltered Al Queda terrorists – was demonstrated to be false. US naval forces illegally interdicted all ships off the coast of Somalia in pursuit of fleeing Somali leaders. In Kenya, Washington directed its Nairobi client to capture and return Somalis crossing the border. Under Washington's direction both the United Nations and the Organization of African 'Unity' (sic) agreed to send an occupation army of 'peace-keepers' to protect the Ethiopian imposed puppet Yusuf regime.

Given Meles precarious internal position, he could not afford to keep his occupying army of 15,000 mercenaries in Somalia for long (20). Somali hatred for the Ethiopian occupiers surged from the first day they entered Mogadishu. There were massive demonstrations on a daily basis and increasing incidents of armed resistance from the re-grouped ICU fighters, local militants and anti-Yusuf warlords (21). The US directed Ethiopian occupation was followed in its wake by the return of the same warlords who had pillaged the country between 1991-2005 (22). Most journalists, experts and independent observers recognize that without the presence of 'outside' support – namely the presence of at least 10,000 US and EU financed African mercenaries ('peacekeepers') the Yusuf regime will collapse in a matter of days if not hours. Washington counts on an informal coalition of African clients – a kind of 'Association of Sub-Saharan Stooges' (ASS) – to repress the mass unrest of the Somali population and to prevent the return of the popular Islamic Courts. The United Nations declared it would not send an occupation army until the 'ASS' military contingents of the Organization of African Unity had 'pacified the country (23).

The ASS, however willing their client rulers in offering mercenary troops to do the bidding of Washington, found it difficult to actually send troops. Since it was transparently a 'made-in-Washington' operation it was unpopular at home and likely to set ASS forces against growing Somali national resistance. Even Uganda's Yoweri Musevent, Washington's subservient client, encountered resistance among his 'loyal' rubber-stamp congress (24). The rest of the ASS countries refused to move their troops, until the EU and US put the money up front and the Ethiopians secured the country for them. Facing passive opposition from the great majority of Somalis and active militant resistance from the Courts, the Ethiopian dictator began to withdraw his mercenary troops. Washington, recognizing that its Somali puppet, 'President Yusuf', is totally isolated and discredited, sought to co-opt the most conservative among the Islamic Court leaders (25). Yusuf, ever fearful of losing his fragile hold on power, refused to comply with Washington's tactic of splitting the ICU.

The Somali Invasion: the Empire and its Networks

The Somali case illustrates the importance of client rulers, warlords, clans and other collaborators as the first line of defense of strategic geo-political positions for extending and defending the US empire. The Somali experience underlines the importance of the intervention by regional and client rulers of neighboring states in defense of the empire. Client regimes and collaborator elites greatly lower the political and economic cost of maintaining the outposts of empire. This is especially the case given the overextension of US ground forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and in their impending confrontation with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Given the 'over-extension' of the US ground forces, the empire relies on air and sea assaults combined with regional mercenary ground forces to oust an independent regime with popular backing.

Without the Ethiopian invasion, the puppet Somali warlord Abdullahi Yusuf would have been easily driven out of Somalia, the country unified and Washington would no longer control the coastal areas facing a major maritime oil transport route. The loss of a Somali puppet regime would have deprived Washington of a coastal platform for threatening Sudan and Eritrea.

From a practical perspective however, Washington's strategic plans for control over the Horn of Africa are deeply flawed. To secure maximum control over Somali, the White House chose to back a deeply detested veteran warlord with no social base in the country and dependent on discredited warring clans and criminal warlords. Isolated and discredited puppet rulers are a fragile thread on which to construct strategic policies of regional intervention (military bases and advisory missions). Secondly Washington chose to use a neighboring country (Ethiopia) hated by the entire Somali population to prop up its Somali puppet. Ethiopia had attacked Somali as late as 1979 over the independence of Ogadan, whose population is close to Somalis. Washington relied on the invading army of a regime in Addis Ababa, which was facing increasing popular and national unrest and was clearly incapable of sustaining a prolonged occupation. Finally, Washington counted on verbal assurances from the ASS regimes to promptly send troops to protect its re-installed client. Client regimes always tell their imperial masters what they want to hear even if they are incapable of prompt and full compliance. This is especially the case when clients fear internal opposition and prolonged costly overseas entanglements, which further discredit them.

The Somali experience demonstrates the gap between the empire's strategic projection of power and its actual capacity to realize its goals. It also exemplifies how imperialists, impressed by the number of clients, their 'paper' commitments and servile behavior, fail to recognize their strategic weakness in the face of popular national liberation movements.

US empire building efforts in the Horn of Africa, especially in Somalia, demonstrate that even with elite collaborators and client regimes, mercenary armies and ASS regional allies, the empire encounters great difficulty in containing or defeating popular national liberation movements. The failure of the Clinton policy of intervention in Somalia between 1993-1994 demonstrated this.

The human and economic cost of prolonged military invasions with ground troops has repeatedly driven the US public to demand withdrawal (and even accept defeat) as was proven in Korea, Indochina and increasingly in Iraq.

Financial and diplomatic support, including UN Security Council decisions, and military advisory teams are not sufficient to establish stable client regimes. The precariousness of the mercenary-imposed Yusuf warlord dictatorship demonstrates the limits of US sponsored UN fiats.

The Somali experience in failed empire-building reveals another even darker side of imperialism: A policy of 'rule or ruin'. The Clinton regime's failure to conquer Somalia was followed by a policy of playing off one brutal warlord against another, terrorizing the population, destroying the country and its economy until the ascent of the Islamic Courts Union. The 'rule or ruin' policy is currently in play in Iraq and Afghanistan and will come into force with the impending Israeli-backed US air and sea attack on Iran.

The origins of 'rule or ruin' policies are rooted in the fact that conquests by imperial armies do not result in stable, legitimate and popular regimes. Originating as products of imperial conquest, these client regimes are unstable and depend on foreign armies to sustain them. Foreign occupation and the accompanying wars on nationalist movements provoke mass opposition. Mass resistance results in imperial repression targeting entire populations and infrastructure. The inability to establish a stable occupation and client regime leads inevitable to imperial rulers deciding to scorch the entire country with the after thought that a weak and destroyed adversary is a consolation for a lost imperial war.

Faced with the rise of Islamic and secular anti-imperialist movements and states in Africa and possessing numerous client regimes in North Africa and the ASS grouping, Washington is establishing a US military command for Africa. The Africa Command will serve to tighten Washington's control over African military forces and expedite their dispatch to repress independence movements or to overthrow anti-imperialist regimes. Given the expanded, highly competitive presence of Chinese traders, investors and aid programs, Washington is bolstering its reliable allies among the African client elites and generals (26).

James Petras' latest book is The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press: Atlanta). His articles in English can be found at the website – www.petras.lahaine.org and in Spanish at – www.rebellion.org.

Footnotes

1. Petras, James and Morris Morley. Empire or Republic (NY: Routledge, 1995); Petras, J. and M. Morley: "The Role of the Imperial State" in US Hegemony Under Siege (London" Verso Books 1990).

2. Petras, James and Morris Morley. "The US imperial State" in James Petras et al Class State and Power in the Third World (Allanheld, Osmin: Montclair NJ, 1981).

3. (3A) see Petras, James The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity: Atlanta 2006)

3. see Andrew England "Spectre of Rival Clans Returns to Mogadishu", Financial Times (London), )December 29, 2006 p.3)

4. Financial Times January 22, 2007 p.12.

5. Financial Times December 29, 2006 p.3.

6. William Church: "Somalia: CIA Blowback Weakens East Africa" Sudan Tribune Feb 2, 2007.

7. (7A) The Transitional government was restricted to Baldoa, a small town and its survival depended on Addis Abbaba. Financial Times December 29, 2006 p.3

7. Financial Times January 31, 2007 p.2.

8. Stephan Shalom "Gravy Train: Feeding the Pentagon by Feeding Somalia" Z Magazine February 1993.

9. Clinton claimed the pharmaceutical plant was producing biological and chemical weapons – a story which was refuted by scientific investigators.

10. Shalom ibid.

11. Mark Bowden Black Hawk Down (Signet: New York 2002)

12. FT December 31, 2006 p.2

13. FT January 5, 2007 p. 4

14. William Church ibid.

15. "Somalia" Another War Made in the USA" interview with Mohamed Hassan (Michel.Collon@skynet.be)

16. ibid

17. FT January 5, 2007 p.5; FT December 29, 2006 p. 3

18. BBC News "US Somali Air Strikes 'Kill Many'", January 9, 2007; aljazeera.net "US Launches Air Strikes on Somalia" January 9, 2007

19. FT February 5, 2007 p.5 "…there has been no confirmation yet of targeted al-Queda suspects according to Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian Prime Minister."

20. aljazeera.net January 23, 2007; BBC News "More Ethiopians to Quit Somalia" January 28, 2007.

21. aljazeera.net December 29, 2006; aljazeera.net January 6, 2007; BBC News January 26, 2007; Aljazeere.net January 28, 2007, aljazeera.net February 11, 2007

22. "Looting and shooting broke out as soon as the Islamic fighters left the crumbling capital as militias loyal to the local clans moved on to the streets." FT December 29, 2006

23. BBC News January 25, 2007; BBC January 30, 2007; BBC January 5, 2007/

24. People's Daily Online "Ugandan Parliament halts bid to rush deployment of peacekeepers to Somalia". February 2, 2007

25. Financial Times January 26, 2007 p.6

26. aljazeera.net February 7, 2007


The Rediscovery of Imperialism

The Rediscovery of Imperialism
by John Bellamy Foster
Monthly Review, November 2002 

This essay was originally written as the introduction to Essays on Imperialism and Globalization by Harry Magdoff, forthcoming from Cornerstone Publications in India.

The concept of “imperialism? was considered outside the acceptable range of political discourse within the ruling circles of the capitalist world for most of the twentieth century. Reference to “imperialism? during the Vietnam War, no matter how realistic, was almost always a sign that the writer was on the left side of the political spectrum. In a 1971 foreword to the U.S. edition of Pierre Jal