Imperial Ambitions


“Neoliberal capitalism isn’t just about the accumulation of capital (for some).  It’s also about the accumulation of power (for some), the accumulation of freedom (for some).  Conversely, for the rest of the world, the people who are excluded from neoliberalism’s governing body, it’s about the erosion of capital, the erosion of power, the erosion of freedom.”  Thus wrote Arundhati Roy in her introduction to the 2003 edition of Noam Chomsky’s book, For Reasons of State. [emphasis in original]

“From Kabul in October 2001 to Tripoli in October 2011, a decade of unremitting planetary warfare has seen countries devastated and capitals occupied over a vast swathe of territory from the Hindu Kush to the northern end of Africa’s Mediterranean coast,” writes Aijaz Ahmad in the latest issue of the Frontline.

The American Empire is spreading its tentacles far and wide.  Since the World War II, America has attacked Korea, Guatemala, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Libya. Moreover, America has supported Israel’s attacks in many Arab territories.  The Empire has also succeeded in colonising the economy of many a nation.

Aijaz Ahmad’s article quotes Barack Obama’s reaction to the killing of Qaddafi: “we are seeing the strength of the American leadership across the world.” 

American leadership across the world

The vice-president of the country that has ordained itself the “world leader,” Joe Biden, said about the fall of Tripoli: “In this case, America spent $2 billion and didn’t lose a single life.  This is more of the prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward than it has been in the past.”

Was no life lost in Libya in the NATO bombings?  NATO carried out more than 26,000 bombing missions in Libya in which about 50,000 Libyans lost their lives.  Then what does Biden mean by saying that not a single life was lost?  Not a single American life was lost!  Only American lives matter.  Please read again Arundhati Roy’s words quoted in the beginning of this blog. 

Ahmad’s article also shows that it is not only America that is harbouring imperial ambitions now.  Many European nations have such ambitions.  In a 2007 speech, the current French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, glorified the imperial dreams of people like Charlemagne and the Christian Crusaders before going on to assert that “Europe is today the only force capable of carrying forward a project of civilisation.”  The human civilisation is going to be taken over by Europe?

Another French politician, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, expressed his desire for a Europe stretching “from the cold ice of the Arctic in the North to the hot sands of the Sahara in the South.” 

China has its own imperial ambitions.  The Islamic outfits have their own.  Many of these powers are supposedly trying to save the human civilisation.  But greed for power and wealth has not saved any civilisation.


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5 Responses to Imperial Ambitions

  1. Sunil Deepak says:

    I know that history is a poor consolation but it shows that every time empires have thought that they have become invincible and become arrogant, they sow the seeds of their own destruction. I think that the question is would mankind learn from the history and aim for empires of different kind, that don’t need to follow the cycle of rise and fall?

  2. Raghuram Ekambaram says:

    Sorry matheikal, the answer to the swing is not to stop the swing; rather make such swings enjoyable! for all …

    That is, get out of the zero-sum game that Arundati validates and I do not. It is in the reckoning of freedom the solution lies. We have to unsubscribe to the dominant idea of what freedom is. Development as freedom has a nice ring to it.


  3. Arti says:

    Well penned down article. Countries need not meddle with others affairs unless it affects them directly…
    But what happened in Libiya and even Iraq was little necessary, I guess…
    Thought provoking post, nevertheless.

    • matheikal says:

      Arti, this way anything can be justified. America should correct its own mistakes first. All interferences by countries can be really justified only when the intentions are right. America’s intentions are far from being right. That country acts out of pure selfish motives.

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