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Imperialism? - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Imperialism? [Apr. 2nd, 2003|11:50 am]
People complain about US imperialism; today, I was remembering an argument raised about the Iraq war, saying how, if we were the imperialists that everyone thinks we are, we'd have done (this, and this, and this).

Well... this is one of 'those' issues. It's kind of a "does cigarette smoking cause cancer?", in my mind.

If a coal mine is run by imported workers, set up in such a way to keep the workers in debt to the company store perpetually, is that slavery? No, not by the strictest definition. If one of those people had a rich relative, that person could get some money sent, and leave. However, an outside observer will note that the net effects are essentially the same thing as slavery.

Just like one notices that people who smoke cigarettes have a greatly increased risk of cancer, despite the fact that there's no proof that *every single smoker* will get cancer sooner or later. To deny that such a work camp is tantamount to slavery is, to my mind, the same as denying that cigarette smoking causes cancer.

That analogy is doubly apt, since both denials are made by people profitting off of others, while damaging them.

Okay, back to imperialism. The dictionary says that imperialism isn't just conquest (the equivalent of slavery); it's also holding power over other territories (the equivalent of the 'imported coal miners', above.) I know that some people would consider the second definition unfair when it comes to nations, because nations have more resources than an individual, and certainly that's something a person should consider carefully before accusing a nation of 'imperialism'.

At the same time, one has to consider that a country doesn't need political control of another country before having strong control over what that country does.

Which is, of course, one of the reasons I'm bothered by the Iraq war. The US doesn't seem willing to cede control of Iraq to the UN, and this means that the US will probably be installing a government, and this means that you can all-but guarentee that the government will be one friendly to the US.

Maybe it's not imperialism by the strictest definition, but it's pretty darn close to 'imperialism lite', at least.

It's not so much the war that bothers me, really... it's my worries about the reason for the war, and the lack of trust I have in those in charge of it.