Archives For colonialism

the US empire is built on a dream that wave after wave of immigrants have flocked here to fulfil.

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repost from 2004, it will be interesting to come back to this in another 4 years

i was having a conversation on sunday night and one of the questions that came up is `why do people seem to hate america?`

i think the simple answer to that question would be foreign policy. i grew up in a post colonial society and one of the benefits of physical colonialism is the remainders of efforts at civilisation. hence in the caribbean we`re still working with an english school system. the benefit of that is a broad spectrum of almost unbiased learning opportunities.

american colonialism is mental. people aspire to live the american lifestyle and while it`s not a bad thing with perspective and temperance, the portrayals people see outside and even to some extent in the US are unrealistic. the american dream has become more and more intangible with each passing generation but is still the carrot dangled in front of us all to encourage us to continue toiling. deep down we know this, but still keep on, because giving up on the dream is tantamount to failure.

the amercian dream is taking everywhere in magazines, in movies, in television and mostly in the foreign policy. otherwise know as `we know what`s best for you`, it`s been a tool of colonisers for aeons, it`s not new and the US is not the only guilty party. it`s a human condition, been going on forever. the problem is, in most other cases there is a tangible left behind, education system, water works, art, morals, government, something.

the problem with the american system is that there are no tangibles left behind. other than the failed dream and resentment. because america as a colonial power only started coming to fore recently, everything else had pretty much been done already. so it was a matter of rearranging other colonial powers toys in the sandbox.

what better place to start than close to home, the monroe doctrine and the latter roosevelt corollary established a pattern of behaviour that is still rippling through the caribbean region until today.

haiti, cuba, el salvador, panama. all these countries have had direct and deliberate interference in their governance. what happened there as is happening now, is the administration at the time was unhappy with government in power and aided either directly or indirectly the removal of said powers, replaced them with someone favourable with them and then walked away.

it`s ok for a while, but when the dreams and promises don`t materialise and people realise they are being used, they tend to get more than a little resentful. their anger in the immediate tends to be directed at the parties installed primarily but there is still the loathing and hate directed at the US.

yes this is an oversimplification, but all it requires is a little reading and a tiny bit of experience to see where certain foreign policy decisions are always likely to turn around and bite you. this not so much as biting the hand feeds you but some cases trying to get back at the hand that was force feeding you.

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i wish i could take credit for that line, but i heard it last night on the Daily Show and it got me thinking. i had promised myself i`d stay away from US politics, primarily because my opinion doesn`t actually matter and secondarily in the climate of “if you`re not for us, you`re against us” that pervades; with my current immigration situation; i really shouldn`t raise any flags or be seen as the `enemy`. but i can`t, i said very early on, that if staying in the US meant giving up my opinions, i couldn`t do it, i would be pandering to the fear-mongering.

a couple months ago i posted a comment in someone`s journal that one of the ways to make the US safer was a better foreign policy. i`ve gone over this before, but if you`re new let me reiterate. in terms of being a colonial power, the US is but a babe at this and it shows in the poor judgement and inconsistent foreign policy.

one of the key problems of US foreign policy has been assistance to serve its own ends and then power vacuum that it creates when they withdraw their support; especially when it becomes troublesome at home. trust me there is a pattern which we will see repeated in Iraq, the tide is already start turning. Americans seem to have no perspective; historical or otherwise; on the havoc that is wreaked in the name of intervention. the four biggest dictators in the Caribbean were as a result of US intervention and abandonment.

if you want to know why people hate Americans so much, wake up and pay attention. when people ask for help they don`t want conditions, either you`re giving aid or you`re not. if you want to be world`s police, you have to take all the responsibility, good and bad; you can`t want to be global policemen and not recognise the jurisdiction of the international criminal court. and the “if you`re not for us, you`re against us” isn`t going to engender goodwill either.

ignorance and `might is right` does not good foreign policy make. it`s been going on close to 100 years when is someone going to learn.