Gayblack Canadian Man

Foreign Policy Analysis
The Imperialist Process – OpenBUCS

The Imperialist Process – OpenBUCS


Well in this first segment of this larger lecture on Imperialism and the thinking
or rationale behind America’s entry into this larger Imperial policy, Imperial campaign. I’m not quite sure what the best word there would be. I want to
let you know that the larger argument I
hope to make, I’ll try to make, really seeks to join together what the United States is doing abroad.
That means you know, outside of the boundaries of the United States with what’s happening inside the boundaries. And I happen to think
that’s a very telling connection to make and very, very worthwhile to consider. But I want to
start out, and I’ll do so in this first segment, I want to talk a bit about Imperialism. It’s
a word you should know. It’s a word with which you should be
familiar and I’m not claiming to have developed some
grand definition or of explanation of Imperialism, but I’ve tried over the years to sort of
borrow and steal from people and come up with a definition that I felt offered at least some basic
understanding of what I mean by Imperialism. Simply put, I would suggest to you that we may
define Imperialism as a policy of extending a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony, there’s you a word, or dominance over
other nations or peoples. Now I don’t know that, that
may not be the best definition. But let me see if I can sort of explain it. First of all, the notion that it’s a
policy, that it’s more than just an idea. But it’s an idea that offers direction for action.
Secondly, that Imperialism involves some level
of expansion or extension. Now you could argue that
the United States has been expanding throughout its history. From the Atlantic Coastal colonies of the British Empire further on, The United
States has continued to expand across the lower 48 and in to Alaska, and ultimately in to Hawaii. And that’s true enough. We might consider that this process goes beyond the creation of say
colonies, that it’s not necessary, as you saw prior to the American Revolution, for the
creation of colonies for Imperialism to function. But it is sufficient, it is sufficient to avoid merely acquiring territory if by other
means one can impose ones will. If a country, and often
times when we’re talking about
countries, sometimes we are talking about individuals, operating on behalf of countries or
under the guise of policy from nations. Nation is a big work, a very important word. Nonetheless, my point here is it’s not necessary to
take and hold territory to participate in Imperialism. It’s often
the case that happens, its often the case there are colonial
desires, but it’s not inherently necessary. This word hegemony, for lack of other or alternative words,
really means dominance. But you can have a hegemony that is cultural. And hegemony tends to flow in one way, one direction, from powerful to the less
than powerful and by means of culture and control of
culture, control of words even, this dominant
power can push its will. Can impose, perhaps is a better word, it’s will over
other nations or peoples. It’s not necessary to control directly the
resources of a place. Instead it’s enough to use your power to push or see that others are getting those resources for you. So you can practice an Imperialism
that’s predominently economic or political, but not necessarily
territorial. Although again, territories are often taken and held. Again I don’t know if that’s a quality
definition or the best definition but it’s sort of the one I’ve come up with over
the years and this seems to serve the purpose. Now there’s a process that seems to
operate in terms of Imperialism, certainly in the late 19th century we
see it. And let me go through that with you so that
hopefully it will make sense. The first step in this process tends to
involve the investment of capital. This can be done by nation state but
most often it’s done by private interests. Someone who sees the opportunity in a nation,
other than say the United States or Europe, outside the West, to develop resources. And resources are key. Resources are going to feed the manufacturing centers of established nations, those who have the
power to become Imperial powers. The first step is investment of capital
and resources and the development of those resources through things like
mining, agricultural work, and also we may see the development of
an infrastructure; that simply means that the word
infrastructure simply means things like railroads, telegraph lines, utilities the, the mechanical systems that are necessary to carry out everyday
life, that are necessary to carry out business, commerce, to communicate, to move goods, all that. That’s what I mean by infrastructure. You know
things like bridges. Well anyway investment of capital usually to develop resources that are largely undeveloped through industries like mining, through
agriculture, and to develop an infrastructure in an underdeveloped or undeveloped area. So you have one nation who sees money to
be made, who sees resources and the business people
within that nation seek to invest in the development of those
resources and to invest in the infrastructure that’s necessitated
to get at those resources. That’s step one. Step number two. The presence of the investment of the industry’s, of this effort to get at these resources will inevitably alter the local culture and the local economy. New ideas are brought in, elements that perhaps have been largely
absent from the lives of people in the area being developed suddenly, well, these alien ideas are suddenly part
of their everyday existence. Whether they be technological, or
whether they be social. How one is to live. Step 3, the investors, companies,
corporations will seek to make favorable arrangements
with one or another local group to guarantee the security of those
investments and properties that they’ve made, that they
have purchased. This is where you began to open up the
possibility for factionalism. If there’s already
political factionalism in the area being developed, then you have the prospect that company
will choose sides. We’ve seen this happen before in geopolitical terms. In North America during the colonial era, prior even to the French and Indian War,
as these competing nations of Europe began to move into the Americas in to
North America particularly, they made alliances with various Native
American people. They wanted fur, pelts and they were willing to exchange the
means of war, making war, for those pelts. Imperialism works much the same way. You invest money. You want to see returns
on that money. You’ve begun to reshape culture and remember we talked about immigrants, we talked about the economic
changes in the United States in the previous lecture, and we talked about the potential fear
that can be caused by these massive transformations taking
place as if life as you’ve known it just isn’t going
to be the same way anymore. It’s never coming back. Well, imagine in
an underdeveloped region when massive machines, massive numbers of
individuals, who speak different languages than you and seem to understand the world that’s
different from yours. They relate to one another in ways that
perhaps you’ve never seen before fully. Imagine the potential for the generation
of fear. There’s the fear indeed that my group, my people, my family, may be left out of whatever’s going on here. May be left
out of whatever gains are to be made. So it behooves the investing company to
find those elements in society that are willing to
work to protect the interests of the company. But when the time comes, step 4, and the investments and development are
threatened to the extent it looks as if they may be lost, there seems to be a tendency among
investors to call upon the federal government or a government. I mean it’s enough simply
to think about for instance, the British. To think about the wars that were fought in
India and fought in Africa. That’s the model. And by the late 19th century the United
States is in a position to fight those wars. To protect
investments that its people are making abroad, to begin to engage beyond North America
in the concerns of Latin America but also the Pacific, of Asia, of Africa. And to begin to put it’s stamp culturally
and economically on the earth. Consider for a moment that
the 20th century will be known as America’s century, the roots, the very foundations of that American
dominance. US dominance are to be found here. Here in the latter 19th century and
the economic changes that have occurred
since the Civil War but also in the first fledgling steps by which
the United States, this new industrial power, will step off this
continent to explore and ultimately control territories beyond
its shores. This industrial giant. By then, by step 5, what may be imposed we may call hegemonic, dominance, control, sometimes subtle, sometimes violent. Think about it before I go in this
segment here and think about it for just a moment. What is it that’s part of the strikes we talked
about from the last lecture if it’s not violence? What is it? It’s part of those strikes if it’s not intervention, often
military. That’s why, and there are other reasons too, but ultimately I want you to understand that the
argument, whether you agree with it or if you don’t is fine with me. The argument I will be making
in this lecture is that what happens abroad, what happens in the Pacific ,what
happens in Africa and Asia, and elsewhere involving the United
States and its expansion, on the level of principle on the level of basic relationships of
power, those who have it and those who don’t, shares parallels with what’s happening
domestically here at home. Remember, in places like Appalachia, here in the
mountains, it’s about resources. Who will own them, who won’t. It’s about the protection of investments when people react to are very much
afraid that they’ll be left out. But it’s also about that thing called
cultural hegemony. About the control of meaning and symbols, that’s part of the story here even in these United States.

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