“Why Imperialism is Important” article printed in Rocky Mountain Bullhorn, 1 October 2001
Why Imperialism Is Important
Rocky Mountain Bullhorn, 1 October 2001
In the past days there have been a lot of interesting things to talk about. I particularly enjoy conspiracy theory and feminist readings of the events. However, I see such speculation as an entertaining break from the real work that faces critical citizens today: understanding and explaining the United States’ imperialism.
Most critical analysts responded to the “attack” by expressing grief and then enumerating similar or even more grand “tragedies” elsewhere which were actually massacres armed and engineered by the U.S. These are well documented, constant and damning. (William Blum’s Rogue State is a good starting place.)
We must keep the focus on the history of U.S. intervention, not only in the Middle East, but also in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. Those of us who have been fighting neoliberalism, globalization and capitalism need to learn better the connections of militarism to U.S. economic projects. Both U.S. military policy and economic policies we enforce through the World Bank, IMF and Free Trade Agreements actively undermine any nations that erect socialist, fundamentalist or even democratic regulatory limitations to our economic penetration and domination.
Journalist John Ross wrote from Mexico City that Mexicans, too, celebrated in the streets. This is much more telling than that Palestinians did so, because Mexicans are the supposed beneficiaries of our economic patronage. They also suffer our racism and the terror of military and paramilitaries armed and trained by the U.S. Edward Herman argues that “the ruthless imposition of a neoliberal regime that serves Western transnational corporate interests, along with a willingness to use unlimited force to achieve Western ends…is genuine imperialism, sometimes using economic coercion alone, sometimes supplanting it with violence.” He concludes that folks around the world might reasonably develop a “distaste for ‘Western civilization and cultural values.'”