In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Resurgent European imperialism and the Global South

Posted by seumasach on September 17, 2011

Cailean Bochanan

17th September, 2011

The assault on Libya marks a new  imperialist offensive led by NATO which threatens grave consequences for humanity if unchecked. A resurgent, French, British and even Turkish imperialism provide a distinctly 19th century air to proceedings. In contrast to 2003 and the Iraq War there has been no opposition worth talking about from the left who have now rallied around the left-liberal paradigm as being worthy of universal enforcement. The left are onboard for the new imperialism and they provide its ideological backbone. To paraphrase one of their old songs ” the Internationale unites the white race’.

Uniting the West behind liberal imperialism is one thing: imposing it on the 6 billion or so of the Global South is another. Much has been said of how they must respond to Western aggression if they are not, each in turn, to become its victims. There are reports of volunteers from Niger flooding into Libya to fight NATO. Let’s hope it’s true- Africa would do well to make its stand here against liberal fascism. This should be the cause celebre of an African generation, their Spanish Civil War with Tawerga as Guernica. In South America comrade Chavez has given an excellent lead with an ALBA document calling for the wooden puppet man Ban Ki Moon to give an account of himself and for an investigation into NATO war crimes. But the intervention of the BRICS nations( Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) although more discreet could be just as decisive. How can this be?

The problem the West have is that they are not, in fact, united at all. Day in, day out the Anglo-Saxon press tear into the eurozone with all the frenzy of a a day of hate in Orwell’s 1984. It’s about as easy defending the Euro as it is defending Colonel Gaddafi- to defend the currency of most of our NATO allies is tantamount to high treason. There is a very simple reason for this: the US/UK need to embark on another round of “quantitative easing” to keep the banks afloat and to finance the wars. They are inhibited from doing so by the prospect of Dollar/Pound collapse. In order to avoid this other currencies must also be devalued or knocked out altogether. Without really wishing it the Euro has emerged emerged as the main challenger to the Dollar’s reserve currency status. Not that it is in a position to simply substitute itself for the Dollar in this role, but it represents a bridgehead for an emerging alternative currency system based on a basket of different currencies. China have already twigged this; that is why they are supporting the Euro by buying up Euro denominated government bonds and investing in European infrastructure and business. This is smart thinking by the Chinese; the US have been careful to prevent the Chinese from penetrating their economy but, with the Eurozone under siege by the City of London and Wall Street, they aren’t looking at the Chinese gift horse in the mouth. Recent comments by Brazilian officials reveal similar thinking and it would be no surprise to see Brazilian, Indian and South African investors moving to support the Euro. Russia has already shown a willingness to do this and already possesses considerable leverage over Europe, especially now both North and South Stream pipelines are up and running. The case of Russia is quite special: it is, after all, a European or , at least, a Eurasian power and is in a unique position to influence the destiny of Europe as it has done in the past.

I have no doubt that Europe can win the currency war being waged against it by closest allies, but it will need the help of its friends, its new found friends. But what will the friends get out of it? Of course, for all the derision being poured on it by the Anglo-Saxons, Europe is a much better place to invest than the Atlantic basket cases. But there is another, geo-political factor: the BRICS won’t be happy about the role of certain Eurozone countries in the new liberal imperial project. They may wish to encourage them to understand the need for a negotiated settlement in Libya, including Gaddafi, as the AU have long been calling for and to discourage further aberrations such as an attack on Algeria or Syria.

Intriguing possibilities present themselves. Emerging nations, long held back by Western imperialism could find themselves holding a trump card. Notoriously, the West played divide and rule with the Third World- now the Third World can play the same card with the West. The split between Europe and the Anglo-Saxons has been long in the making. BRICS soft power can now make it a reality, splitting NATO and solving one of the key problems of the end of the imperial epoch.

One Response to “Resurgent European imperialism and the Global South”

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