cj#962,rn,sm> Chapter 1 – Evolution of Western power: from national rivalries to collective imperialism, by way of American hegemony


Richard Moore

Dear friends,

I've been getting quite a bit of feedback - it seems this series is proving
to be useful.  I encourage you to send crtiques, useful examples, useful
references, etc. if you're so inclined.

In response to the "Introduction", Kerry Miller sent some articles about a
Canadian Company which is suing the State of California over its recent ban
of a dangerous fuel additive.  That will be an important example to add to
the book, illustrating how free-trade treaties are beginning to be used to
overturn environmental protections.

all the best


                    Achieving a Livable, Peaceful World

                             Part I - Chapter 1

                     Copyright 1999 by Richard K. Moore
                    Last update 11 Jan 99 - 10,000 words
                    comments to: •••@••.•••

Part I - Corporate rule and global ruin: understanding the dynamics of
today's world
Chapter 1 - Evolution of Western power: from national rivalries to
collective imperialism, by way of American hegemony

World power today
World power today is concentrated in the West. This terminology of West,
Middle East, Far East, etc., came into use during the era of the British
Empire, and roughly reflects world geography as seen from London. These
terms have lost their original geographic sense, and the West now generally
refers to Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
and Israel. The United States holds the primary leadership position, with
the four major European nations --- Britain, Germany, France, and Italy --
acting as junior partners.

These five nations are the core powers of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty
Organization), and three of them (US, Britain, France) are permanent members
of the United Nations Security Council. As the European Union begins to
speak with a united voice from Brussels, it does so with the close
cooperation of the United States, and under the domination of the same four
European powers

The same five nations also dominate the powerful institutions that manage
the process of globalization -- the IMF (International Monetary Fund), the
World Bank, the WTO (World Trade Organization), and the OECD (Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development). The five, together with Japan and
Canada, make up the G7 Group, whose leaders meet regularly to advance the
general framework of global policies. Besides leading these formal
institutions, the West also dominates international banking and financial
markets. As was demonstrated with the recent collapse of Asian currencies,
these markets have themselves become a major power in the world, able to
make and break whole national economies as funds fly this way and that over
unregulated electronic trading networks.

The United States, although it usually acts in close collaboration with its
Western partners, nonetheless plays on its own a powerful role on the world
stage. With its satellites, nuclear arsenal, combat aircraft, submarine and
carrier fleets, electronic stealth weaponry, and cruise missiles, the US by
itself dominates the world militarily. The US controls the seven seas, can
deploy forces rapidly anywhere it chooses, has intelligence networks active
worldwide, is a leading exporter of armaments, and has close ties with
militaries in every part of the world. The US defines its strategic
interests broadly and is prepared to fight three major wars simultaneously,
if necessary, in different parts of the globe(1).

In economic matters the US is no less a singular super power. With a huge
domestic market, the world's largest economy, and as the largest exporter of
grains, the US is able to wield awesome economic power in pursuit of its
perceived interests. In the 1980's, for example, the Japanese company
Toshiba was selling super-silent submarine propeller blades to the Soviet
Union, contrary to US wishes. The US banned Toshiba from the US market, and
the Soviet contracts were promptly cancelled(2). The strength of the US
economy, and the need to do business with US firms, attracts funds to
American banks, and the US sometimes "twists arms", as they say, by freezing
the assets of those whom it desires to influence. In the Gulf War, strong
economic inducements were used to lure allies to the US side in the

With such military and economic power, and with an obvious willingness to
step forward and take the initiative, it is no wonder that the US today
plays the leading diplomatic role on the world stage. Wherever conflict
arises, whether it be in the Middle East, the Balkans, Northern Ireland, or
the Korean peninsula, the world looks to the US to provide the trouble
shooters, the shuttle diplomats, and the very legitimacy of the
problem-solving process. If the US stays away from a situation, then it is
said that the international community is undecided; if the US acts, then the
international community, so called, typically rallies behind. When the US
President appears on global television screens, he speaks with all but the
authority of a world emperor.

The US rose to preeminence as a consequence of World War II. All other major
nations were devastated by the war, with their industrial bases and
economies left in shambles. The US emerged from the war with considerable
prestige, a very strong economy, its industries intact, and with its
military might stretched around the world. It enjoyed a nuclear monopoly and
a greatly expanded role in Middle East oil fields. Based on this immense
power, America assumed an assertive leadership role in the postwar world.
With the Marshall Plan, the creation of numerous treaty organizations,
frequent military interventions, and other energetic activity, the US guided
the development of postwar international institutions, presided over the
Cold War, and launched the world onto its current globalization course.

There are, to be sure, non-Western nations that have played important roles
in the postwar period. The Soviet Union counter-balanced US military power
during the Cold War, but with the Soviet collapse US military global
dominance was clearly established. China, as part of the communist bloc, was
"contained" by the West until the early seventies, but has since arisen as a
potential challenge to Western leadership. The China Question will be
examined in the last section of this Chapter.

Japan has had a very strong postwar economy, and has been a close partner of
the West. But it has no military to speak of, and is not really an insider
to world power. Unlike the American President, the British Prime Minister,
or the German Chancellor, one almost never sees the leader of Japan in the
Western media making pronouncements about world issues, nor does Japan have
a central role in the UN. The former Southeast Asian "Tigers" joined Japan
for a time as world-class economies, but their rise proved to be ephemeral.
As the repercussions of the recent Tiger meltdown continue to settle out,
Japan too may find itself in serious economic trouble(3). Only the dominant
Western nations, apparently, have a permanent seat at the table of world
leadership. How did this come to be?

Imperialism and the rise of the West: 1492-1918
The West rose to world power over several centuries, beginning with the
discovery of America in 1492, and continuing with the establishment of
European colonial empires throughout most of the world. In the nineteenth
century Britain emerged as the dominant world power, but it did not have the
kind of military hegemony that America has today. France, Germany, Austria,
Russia, and others had their own independent agendas, and there were no
unifying global institutions. In the centuries leading up to 1945 the world
system was one of competing, sovereign, imperial powers.

Wars between such nations were frequent, with minor powers being buffeted in
the imperial clashes. The technology of weaponry evolved rapidly under the
pressure of these conflicts, especially after industrialization, and the
West developed formidable fleets and armies with which it dominated the
globe and its trading routes.

     We'll burn their boats, and flatten their mountains,
     Oh Agamemnon, so.
     We'll cause their blood to flow like fountains,
     Mars, forever more.

     From our side pours British thunder,
     Oh Agamemnon, so.
     And that's how we'll keep our enemies under,
     Mars, forever more.
       - traditional, from Mars Forevermore, British sea chanty, c. 1800.

     Note: The two ships, the "Mars" and the "Agamemnon" were both
     present at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), when Admiral Nelson
     defeated a French fleet and gained for Britain imperial mastery of
     the seas for the coming century(4).

Imperialism took a variety of forms. In India, for example, it began as a
private affair. The British East India Company, with its own funds and arms,
managed to dominate portions of India, take control of resources, and compel
advantageous trading terms. When Britain was later persuaded to take over
colonial responsibilities, some provinces were administrated directly by the
Crown, while others were left in the hands of native princes. When Britain
established her American colonies, they were considered to be investment
projects, and were essentially left to govern themselves. The entire colony
of Pennsylvania was a single corporation, owned by a London family(5).

European imperialism was usually colonial. Citizens from Europe were shipped
to the conquered land where they set up communities and became a local
ruling elite. In Britain's American and Australian colonies, the natives
were considered a nuisance and were gradually exterminated or pushed further
and further into the hinterlands. In China, in the nineteenth century, only
a few cities were occupied directly by Western powers, but China was forced
to open up trade and development to the West on favorable terms.

In imperial territories, the local economy was typically converted into one
more profitable to the governing power, and the natives were compelled to
work under conditions and for wages that were determined by the colonizers.
Local resources were seized by force, and conditions of trade were imposed
that were highly favorable to the ruling nation. In India a healthy,
productive economy -- comparable in scale to Britain's -- was intentionally
destroyed in order to create markets for British goods(6).

When the US gained independence, just before the nineteenth century began,
it was in effect already an imperial power. It was in a position to push
westward, seize land from the natives, and carry on with the development of
much of the North-American continent -- a prerogative which it had inherited
from Britain. It purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, and
in 1846 it provoked a war with Mexico and seized what was to become the
American Southwest, largely completing its claim to its continental
territories(7). Vast farmlands came under cultivation and immense riches in
resources were discovered and developed. Westward expansion provided the US
with the same kind of economic growth and industrial development that
imperialism was providing to European powers at the same time.

The US also competed in overseas imperialism, but with typical Yankee
ingenuity, it did so in a uniquely highly-leveraged style. In 1821, Mexico
and other Spanish colonies declared their independence, and the US seized on
the chance to obtain imperial rights to Latin America. In 1823, US President
James Monroe declared the Monroe Doctrine, warning European nations not to
interfere in the Western Hemisphere. Enforcement would have been
problematic, if challenged, and British colonies remained in the hemisphere
-- but the Monroe Doctrine achieved its purpose. The US was left with more
or less a free hand in Latin America as the sole major power in the
hemisphere. With a simple declaration, a measure of brashness, and good
timing, the US accomplished what would normally have required the deployment
of fleets and the winning of battles.

Similarly, when it came to the business of imperialism, the US got right
down to the bottom line. The point of imperialism, after all, is to make
money. Why colonize Chile if you can control the copper mines by less costly
means? Instead of establishing European-style colonies, the US policy was
usually to create the conditions which permitted private US businesses to
acquire assets and operate profitably in "friendly" nations. This turned out
to be a very flexible, high-leverage approach to imperialism.

A common pattern would be to promote a coup by some military faction,
immediately recognize the legitimacy of the new government, and then offer
it US support. In other cases direct military intervention was used to
install a favored regime. By various such means, local elites were put in
power throughout much of Latin America. Those local elites were frequently
unpopular and dependent on US support to stay in power(8). They were subject
to all sorts of US pressure, and if they got out of line, another coup could
always be engineered. Local elites were encouraged to engage in corruption,
giving them a share of the spoils from exploitive economic operations. They
were encouraged to buy armaments and other goods from US manufacturers, and
to use public funds to build infrastructures (roads, rail lines, etc.) which
were useful to the operations of US firms. Overall, the US was able to
achieve the benefits of imperialism in Latin America with a minimum of troop
deployment and administrative overhead.

Although the forms of imperialism varied greatly, the business side of
Western imperialism always came down to trade and development. Trade was
largely a private enterprise, and the advantages of trade under imperialism
led to the accumulation of large fortunes. In European colonies, or in Uncle
Sam's client states, plantations were developed, along with mines,
factories, roads, harbors, and other infrastructures. Funding was needed for
these projects, and funding was necessary to finance wars, trading
operations, and domestic development.

Capitalism, nationalism, and Western imperialism co-evolved. Imperialism
provided an ever-growing demand for funds, and opportunity for profit.
Capital investment arose as one of the primary means by which those funds
were obtained. Industrialists, bankers, and investors all benefited as
empires were expanded, defended, and developed. As empires grew, capitalist
fortunes grew. Government and business leaders encouraged patriotic
nationalism, generating the popular support necessary to continue the
imperialist system(9).

From the perspective of capitalism, an empire is an investment realm, a safe
space in which economic empires can be built. Wherever the national flag was
planted, private development of resources was never far behind. The British
East India Company, the Hudsons Bay Company, and later Standard Oil and
others developed their economic empires largely under the protection of
national banners.

In this era of competitive Western imperialism, an informal partnership of
interests existed between capitalism and nationalism. Expansion of empire
was of direct benefit to capitalist interests. Similarly, capitalist
industry became the backbone of national strength, wealth, and power.

The late nineteenth century brought an explosive growth of capitalism,
industrialization, weapons for large-scale warfare, and imperialism. Britain
and France expanded their territories and, in 1898, the US seized Cuba and
the Philippines from Spain. Germany grew rapidly in industrial power, and
was a late-comer to the business of imperialism. As it began to seek out
colonies of its own, it felt constrained -- too many territories were
already occupied by others. Nationalist and capitalist interests in Germany
combined to build pressure for expansionist policies -- to redraw the
imperial boundaries and to balance the equation between industrial capacity
and imperial possessions(10).

     It cannot be too clearly stated, it is the most important fact in
     the history of the last half century, that the German people was
     methodically indoctrinated with the idea of a German
     world-predominance based on might, and with the theory that war
     was a necessary thing in life.
       - H.G. Wells, 1920(11)

Besides the tension caused by German ambitions, instability was fueled by
the collapse of the Ottoman empire, which had for centuries blocked Western
expansion into its dominions(12). New territories were becoming vulnerable
to Western colonization, and Germany was eager to obtain a share of the
spoils. World War I (1914-1918) arose almost inevitably out of these
circumstances and, once the war started, Germany set out to balance the
relationship between industrial and imperial power. While German artillery
dueled in Europe with French, British, and Russian artillery, Germany and
its Austrian ally rushed to acquire territory in Africa, Turkey, and the

The war was lost by Germany, but a balance between industry and empire was
achieved nonetheless -- by the destruction of the German military and
economy (Treaty of Versailles) rather than by the expansion of its
empire(14). But German ambitions were not to be so easily crushed, and the
essential tensions leading up to the first Great War remained unresolved.
Additional tension was building in the Far East, where an ambitious and
newly industrialized Japan had routed Russian naval forces in the
Russo-Japanese War (1904-5). And tension was rising from another quarter --
popular resistance to capitalist domination.

The inter-war years: 1918-1939
Nineteenth century industrialization, under capitalism, had created social
dislocation and unrest in its wake. Previous social and economic
arrangements were disrupted, and working conditions in the new factories and
mines were often dismal, dangerous, and poorly paid. Labor movements arose,
along with socialist ideas and anti-capitalist sentiment(15). In 1848, Marx
and Engels published The Communist Manifesto which articulated a radical
critique of capitalism and called for an international workers' revolution.
In the chaos of wartime Russia, a marxist-inspired revolution succeeded. The
world's largest nation, the new Soviet Union, came into the world with an
explicit anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist agenda.

Marxist theory proclaimed that the workers' revolution was destined to
spread beyond the Soviet Union, and many in the West hoped or feared,
depending on their politics, that the theory might have something to it.
Leftist movements (labor, socialist, communist, or anarchist) had already
arisen in many parts of the West prior to the war, including Italy, Spain,
Germany, and the US. Following the war, the Versailles Treaty led to
humiliation and poverty for Germany, and a currency collapse made money not
worth the paper it was printed on. Other European economies were in the
doldrums, and the onset of the Great Depression in the thirties brought
stagnation and unemployment to the entire West. All of this fueled leftist
sentiment, and raised alarm in Western leadership circles(16).

Fascism arose in Italy, Spain, and Germany in the twenties and offered a
nationalist alternative, something besides the left as a radical solution to
societal problems. This was an alternative which was much more acceptable to
capitalist interests. In Italy, fascism was openly promoted as an explicit
partnership between government and capital -- a way to get the trains
running on time. In Germany the link between the Nazis and capitalism was
not so explicit, but it was just as real(17).

     Certain American industrialists had a great deal to do with
     bringing fascist regimes into being in both Germany and Italy.
     They extended aid to help Fascism occupy the seat of power, and
     they are helping to keep it there.
     - William E. Dodd, U.S. Ambassador to Germany, 1937(18)

As Hitler built the strength of the Nazi party, he became more and more
friendly with German leaders and industrialists(19). One of Hitler's most
enthusiastic backers was Krupp, Germany's premiere arms manufacturer and the
most prominent of German industrialists. After listening to a campaign
speech, tears came to Krupp's eyes and he said, "This is the man who can
lead Germany!" In that speech, Hitler had promised that if he came to power,
it would be Germany's "last election."(20) The party gained political
victories, and in 1933 Hitler became Chancellor. Soon after that all other
parties were crushed, and Hitler's reign as Der Fuhrer began. He preached a
doctrine of racist nationalism, of revenge for the humiliation at
Versailles, and of German expansionism.

Mein Kampf, which Hitler wrote in 1923 during a brief imprisonment, outlined
in considerable detail Hitler's expansionist ambitions. It said that the
Slavic people were an inferior race, and that Germany's destiny was to
conquer and enslave Russia, providing Germany with needed lebensraum (living
space). This was in fact the agenda that Hitler systematically pursued once
he was in power.

To German capitalists, Hitler's lebensraum agenda offered the imperial
expansion that they had sought in the first Great War, and on a grander
scale. Hitler's repressive policies had also brought an end to labor strife
and to socialist movements. In Hitler, German capital saw the opportunity
for a prosperous future, with a fair share of imperialist spoils. Already in
the twenties, with the covert approval of the Weimar government, Krupp had
assigned a secret team of engineers to design a new generation of
weapons(21). They were told to think ahead, to come up with a winning
military machine for the late thirties. Their work was to provide the muscle
of blitzkrieg warfare, and Krupp was to be made OberFuhrer of industry for
all Third Reich territories.

The Treaty of Versailles clearly required that Germany's armaments were to
remain strictly limited, and Western governments generally continued to pay
lip service to that provision. Without armaments, the expansionist yearnings
of Hitler and of German industrialists could remain only empty words. But
the other Western powers did allow Germany to rearm, and to understand why,
we need to review the overall crisis being faced by the imperial system at
that time, particularly from the perspective of the United States.

Reactions to Hitler in Britain and France were mixed. Many were shocked by
his racist policies and frightened by his militaristic ambitions -- but
there were also a considerable number of fascist sympathizers in both
countries, many of them influential(22). In industrialist circles there was
relief that socialism had been squashed in Germany, and there was support
for Hitler's anti-Soviet agenda. Britain and France, regardless of their
public rhetoric, did little to stop Hitler and Mussolini from joining in the
Spanish Civil War (1936-39), resulting in fascist suppression of the leftist
Republic. Policy towards Germany vacillated right up to the outbreak of
World War II, when appeasement was finally abandoned.

The United States was remote from the turmoil going on in Europe and was
struggling to emerge from the Great Depression. The US was also concerned
with developments across the Pacific, where Japan was becoming a formidable
power and was threatening to establish hegemony over Asia and Southeast
Asia. Throughout most of the thirties, official US foreign policy remained
neutral and isolationist. On the surface it appeared that the US wasn't
greatly concerned with how things turned out in Europe or Asia. Many
influential American capitalists, including Joseph Kennedy, were openly
supportive of the Nazi regime(23). The US didn't enter World War II until
attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor, years after the war had begun in Europe,
and long after Japan had embarked on an expansionist invasion of Asia.

It seemed that the US was a foolish sleeping giant during the thirties,
living in blissful ignorance while the world was falling apart around it.
The giant stumbled, apparently, into its role in World War II and, only
through good fortune, emerged afterwards in a globally dominant position.
But in reviewing the record of US actions, and planning, during this period,
we will find that sleeping giant is the wrong metaphor. More appropriate
would be the tale of Jack the Giant Killer(24), with Uncle Sam in the role
of clever Jack.

In that tale, we find Jack asleep in a tree. While he sleeps, two giants sit
down beneath his tree. On waking Jack is faced with the problem of saving
himself but, being clever, he soon comes up with a plan. He tosses a stone
down on the first giant, who assumes his fellow giant is the culprit. After
a few more carefully placed stones, the two giants begin to battle, kill
each other, and Jack escapes with his life and loot from the giants.

Just as Jack was temporarily safe in his tree, unseen by the giants, so was
Uncle Sam safe in America, separated by wide oceans from trouble and strife.
But like Jack, the US was in fact endangered. In a world where Germany
controlled Russia, and Japan controlled Asia, the established imperial order
would be utterly transformed, and much to the disadvantage of American
capital. Like Jack, Uncle Sam followed a clever strategy, a strategy that
got others to do most of the work necessary to for him to achieve his own

Instead of opposing the rise of Japan and Germany, which self-interest would
have indicated, the US did just the opposite. The US invested heavily in
Germany, and provided it with technologies and materials for use in building
its war machine. It was in an American-owned General Motors plant, which
operated in Germany before and during the war, that the bombers were built
which raided London during the blitz(25). Similarly, the US invested in
Japan and provided it with steel and the other materials of war(26).

In the short term, the US benefitted economically from the investments in,
and trade with, Germany and Japan. It also benefitted, at least from the
capitalist perspective, from the Nazi-assisted defeat of the leftist Spanish
Republic. In the longer term, the arming of Japan and Germany had the same
effect as the stones Jack threw: it encouraged other giants to battle among

World War II and American hegemony

     If we see that Germany is winning we should help Russia and if
     Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and that way let them
     kill as many as possible . . .
       - Harry S. Truman, 1941(27)

Seen from the perspective of Jack's tree (Washington DC), the major events
of World War II follow closely the plot of our fable. What basically
happened is that the German and Soviet giants devastated one another, while
the Japanese giant got itself embroiled throughout giant Asia. The US, after
first arming Germany and Japan, then switched its support to Russia and
China(28). While the rest of the world was becoming engulfed in war, the US
made profits in turn from both sides and engineered remotely the balance of

To be sure, blind luck and short-term business interests must have played a
role in bringing about what has been portrayed above as a brilliant,
high-leverage strategy. Nonetheless, it is revealing to dramatically
highlight the benefits gained from US actions during this period, even if
some weren't planned. And by 1939, at the very latest, US strategic planning
was definitely being pursued on a grand scale. In the anthology,
Trilateralism (1980), Laurence Shoup and William Minter meticulously
chronicle the sequence of study groups, reports, and decisions that guided
US entry into the war, determined US war policy, and led directly to an
anticipated postwar US hegemony(29).

The period 1939-1945, Shoup and Miner report, was when the Council on
Foreign Relations (CFR) first "came of age" as the premiere agency of US
high-level planning. In their initial thinking, the Council planning teams
were inclined to write off Hitler's gains as irreversible. They
painstakingly calculated, based on analyzing major resources and market
flows, the external requirements of the US imperial economy. They concluded
that they needed the Western Hemisphere, the British Commonwealth, and Asia
-- as "friendly" zones -- in order to remain viable as a world power. They
decided that Japan's expansion must be stopped, that Japan must be
ultimately incorporated into the American fold, and that Great Britain was
central to US strategy. As the war developed in Europe, the grand planners
expanded their objectives to include the defeat of Germany and the
establishment of a world-wide US-friendly zone -- what was to be later known
as the Free World(30).

The Council also outlined, during 1941-2, the basic structures of the
Bretton Woods arrangements, the IMF, the World Bank, and the UN. In their
records, they explicitly reveal that the American design for the postwar
world was the globalization of Uncle Sam's traditional high-leverage style
of imperialism, based on creating the conditions that would facilitate
imperial exploitation by Western corporations.

     Recommendation P-B23 (July 1941) stated that worldwide financial
     institutions were necessary for the purpose of "stabilizing
     currencies and facilitating programs of capital investment for
     constructive undertakings in backward and underdeveloped regions."
     During the last half of 1941 and in the first months of 1942, the
     Council developed this idea for the integration of the world.
     - Trilateralism, p. 148

     Isaiah Bowman first suggested a way to solve the problem of
     maintaining effective control over weaker territories while
     avoiding overt imperial conquest. At a Council meeting in May
     1942, he stated that the United States had to exercise the
     strength needed to assure "security," and at the same time "avoid
     conventional forms of imperialism." The way to do this, he argued,
     was to make the exercise of that power international in character
     through a United Nations body.
     - Trilateralism, p. 149.

Let us now return to the sequence of events in Jack's story, as Japan and
Germany continue their expansion. In the summer of 1941, Germany invaded the
Soviet Union, and Japan pushed toward the tin, rubber, and oil of Southeast
Asia. This was the strategic moment for Jack to come down from his tree, and
there is no doubt that he was now acting with full strategic forethought.
The US froze Japanese assets in American banks, and put a total embargo on
scrap iron and oil sales to Japan. From Japan's perspective, these US
measures amounted to acts of war. Japan had no choice but to retaliate --
without adequate oil supplies its very existence was threatened. The US
expected an attack from Japan, and a White House conference was held two
weeks before Pearl Harbor to discuss war and its public justification(31).

The US had access to good intelligence regarding Japanese plans and
deployments. The British, with their phenomenal wartime decryption advances,
had broken "unbreakable" Japanese and German codes(32). Whether President
Roosevelt knew the exact day and hour of the planned raid on Pearl Harbor
may be open to question, but he knew the attack was coming -- he had
nonetheless asked advance observation posts on Kauai to stand down -- and he
knew enough about the timing to make sure the strategically critical
aircraft carriers were safe at sea when the attack occurred(33). Following
the anticipated "surprise" attack, which instantly created a national war
spirit, Roosevelt had no problem obtaining a Declaration of War from
Congress. December 7, 1941 was indeed a day of infamy, but whose infamy?
Hitler then declared war on the US, based on his alliance with Japan, and
the grand war strategy could now be played out. The US then proceeded with
astute timing, and with always an eye toward maximum leverage.

Having achieved the necessary war-enabling incident, the US immediately put
Japan on the back burner, and turned its main attention to the European
theater. Despite the successful raid in Hawaii, Japan posed no immediate
threat to the US mainland. Asia was important to long-term US strategy, but
temporary Japanese occupation caused no insurmountable difficulties. US
forces entered the war in North Africa, and American bombers joined those of
Britain over German-occupied territories. But the Allies delayed landing
troops in Europe until the most advantageous moment -- when the Soviets had
begun their advance toward Germany. In January, 1944, the Soviets kicked the
Germans out of Leningrad and Allied forces landed in Italy the same month.
By Spring, Germany had been mostly pushed out of Soviet territory, and on
D-Day, June 6, Allied forces landed in France -- the race to Berlin was

The overwhelming majority of German divisions remained on the Russian front,
even after the Allies began their drive toward Germany(35). The German giant
was still engaging the Russian giant, while attempting to hold off the
Allies in the west with a rear-guard action. Unlike Jack, Uncle Sam had to
do considerable fighting himself in Europe, or at least American soldiers
did, but as with Jack, the main battles were among others. American timing
was nearly perfect. Only the unexpectedly rapid advance of Soviet forces
prevented US troops from being the first to reach Berlin. Berlin had been
bombed by the Allies throughout the war, but the war's most intense raids
were carried out over Berlin only after Soviet troops were advancing into
Germany. The objective of these raids, apparently, was to slow Soviet
progress by flooding the highways with refugees(36).

The US then turned its attention toward Japan. Although America suffered
terrible casualties in fierce island warfare in the Pacific, the US
situation was immeasurably improved by the fact that Japanese forces were
spread out on the Asian continent and in Asian waters -- engaged with a
giant. The successful development of the atom bomb accelerated the defeat of
Japan, but wasn't necessary to ensure victory(37). Japan's vast Asian
territories could not defend it against America's naval-based advance. All
in all, when the war was over, the giant-killer American strategy had worked
out brilliantly.

US casualties (about 300,000) were very small compared to the many millions
lost by Germany, the Soviets, the Japanese, and the Chinese(38). And while
the war devastated every other major nation, for the US it was one of the
most economically profitable undertakings in world history. From the depths
of the Great Depression in the mid thirties, the US emerged in 1945 with 40%
of the world's wealth and industrial capacity, and with all of its
infrastructures intact(39).

In terms of competitive imperialism, the US had pulled off a major coup. The
US had made inroads into the oil-rich Middle East, and was well poised to
push its advantage as an imperial power in the postwar era. The US
controlled the seas, and no other major power was in an economic position to
exploit the many opportunities made available by the general global
disruption. But, thanks to the Council on Foreign Relations, the US had
other plans. Managing a global empire, while contending with Western rivals,
did not fit the high-leverage profile typical of US strategy.

Collective Imperialism and the "Free World": myth and reality
In 1945 Western competition for spheres of influence came to an end, and
this is probably the most significant historical event since Columbus
launched his entreprenerial voyage to the New World in 1492. Perhaps this
understates the case; in fact 1945 may be the most significant date since
the fall of Rome. Following 1945 warfare between Western European powers has
become unthinkable; prior to 1945 the idea of lasting peace in Europe was
utopian dreaming.

Warfare in Europe had been continuous as far back as historical or
archeological records can be traced. As a cause of European warfare (post
1492), capitalism was only the most recent - replacing competition among
monarchs and a whole line of dynamics going back to ancient tribal
rivalries, migrations, etc. But as a bringer of European peace (post 1945),
collective imperialism is unique - a unifying joint venture more binding
than was the Medieval Church. In the post-capitalist era this is likely to
be remembered as one of capitalism's greatest contributions to mankind.

Instead of punishing the vanquished, as the victors had done at Versailles,
the US encouraged the rebuilding of Germany and Japan -- but with
nationalism and militarism purged from the schoolbooks and government
policy. And instead of pressing its imperial advantage relative to its
Western rivals, the US launched the Marshall Plan(40). Billions of dollars
of aid was given -- not loaned -- to Europe to ensure its rapid
reconstruction, and to prevent European nations from "going communist." The
UN was established, providing for the first time a global institution for
dealing with international conflicts and problems. Regional treaty
organizations such as NATO (North Atlantic) and SEATO (Southeast Asia) were
set up to maintain stability, and to provide the US with an excuse to keep
its forces deployed at strategic points around the world.

In 1948, under US leadership, the Bretton Woods arrangements were completed.
These agreements fixed exchange rates among major currencies. Since the
value of the dollar was pegged to gold at $35 per ounce, all major
currencies would now be stabilized, and the currency collapses that plagued
the inter-war years could not recur. Part of the Bretton Woods package was
GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), which proclaimed a general
global policy of open markets. In addition, the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) were established. These institutions
pooled Western investment funds and provided a systematic means of financing
imperialist development projects(41).

Although the rhetoric of the new world system was about the end of
imperialism, and the triumph of democracy, the Council on Foreign Relations
had developed other plans. The US encouraged the gradual dismantlement of
traditional European empires, but imperialism was to continue on a
collective basis, using the high-leverage American model.

As the US had done for decades in Latin America, the new international
institutions were designed to create the conditions favorable to the
continued exploitation of traditional Western imperial territories. The
business of imperialism had always been about trade and development, on
terms favorable to the West. The mission of the IMF and World bank was
specifically to support trade and development -- and these institutions were
under firm Western control(42). In 1946 President Truman declared that the
West's former imperial territories were now the "underdeveloped world", and
the stage was set for a new global system of collective Western

Creating the conditions for collective imperialism required more than
Western-controlled financial institutions, however. There was also a need
for what Isaiah Bowman had called "security" -- selective military
interventions, the arranging of coups, and all those other high-leverage
techniques that had supported American-style imperialism in Latin America.
The US solution to this problem, as first articulated by Bowman in 1942, was
for America to extend globally its practice of these techniques. The Central
Intelligence Agency was formed, and in 1953 it carried out its first

On May 1, 1951, Prime Minister Mossadegh of Iran had nationalized the
British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). Iran was certainly within
its rights -- Britain had recently nationalized several of its own domestic
industries, and the British government itself was the major owner of the
AIOC. But the nationalization in Iran was contrary to Western imperial
advantage. The CIA, in collaboration with British intelligence, put into
motion a series of covert actions, and on August 19, 1953, Mossadegh was
forced to yield power to the Shah.

The Shah subsequently played the same imperial role as decades of Latin
American tin-horn dictators before him. For the next 25 years he was
America's staunchest ally in the third world. Iran, which has a long shared
border with the Soviet Union, was made available as an American intelligence
outpost. A new oil contract was signed which ended exclusive British access,
and gave a 40% share to an American consortium.

This was how collective imperialism was to work. The US was to provide most
of the covert and military support, while the economic spoils were to be
distributed on a more or less equitable basis among Western-based
corporations. In William Blum's Killing Hope, US Military and CIA
Interventions since World War II, there are 55 chapters. Each chapter
chronicles a comparable episode of imperial management, though many are on a
vaster scale(45).

The Cold War: making the most of the "communist threat"
Part of the postwar US role, in making the world safe for collective
imperialism, was the containment of Soviet influence. In 1946, Winston
Churchill, continuing the close partnership that had been established
between Washington and London, declared that an "Iron Curtain" separated the
West from the communist bloc(46). "Mother Russia", which had been heralded
as the West's staunch ally against fascism, suddenly became the "Red
Menace", and the Cold War was on. There began a decades-long propaganda
campaign in Western media which demonized the Soviet Union, and later
China(47). The Nazi intelligence network which had operated throughout
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was kept intact, and was incorporated
into the new CIA. Covert destabilization operations against the communist
bloc were an ongoing part of the Cold War(48).

The threat of additional marxist revolutions, in most cases unfounded, was
frequently used to justify military interventions whose actual purpose was
the management of empire(49). The communist-threat propaganda was very
effective, and made it politically possible for the US to maintain
astronomical military budgets. The US always remained several steps ahead of
the Soviets in strategic military capability, while the Soviet attempts to
catch up were always characterized as threatening(50). Thus the arms race
cycle continued throughout the Cold War. The vast global military machine
the US built, allegedly to defend against "Soviet expansionism", enabled the
US to carry out its role as imperial manager in the third world.

Of course it takes two to make a fight, and the Soviets were only too eager
to support revolution against the capitalist system when they could. In
Korea and Vietnam, Soviet and Chinese support made the going very difficult
and expensive for American forces. Soviet support enabled Cuba's Fidel
Castro to thumb his nose at Uncle Sam, and in 1962, the Soviets attempted to
set up permanent strategic missile sites on Cuban soil.

But the magnitude of the Soviet threat, and the level of Soviet
belligerency, was systematically exaggerated in the Western press throughout
the Cold War(51). And while the US claimed the Korean and Vietnamese
conflicts were examples of Soviet or Chinese expansionism, the fact is that
resistance to repressive Western client regimes arose spontaneously in the
south halves of both countries(52). As US efforts to suppress those
uprisings escalated, and as the countries' northern cousins entered the
fray, China and the Soviets were drawn in. In Western propaganda, the cart
and horse were reversed(53). Furthermore, the vast bulk of US fleets and
military installations had very little to do with real Soviet power, but
were devoted to general maintenance of "security" in the "Free World".

While imperialist development of the third world proceeded, with minimal
interference from the communist bloc, various tactics were employed to
gradually wear down and destabilize the Soviet Union. Anti-communist
propaganda was distributed by leaflet and by airwaves in Eastern Europe, and
uprisings were encouraged in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and eventually Poland
and most of Eastern Europe(54). Images of modernity and prosperity in
Western films and television contributed to growing popular frustration with
political and economic conditions in Eastern Europe. The CIA stirred up
civil wars in Angola and Afghanistan, and these proved very costly for the
Soviets(55). All of this, plus the ongoing arms race, severely
over-stretched the Soviet economy and its ability to maintain order.
Ultimately, the Soviet Union lacked the wealth and resources to play forever
in the super-power game(56).

In 1990, after a sequence of events that seemed to pass in the blink of an
eye, the Soviet Union collapsed. Boris Yeltsin pulled Russia out of the
Union, with Western backing, and became the chosen Western stooge, in the
tradition of the Shah (Iran), Noriega (Panama), Marcos (Philippines), and a
long line of others. Yeltsin shelled his own parliament building, in a
haunting televised replay of a similar action by Lenin some 70 years before,
and assured his own dictatorial reign for most of the decade. He followed
strictly the Western lead and imperialist exploitation of the former Soviet
domains began(57).

Loans were made available to Russia by the West, but never enough to hold
things together in the crumbling economy. The conditions of the loans
required Russia to dismantle its existing economic infrastructures, without
any plan in place for a smooth transition to a free-market system. The
result of Western policy, which was easily predictable beforehand, was the
complete and utter destabilization of Russian society.

Russian and East European assets became available to Western buyers at
rock-bottom prices, and billions of dollars were smuggled out of Russia by
corrupt officials. As of this writing, the downward spiral has still not
stabilized. Many of the people of the former Soviet bloc, who initially
welcomed capitalism as if it were Santa Claus, now yearn for the good old
days of Soviet rule(58). As the Romans ground Carthage into the dust, so has
the West humbled the former super power. One can imagine Hitler smiling in
his grave, as the capitalist invasion of Russia accomplished what the Panzer
divisions had failed to do, providing lebensraum for Western capital (much
of it German)(59).

The China Question
The postwar relationship between the West and China proceeded down a
different path. When the People's Republic first came to power, it was
aligned closely with the Soviets, and the Western policy toward the entire
bloc was to isolate and contain it. When China split from the Soviets,
Western policy became more flexible, and the communist rift was encouraged
to widen. In the early seventies the West decided that isolating China no
longer made sense, and in 1971 China was allowed to replace Taiwan in the
UN. In 1972 President Nixon paid a state visit to China and trade channels
were then soon re-opened.

Chinese products began to enter global markets, and China's huge population
created a major market for Western exports. Trade increased and the Chinese
economy grew rapidly. Foreign corporations were allowed to build plants in
China, provided they included Chinese partners. Ideology, communist or
otherwise, seemed to have little relevance to China's relationship with the
West. China was behaving like a competing capitalist power, striving to
establish a strong role for itself in the world economy and in Asia(60). As
China began to assume the stature of a major power, it became a potential
challenge to Western hegemony and the established world system of collective

China has said that its "natural role" is to be dominant in Asia, as said
Japan in the years leading up to World War II. The US, meanwhile, has stated
that such hegemony would be "contrary to US strategic interests", and
reminds us that the US has fought three major Asian wars in this century to
maintain its "strategic interests". Today's US policy makers, writing in
Foreign Affairs, articulate two competing approaches to China: engagement,
and confrontation(61). The goal of engagement is to seduce China into
subservience to the US-managed global system, while the goal of
confrontation is to accomplish the same result through the use of economic
pressure, and if necessary, military force.

Both China and the US are now embarked on aggressive weapons-development
programs, each aimed at assuring the ability to control the outcome of this
final episode of major national competition. China, already a nuclear power,
is investing heavily in military technology and is hoping to achieve a
breakthrough that will enable it to neutralize America's premiere weapons
system, the carrier task force. The US, meanwhile, is rapidly upgrading its
hi-tech electronic warfare systems(62).

     The world is in the early stages of a new military revolution...
     the revolution in military affairs revolves around three advances.
     The first is in gathering intelligence. Sensors in satellites,
     aircraft or unmanned aircraft can monitor virtually everything
     going on in an area. The second is in processing intelligence.
     Advanced command, control, communication and computing systems,
     known as C4, make sense of the data gathered by the sensors and
     display it on screen. They can then assign particular targets to
     missiles, tanks or whatever. The third is in acting on all this
     intelligence in particular, by using long-range precision strikes
     to destroy targets. Cruise missiles, guided by satellite, can hit
     an individual building many hundreds of miles away...

     The Pentagon already has, or is developing, most of the
     technologies required for space weapons. For instance it has just
     awarded a $l.l billion contract for an airborne laser to hit
     ballistic missiles. if that technology works, it could be adapted
     for a satellite...
       - The Economist, March 8, 1997

In Desert Storm, the US managed to achieve control of theater. With
electronic and stealth technology it was able to neutralize Iraqi military
capability, and was then able to strike at will anywhere in Iraq. If the US
can be assured of a similar capability with respect to China, then it has
the basis of a strategy for defeating China in the event a confrontation
arises. In a pre-emptive strike it could take out China's strategic
missiles. It could then, with control of theater, savage Chinese military
and industrial installations as it did those of Iraq. By permitting itself
the use of tactical nuclear warheads on its cruise missiles, the US could
scale-up its Desert-Storm tactics for the much larger Chinese adversary --
enabling it to take out an entire port facility, for example, with a single
missile. With its ability to deliver "surgical" strikes, its arsenal of
"clean" nukes, and its fine-tuned ability to demonize enemies in the media,
the US would surely be able to justify a decision to employ nuclear warheads
on "military" targets.

As China begins to operate aggressively in global markets, and as its
economic and military power grows, the China Question will not go away. How
this question will be resolved cannot be precisely predicted, but there can
be little doubt about the ultimate outcome. It is inconceivable that the US
would allow China to reverse the direction of the collective Western system
and return the world to the pre-1945 era of major-power rivalries.

In fact the US is pursuing in parallel both engagement and confrontation.
Investment in China is growing, with official US encouragement(63), creating
a scenario reminiscent of the inter-war years. Just as prewar US investment
in Germany and Japan (and, in the eighties, Iraq) proved to be no guarantee
of ongoing US support, we cannot assume that American financial assets in
China will deter Uncle Sam from enforcing his announced strategic interests.

The main difference between the two scenarios is that this time around Uncle
Sam is on a full-time war footing. As Chinese power grows, and as the US
brings its new C4 technologies online, a moment of truth is bound to come.
If China grows confident enough to act militarily against any of its
neighbors -- and there are several recognized "hot spots" in the region(64)
-- or if the US fears China is on the verge of neutralizing its strategic
pre-eminence, then prompt and decisive US action -- if we have been
correctly understanding US strategic thinking -- can be expected. Only if
China gives up its nationalist ambitions -- or is somehow destabilized as
was the Soviet Union -- is violent confrontation likely to be avoided.

If the US does decide military action is necessary, it would have many
pretexts by which China could be demonized in the Western media, such as
human rights abuses and violent suppression of minorities(65). And the US
would have many ways, if needed, to provoke a confrontation while blaming it
on China. War-provocation incidents, and war-promoting propaganda, are an
art form in which the US has no equal. The recent film, Wag the Dog,
attempted to parody such US war-game manipulations, but its timid story line
was but a pale shadow of the dramatic real-life history. In Make-Believe
Media, The Politics of Entertainment (1992), Michael Parenti, in a very
readable account, compares myth with on-the-ground reality, looking at
decades of American media coverage(66). Compared to Parenti's observations,
Wag the Dog is but child's play. The US will not need to wait for China to
make a stupid blunder on its own, when the moment of truth arrives.

Kultur-kampf: architecture of a new world order
With the Soviet Union dismantled, and China being closely watched, Western
planners are already architecting and implementing a new regime of world
order. The old Cold-War regime operated at two levels. At one level, the US
was acting to maintain Western advantage in the imperial system. At another
level, the one of public rhetoric, the US was acting to contain the
"communist threat". The imperial basis of US policy will continue, but the
end of the Cold War requires a new line of public rhetoric. Drugs and
terrorism have provided an ad-hoc solution to this problem, but a more
systematic solution is in the works.

The new paradigm of world order has been articulated in some detail by
Samuel P. Huntington, in an article entitled The Clash of Civilizations
which appeared in Foreign Affairs in the summer of 1993. In 1997, he
elaborated his vision further in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking
of World Order(67). In this book, he divides the world into eight
"civilizations", and provides a detailed description of the dynamics planned
for the new regime. Ongoing "kultur-kampf" (culture clash) is to be
expected. As with his earlier "excess of democracy", Huntington's
"kultur-kampf" doctrine is being translated into US policy.

     The Clash of Civilisations, the book by Harvard professor Sam
     Huntington, may not have hit the bestseller lists, but its dire
     warning of a 21st century rivalry between the liberal white folk
     and the Yellow Peril -- sorry, the Confucian cultures -- is
     underpinning the formation of a new political environment.

     To adapt one of Mao's subtler metaphors, Huntington's Kultur-kampf
     is becoming, with stunning speed, the conceptual sea in which
     Washington's policy-making fish now swim.
     - Guardian Weekly, April 6, 1997(68)

Within regions, according to the kultur-kampf paradigm, there are to be
"core states", which are to have a special role in maintaining order within
"their" regions. As the US "authorizes" Turkish incursions into Iraq -- and
as Turkish attempts to join the EU are regularly rebuffed -- we can see
Turkey being excluded from the Western "civilization" and being guided into
a core-state role in the Islamic "civilization".

Between regions, says Huntington, we are to expect perpetual "fault-line
conflicts", which are to be resolved through the auspices of "non primary
level participants". This is what has been happening in Bosnia, where
allegedly neutral NATO is "resolving" the fault-line conflict between the
Muslim and Christian "civilizations". The media reported on Serbian "ethnic
cleansing", but in the larger picture it was the West that was engaged in
ethnic cleansing. By destabilizing and fragmenting Yugoslavia, the West
could then assign the various pieces to their appropriate

When the US Embassy was recently bombed in Nairobi, the US did not merely
retaliate against the specific terrorist groups allegedly involved. Instead
it defined whole nations (Sudan, Afghanistan) as the targets of its
reprisals, and launched hundreds of cruise-missile attacks against targets
in those nations. President Bill Clinton said "The countries that
persistently host terrorism have no right to be safe havens"(70). Under the
kultur-kampf regime, terrorism and reprisal become "acts of war" and
"disciplinary missions" across "fault-line rifts". President Clinton,
himself a member of elite councils, mouths the rhetoric; Samuel Huntington
explains what it means.

Huntington's core states are nothing really new, but are simply a renaming
of what have been traditionally called Western "client states". Managing
"fault line conflicts" becomes the excuse for intervention, in place of
"defending strategic interests" or "resisting communism", but maintaining
collective Western domination continues to be the underlying agenda.

Under this regional regime there is no danger of armageddon, nor is there
any hope of a final peace. Ongoing managed conflict is to be the order of
things, providing dynamic stability, with the price in suffering to be paid
by the people of the non-Western "civilizations". George Orwell's 1984
becomes especially prophetic at this point in history, not only because of
its kultur-kampf-like warfare scenarios, but also because of the rapid
"Orwellian" shifts in public rhetoric that have accompanied globalization
and the onset of its new world order.

Under the kultur-kampf scheme, the postwar myths of a "free world" and
"universal democratization" are being explicitly abandoned. Instead each
region is expected to exhibit its own "cultural norms", which "unlike the
West" do not necessarily include a concern for human rights or democracy.
This removes the embarrassment caused by the many dictatorial regimes which
have typically populated the "Free" World. Such regimes are now to be
accepted as "normal" for "civilizations" in "those parts of the world".

When civil war broke out in Rwanda a few years ago, the mass media blamed it
on primitive tribalism -- that is, the local "kultur". No mention was made
of the IMF actions which had intentionally destroyed the Rwandan economy and
created the conditions leading to the civil war(71), nor was there
discussion of which Rwandan factions were being covertly supported by which
Western governments(72). World opinion, disinformed as it was by the Western
media, called out for increased Western intervention, as a solution to the
problems the West had caused(73).

Huntington's civilizational paradigm thus provides an ideal philosophical
basis for a stable Western-imperial global system. It gives Western nations
a plausible justification for pursuing their self interest on the world
stage, as they play their "natural role" as one of the contending
"civilizations". It gives Western forces a "right" to intervene, as
"disinterested parties" adjudicating "fault-line" conflicts or
"disciplining" core states. The kultur-kampf mythology reeks of Western
hypocrisy, and its implicit imperialism is disastrous for most of the world
in terms of human rights abuses, disease and starvation, and lack of
self-determination -- but the doctrine appears to offer an effective
strategy for maintaining Western hegemony under globalization into the new

Western hegemony, however, no longer implies general prosperity for Western
populations. With free-trade and the neoliberal revolution, capitalist
prosperity has been detached from general prosperity. And in the US budget,
only the military portion is sacrosanct, detaching that as well from
standard budgetary constraints -- even though such a large military serves
no publicly defensible national purpose. As the Titanic ships-of-state in
the West plow toward the iceberg of the globalist regime, and while quality
of life for ordinary citizens sinks ever lower, the wealthy elite escape
with their assets in their global-economy lifeboat, their security funded by
Western taxpayers.

It is Western-based elites, not nations in the traditional sense, that
exercise global hegemony today. Western populations, increasingly, are being
exploited and controlled in ways with which third-world populations have
long been accustomed. Chronic unemployment and hopelessness fuel a growing
crime rate. As police forces are paramilitarized, and police powers are
extended, prison populations soar. As civil liberties (and the US Bill of
Rights) are sacrificed to the "war" on crime and drugs, the beginnings of
police-state methods can be seen, particularly in the US(74). The Crisis of
Democracy called for a "passive" citizenry, and for government to focus on
its "traditional policies", with any "excess of democracy"to be kept under
control. Twenty-three years later, the Crisis seems to have been resolved,
and the West finds itself under firm elite control.

In the postwar era, Western nations engaged in collective imperialism, and
the spoils were shared with Western populations. In the globalization era,
the elite alone are to be the beneficiaries of imperialism, and the
overwhelming majority of citizens, including those in the West, are to be
effectively "colonized". Chapter 2 will look more systematically at the role
of elites in the West, the evolution of elite goals over time, and endeavor
to anticipate elite strategies for dealing with the ultimate growth barrier
that capitalism, eventually, must face -- the finiteness of the Earth.

Postscript: Imagine if you can...
When one considers the amazing degree to which America has been able to
control and plan world events in the postwar era, and the complex schemes
which it has successfully implemented with the cooperation (voluntary or
coerced) of other nations, one might be tempted to ask the following
question: What would the world be like if America used its skill and
influence to promote human liberation, sustainability, and local
self-determination? In Part III, we will look at this question as a
strategic issue for a grass-roots movement for a livable and peaceful world.
The movement must prevail in the United States, if it is to prevail
anywhere, but if it does prevail there, then the US would be in a position
to expedite the global success of the movement -- not as a continued central
power, but as an exemplary leader and a capable helping hand. One might
imagine, if one can, American fleets and Marines (disarmed) being applied to
cooperative projects around the world, a kind of de-imperialization task

Footnotes are still under construction -- watch this space.


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