Thursday, March 03, 2011

Richard Falk: The Toxic Residue Of Colonialism

The overt age of grand empires gave way to the age of covert imperial hegemony, but now the edifice is crumbling.

By Richard Falk, ZNet, March 1, 2011

Source: Al Jazeera
At least, overtly, there has been no talk from either Washington or Tel Aviv – the governments with most to lose as the Egyptian revolution unfolds – of military intervention. Such restraint is more expressive of geopolitical sanity than postcolonial morality, but still it enables some measure of change to take place that unsettles, temporarily at least, the established political order.

And yet, by means seen and unseen, external actors, especially the United States, with a distinct American blend of presumed imperial and paternal prerogatives are seeking to shape and limit the outcome of this extraordinary uprising of the Egyptian people, long held in subsidised bondage by the cruel and corrupt Mubarak dictatorship. What is the most defining feature of this American-led diplomacy-from-without is the seeming propriety of managing the turmoil, so that the regime survives and the demonstrators return to what is perversely being called “normalcy”.

I find most astonishing that President Obama so openly claimed the authority to instruct the Mubarak regime about how it was supposed to respond to the revolutionary uprising. I am not surprised at the effort, and would be surprised by its absence – but merely by the lack of any sign of imperial shyness in a world order that is supposedly built around the legitimacy of self-determination, national sovereignty, and democracy.

And almost as surprising, is the failure of Mubarak to pretend in public that such interference in the guise of guidance is unacceptable – even if, behind closed doors, he listens submissively and acts accordingly. This geopolitical theatre performance of master and servant suggests the persistence of the colonial mentality on the part of both coloniser – and their national collaborators.

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Dr Nasir Khan said...

In this masterly survey, Richard Falk has shown the close relationship that existed between America and Egypt under the Mubarak regime. To understand the impact and direction of the present uprising of the Arab masses, the role of the hegemon will continue to be decisive; the neo-colonial masters will not allow any change that challenges their geopolitical and economic interests. Dictator Mubarak is off the political scene but his corrupt system of dictatorship is still intact. Well-entrenched local interests and America will ensure that no meaningful alternative leadership emerges that could mobilise the popular mood and expectations of the Egyptian masses towards democracy.

Under the master-slave relationship, equality is an illusion. And in this relationship, any move towards a genuine democracy is a direct threat to the global American empire. Democracy and imperialism represent contradictory objectives. A democratic Egypt or any other Arab state will be perceived a threat to American and Zionist interests locally and globally.

Dr Nasir Khan said...

Reply by: Richard Falk March 3, 2011 at 7:31 am #

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Thanks, for your appreciative words and perceptive comment, which I fear will turn out to be an accurate assessment of the near term outcome in Egypt, and probably elsewhere in the region.