Thursday, October 27, 2005

The new liberal imperialism

When the above link to the article appeared on this blog, I thought my socialist friend (sunny) had pointed to another article blaming the US for all the problems in the world.
Let me get to his conclusions of two forms of postmodern imperialism:
Postmodern imperialism takes two forms. First there is the voluntary imperialism of the global economy...If states wish to benefit, they must open themselves up to the interference of international organisations and foreign states (just as, for different reasons, the postmodern world has also opened itself up.)

So nations have a choice to make in pursueing changes or not. After taking my class in Less Developed Countries Financing, I can see that some of the international organizations (including aid organizations) have caused more problems than they helped. But promoting liberal democracies in the these countries needs to be a priority. It does no good to the very poor to give aid to a totalitarian country that squanders and uses the aid for political gains.
The second form of postmodern imperialism might be called the imperialism of neighbours...The response has been to create something like a voluntary UN protectorate in Bosnia and Kosovo.

This suprises me that my socialist friend pointed this article out since he has stated the Yugoslavia Was was avoidable.
In a further unprecedented move, the EU has offered unilateral free-market access to all the countries of the former Yugoslavia for all products including most agricultural produce.

Oooh, one way free trade imperialism!
While you are a candidate for EU membership you have to accept what is given - a whole mass of laws and regulations - as subject countries once did. But the prize is that once you are inside you will have a voice in the commonwealth. If this process is a kind of voluntary imperialism, the end state might be describes as a cooperative empire. 'Commonwealth' might indeed not be a bad name.

My second point I want to make is the avoidance by the author to talk about liberal democracy and how these theories are creating a new world with less violence.
The basic fact is that Western European countries no longer want to fight each other. NATO and the EU have, nevertheless, played an important role in reinforcing and sustaining this position. NATO's most valuable contribution has been the openness it has created.

Yes openess that is created through liberal democracies!
The USA is the more doubtful case since it is not clear that the US government or Congress accepts either the necessity or desirability of interdependence, or its corollaries of openness, mutual surveillance and mutual interference, to the same extent as most European governments now do.

I would disagree with this. One way to see this is we allow more immigration into the US than Europe and we tend to be the free trade supporters. And:
In the prolonged period of peace in Europe, there has been a temptation to neglect our defences, both physical and psychological. This represents one of the great dangers of the postmodern state.

While I don't believe this is a great danger, it does show that liberal democracies can trust each other. Going back to the US case, you can see that US-Canada border supports the contention that we are open. Especially considering this is the longest unguarded border in the history of the world (between two liberal democracies). Even our border between US-Mexico has at best a light amount of military protection.
In the 1950s, South Korea had a lower GNP per head than Zambia: the one has achieved membership of the global economy, the other has not.

I wonder if this might be liberal democracy? Zambia has an average freedom score of 4.4 (Partial Free) and South Korea of 2.8 (Just over free)(I know, just averaging over the recorded period and for the two scores). But the most recent year of South Korea (1,2) and Zambia (4,4).
To become involved in a zone of chaos is risky; if the intervention is prolonged it may become unsustainable in public opinion; if the intervention is unsuccessful it may be damaging to the government that ordered it. But the risks of letting countries rot, as the West did Afghanistan, may be even greater.

Yes I agree. But not with this:
Examples of total collapse are relatively rare, but the number of countries at risk grows all the time.

So let me leave you with the fact that liberal democracies have grown honest, and how the author states it:
The fundamental point is that "the world's grown honest". A large number of the most powerful states no longer want to fight or conquer. It is this that gives rise to both the pre-modern and postmodern worlds.


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