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From firepower to finance:the evolution of colonial and neo-colonial power - Research Paper Example

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The decline of the old colonialist system traced a sharp downward trajectory in the years after World War 2. Its fall was much more than a reaction to the second global conflagration: the imperialist system had actually begun to devour itself before the onset of war in 1914…
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From firepower to finance:the evolution of colonial and neo-colonial power
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Download file to see previous pages The decline of the old colonialist system traced a sharp downward trajectory in the years after World War 2. Its fall was much more than a reaction to the second global conflagration: the imperialist system had actually begun to devour itself before the onset of war in 1914. France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and other European players on the world stage had for decades covetously eyed under-developed countries in all corners of the globe, each jealous of that greatest and most successful of all imperial powers, Great Britain. The consequent land-grab brought Europe’s industrialized nations into direct conflict, a cynical process that led to mass exploitation of native populations and a game of international “brinksmanship” that dangerously raised the pressure across an already confrontational geo-political landscape. In the century that followed, the nations of Europe and the United States would find colonialism to be an unwieldy and ruinous practice born of hubris and a misguided belief in the efficacy and sustainability of force. As the chaotic aftermath of World War 2 gave rise to the Cold War, old notions of colonialism morphed into new forms designed to serve the political agendas of the U.S. and Soviet Union. This “neo-colonialism” has given way to “corporate colonialism,” a product of economic globalization and the technology-enabled interconnectedness of business and banking interests the world over. The concept of colonialism is still with us but the old imperial model of “guns, guts and God” has long since evolved into a far subtler and more lethal form that uses high finance to hold entire nations in thrall. Finance has replaced firepower as the primary means of enforcing aggressive international policy. And Name 2 corporations are more and more acting in the role of “colonialist” aggressors. Setting the Stage – End of an Epoch Finance, of course, has always been an indispensable element of colonialism. It was unquestionably the “tail” that wagged the political/military “dog” in the classic European sense long before World War 2. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, considered by many the architect of Great Britain’s “modern” empire, depended greatly on the backing of his friend Baron Lionel de Rothschild, scion of Europe’s greatest international banking house.1 Rothschild famously secured funding – literally overnight – so that Disraeli could arrange for purchase of the Suez Canal ahead of the French (the scene in which Rothschild was informed that the security for his canal loan was the British government has become legendary in the annals of imperialist literature).2 The imperial ambitions that Germany’s Hohenzollern Kaisers pursued in Africa and the Far East would have been impossible without the financing schemes worked out between German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck and the Prussian banker Gerson von Bleichroder.3 The powerful financial interests that backed colonialist initiatives in the 19th and 20th centuries did so out of the same deadly combination of greed and nationalist fervor that drove most of the era’s most prosperous states in the race for empire. There is no better example of this scenario than the British Empire, which was forged from a curious hodge-podge of motives Name 3 ranging from wealth acquisition to a fervent evangelical desire to bring Christianity to “heathen” nations desperately in need of “saving.” The great drama of British imperialism was a grand prelude to the foundation of the world we know today. It played out against a backdrop of racism, heroism, revolution, savagery and finally devolution. The end of the British imperial epoch is a fascinating study of the demise of old-world political ideology as well as racial preconceptions. Revolt and devolution – ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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