Western colonialism and imperialism from Algeria to the Arab Spring

Image for post
Image for post
Frantz Fanon
Image for post
Image for post
Evacuation of the US Embassy in Saigon in 1975
Image for post
Image for post
Still image from Black Hawk Down, produced in 2001

Let us put an end to self-inflicted wounds. Let us remember that our national unity is a most priceless asset. Let us deny our adversaries the satisfaction of using Vietnam to pit Americans against Americans.[viii]

Ford, it should be noted, did not deign in his address to touch upon the wounds that had been inflicted on the Vietnamese people, who’d been deemed untermenschen existing beyond the circle of human worth.

Image for post
Image for post
Mohammad Reza Pahvlavi, the Shah of Iran, prior to being deposed during the Iranian Revolution in 1979
Image for post
Image for post
The Highway of Death: slaughter of Iraqi forces retreating from Kuwait in 1991
Image for post
Image for post
Madeleine Albright: US Secretary of State 1997–2001
Image for post
Image for post
Collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. End of an empire? Or end of the counterweight to the Empire?

There was a more long-term and deeply worrying problem, both geopolitical and linked to the global pattern of future capital accumulation: the possibility of a West European-Russian link up…The geopolitical and accumulation consequences of this for US global dominance could be awesome: in the colourful language of geopoliticians, nothing less than the American loss of the planet’s Eurasian heartland; and think of the potential for capital accumulation created by yoking together the gigantic human and material resources of Western Europe and the former Soviet Union![xxi]

Author Diana Johnstone reminds us of the centrality of oil in Washington’s strategic calculations and actions. In the case of the former Yugoslavia it was the oil located in the Caspian Sea that was the prize. She also reminds us of a US desire to

build a pipeline [from the Caspian Sea] across the Balkans, no doubt with Bechtel getting the building contract — former Bechtel executive and Reagan administration Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger is a leading Kosovo warhawk. Bechtel has already obtained major contracts in Tudjman’s Croatia.[xxii]

Perhaps even more important than economic motives when it came to Washington’s intervention in the Balkans in 1999 was the motive of asserting a continuing role for NATO in post-Soviet and Warsaw Pact Europe.

Kosovo is a neat operation from the Anglo-American point of view to drag the EU behind NATO/US world leadership, and to get rid of the notion that Russian sensibilities should be catered for. American strategists, desperate to retain NATO as their battering-ram in new Europe, maneuvered Europe into a war in order to prove that NATO had a permanent function, that it was the ultimate arbiter and could act alone, presenting the rest of the world with a fait accompli.[xxiii]

Before we leave events in the former Yugoslavia behind, it bears emphasising that the much maligned Serb leader, Slobodan Milosevic, was ultimately exonerated of the charge of genocide brought against him at the International Criminal Trial for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in March 2016, a full decade after he died of a heart attack while in custody during his trial in The Hague.[xxiv]

Image for post
Image for post
Aftermath of NATO airstrike in Serbia in 1999

Written by

Writing on politics, culture and whatever else. You can support my efforts at https://tinyurl.com/wehjcjd

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store