The famous book by Joseph Conrad, called, “Heart of Darkness”, a fiction was written in 1889. It was allegorical about the horror perpetrated by Europeans on their colonies – in this story’s case, Belgium. Further, to this, evidence has come to light more so in recent years of the amputations of limbs that were carried out by various Belgian colonists managing plantations and beyond to the local “slaves” who did not fulfil their production quotas, for example. Today, it is the psychological, economic, military and ideologically oriented ‘”amputations’ that are still being performed or attempted to at times by the US-led West but on too many countries.
This must stop or at the very least be more seriously mitigated by the rich countries’ better understanding the modern day darkness that drives them and their questionable legacies. This includes against the holistic principles India holds for instance in part through its love of the teachings from Mahatma Gandhi and various sages on harmony, inclusion, peace and non-domination with spiritual fulfilment. Though, it has to be said most colonialism of wretched slavery and other gross indenture servitude Indians experienced, for instance have been abandoned.All of this had largely been forced out by indigenous, anti-colonial movements, including India’s, often supported by Russia.
As well, the US after pushing such horrid neoimperialism interventions well beyond the 1960s Vietnam War, be it in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, etc, the West at best has learned something. Its ideological” opportunistic wars pushed aggressively often to support its big bankers and multinational imperatives have largely been lost on the ground. This may be why Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State had to include in a recent speech that the US has humility. But he nevertheless added that America is exceptional and has to lead the world. (US State Department, Sept 13, 2023) So, a new neo-colonialism is emphasized by mostly using proxies, more sophisticated coups and other meddling, electronically in others’ affairs and economic instruments such as brutal sanctions. It is now the strategy to avoid US direct humiliating military conflict, yet still make independent minded countries scream to follow Washington?
But the “new’ forms are also highly destructive, led by the US with largely the rest of the “Anglo-Saxon’ culture based countries composed of the highly intrusive, “Five Eyes” global surveillance network spending hundreds of billions of dollars to keep the US- led world order in place. But, now these “ new imperialists” rather fight, preferably by proxy to save the West from more direct military humiliations and their own soldiers from being killed.
Then the globalists highly interconnected with, if not significantly controlling Washington to Brussel push the neo-colonial mindset supporting views and parties that essentially support the “West is all best.” This is demeaning hogwash to the many different cultures that should stand proud rather than cower and kow-tow to the US-led ones that can suck out the independence, pride, traditions from a nation and people. This includes what happened to the aboriginal ones of Australia and Canada and well beyond .
For Canada and Australia have gone so much in a US-led direction that I understand why most Australian youth are tilted towards being Washington critical, and various young Canadian youth – to be diplomatic about it. For Canada, meaning its Ottawa wrapped up in its ‘free speech” defence at all cost and voter bank politics to the denigration of India’s integrity and physical protection of its citizens is another form of new imperialism? Ottawa, essentially says its “democratic” values of letting aggressive, destructive voices reign as “freedom’ at the expense of India and other countries’ legitimate security are fine with it. And its prime minister seems to be also saying if it is politically expedient to keeping his government in power, he will not criticize the worst of Khalistan separatists associated with a vote bank important to keeping the Liberal Party in power: A Justin Trudeau led minority government with its pro- Khalistan separatist led, partner party, the NDP. Yet, it is a Liberal Party having fought in the past tooth and nail against separatists from Quebec, some of whom like the Khalistan separatists used horrible violence to push their cause. This is the type of hypocrisy by the West that the Global South, including India really finds galling when subjected to lectures on human rights.
Possibly, the late Samuel Huntington a very top scholar, former US presidential advisor and my former titular boss at Harvard University said it best about the darkness within many developed countries.”The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion […] but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact; non-Westerners never do.” (goodreads.com)
Or not to forget those seeing the West as mainly a warm-hearted model should listen to former US president Jimmy Carter who “had some harsh words to say about the current state of America’s electoral process, calling the country, ‘an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery’”. (RollingStone magazine) As well, scholars from the prestigious Princeton and Northwest Universities reportedly labelled America, as not a democracy but an oligarchy. (New Yorker magazine) More darkness at the so-called heart of western democracy prevails.
People largely do not want to be dominated, and in this sense the Narendra Modi government has been firm about this with the US but with smart realism consistent with its inclusion philosophy. This is important light against the many shadows that are dangerously spreading globally which makes India’s position so important. Yet a too often smugness and faux self-righteousness in the West, Europe particularly that seems not to recognize its massive “theft “of trillions of dollars once upon from the South, most of which was brutally colonized. In fact, a United Nations judge, Patrick Robinson recently stated in an interview, “…the UK will no longer be able to ignore the growing calls for reparation for transatlantic slavery.” (Guardian UK) The newspaper goes onto the Brattle Report partly written by Robinson that calculates such reparations could be in the trillions of dollars.
With all this in mind, when the West declares it is fighting to preserve democracy and fairness, it should be fighting harder to strengthen its own while giving the South a much better deal. Instead of Justin Trudeau, Canadian PM inferring that India lacks democracy when he is so twisted to support anti-democratic movements or to be tolerant of those attacking India, the largest real democracy. Altogether, large parts of the developed world, currently or by legacy need to get those demons more out of its system that are also holding the Global South and peace in arrears. Conrad was right about there being a heart of darkness and all should guard against this, especially the North including Canada.
Peter Dash, a Canadian writes widely on geopolitics.