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Empire Tales

by Rajani Kanth

Pax Brittanica to Pax Americana?

Or, put another way, out of the frying pan, into the…

Well, that’s, regrettably, the sorry Tale of our Times:

The Rise and (approaching) Fall of the Anglo-Norman Empire(s)…

*

My vantage point, in these jottings, should remain unmistakable.

I write, explicitly, as an ex-colonial.

Now, that last term deserves explication.

Not all of us (in the colonial world) are ex-colonials, despite the fact of formal decolonization.

Ideologically, most . in the colonial world, still remain colonials (Left, or Right, persuasions are equally culpable in this).

I have made it my ‘mission’ to reveal the depth and extent of that brainwashing.

It’s a cheerless undertaking: but, someone has to do it.

Everything I say here is all embedded in my larger critique of Eurocentrism (EuroModernism).

We live in a world under the thumb, if less and less by the day, of one of the most formidable of global empires: the Anglo-Norman empire.

Calling it by any other name does us all an injustice.

Sure, the EU is a part of it, but strictly as a junior partner.

*

Progressives, in the West, are still mainly Europhiles (including the US, in that categorisation): even those that think they are not.

All I do, in my writings, is – if inadvertently – hold up a mirror to them.

And they may not like what they see.

I don’t blame them, in the slightest.

I couldn’t stand to see what they see, either.

But, it is also really a matter of a supernal ignorance.

There are many semi-literates, even in high places, who still think Europe pulled off its ‘industrial and scientific’ revolution solo, on its own.

They have no idea of the truth.

I have run Doctoral seminars in this area, for years, and could still give them , or anyone else, an education.

There is also, by now, a burgeoning literature in this domain, though , sadly, it does not percolate into lay perceptions.

But it is real.

So, the chauvinism of our Europhiles is merely that: chauvinism.

There is no ontic basis for it.

Their ‘ comparative advantage’ lay ever, and to this day, in but three domains: war, looting, and chicanery.

To state it simply: European Ruling Elites (inclusive of the US) are, on any scale, the most accomplished ecocidal, and genocidal, mass-murderers, in human history.

Which is why their continuing, monotonic , claptrap of ‘human rights’ is so obnoxious, aside from deceiving no one, in these torrid times.

Their putative ‘enlightenment’ was also, to a great extent, a case of feathers ‘borrowed’ (without acknowledgment) from the many cultures they made contact with, and conquered.

*

The operative logos for the original Brit Empire was simple: Divide, and Rule.

For the Ams (the US) who took over the baton, after WW2, it was (sub)Divide and (mis]Rule.

Whew.

Some difference!

For a while, there was another ‘difference’ which, by now , is quite levelled.

The Brits appeared more than ok with being hated: the Ams, leastways for a bit, wished to be loved.

Today, the latter appear ok with just being feared.

Of course, in all this, I am referring to the ruling elites, not the mass populace, which, everywhere, is cannon fodder and/or chattel labor for the rulers.

*

.But why should the twain be different at all?

They are cousins (one must give credit where it’s due, and bring in their eminent second cousins: Australia and Canada) in the flesh, and spirit.

The vaunted American ‘war of Independence’, par exemple, is a bit of a mild exaggeration.

It was not a great deal more than another case of ‘mutiny on the bounty’.

The Brutish Isles was no more an oppressor than the Colonies were.

In fact, given that the Brits did not practice slavery in England, it’s the US (i.e., the then ‘Colonies’ that was far more brutish.

Actually, it was Britain’s curbs on slavery (and westward expansion)that had the Colonies rise up, amongst some related issues.

So our daring mutineers were anything but liberators!

Indeed, more likely, the opposite.

One needs to graduate beyond grade-school propaganda to understand such matters.

But few of us do (no money in that, of course: I get it).

History is simply what historians say it is.

And winners of wars will – as everywhere – write their own (pseudo) histories.

Which the obliging gulls (media, intelligentsia, academe) , of left and right, lap up, eagerly.

But then again, that’s their job: they are only earning their paychecks.

To graduate from being gulls to being shills.

*

So, what unites the two lineages is not merely shared culture and history (although, as Bernard Shaw wrote, a century ago, they remain divided by a common language).

But Empire, Racism, and Capitalism (the order is important).

In fact, I consider Anglo-Normans to be masters, nay world leaders, in the science of exploitation.

No one else even comes close.

The US is still the lead case-study for that idea, I think, for anyone who wishes to investigate.

They took the antic Brit formula : and nearly perfected it.

Even chauvinism, in other words is expected to yield a profit: else , is deemed of no utility.

Hubris , if it must be, needs to pay tangible dividends: simple psychic satisfaction(s) will not suffice.

Britain made war for commerce.

The US makes not just war, but also peace, for commerce (this is the sordid rationale behind Trump’s abrogation of all extant treaties: there’s money to be made in re-negotiating ‘deals’).

The class structure, racial stratification, and gender divides, are all systematized ( this is a long-drawn, on-going, process ) for continuing surplus drainage.

No one, amongst the ruled, can escape the bite.

The world’s largest penal colony, the (industrial) world’s lowest real wage, the most under-funded public health industry, the most trigger-happy police, the most bloodthirsty military, the most extortionist financial sector, the highest concentrations of wealth, are far from being arbitrary, random, creations.

They are (all) integrally linked.

*

It is not merely the canny strategy itself, but the cool rationality with which it is implemented that is significant.

Take a glance at the grisly video where a cop calmly snuffs out the life of an Afro Am, on camera.

The cop is not spewing hatred, nor spitting rage.

He is, quite insouciantly, carrying out the demands of the system: keeping the subject population terrorized.

That was Britain, too.

The British general (Dyer) who , with typical Brit gallantry , massacred unarmed Indians – men, women and children – at Jallianwala Bagh (look it up) was also, on report, equally calm: only somewhat bemused at being tried for a crime that his nation had excelled in for centuries, across the globe.

*

That same icy insouciance extended to the business- as-usual, raw economic pillage as well.

Britain drained the economic life out of India: no army of leeches, or locusts, could have performed better.

So they could repave/renovate their filthy London Streets, with their ill-gotten loot, whilst the streets of Old Delhi decayed, with fading grace, into gutters.

No, England was never that quaint ‘nation of shopkeepers ‘ (Napoleon? Adam Smith?) , of literary allusion.

It was /is in the Modern era, a nation of prospectors, gamblers, hucksters, and fortune hunters .

And the US?

About the same, one would think.

But , more casually speaking, it could be styled, perhaps, a nation of used-car salespeople, with their ‘let’s make a deal’ approaches to everything.

To that extent , Trump is the one Prez who, above all others, represents their geist faithfully(though often-times he appears as a burlesque parody of it).

But it is also, make no mistake, a warlike, predatorial , aggressor state (like a few others).

*

Now, In terms of sheer soul-lessness it , surely, stands alone.

It is a breathtakingly sordid society because it is not an anthropic society at all, but a giant scatter of random individuals linked , via individualist self-interestedness, to various sites of production , consumption, and exchange.

Oscar Wilde captured it best when he quipped , aeons ago, that the US had leapt straight , from barbarism to decadence, bypassing the stage of civilization.

To which I must add that, today, in regression, it has reverted straight back to barbarism.

Fredrick Douglass knew all this in 1852, when he said , on the Fourth of July no less, that the savagery of the US, in his time, was unmatched by that of any other nation.

He should know, being an ex-slave.

MLK Jr , repeated that, a century later, when he called the US the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

It still holds that (uncoveted) honor , today.

*

At any rate, now you can gleam how the putative ‘third world’ was/is manufactured, and made to order.

There is a causal, colonial , link between the prosperity of the West and the penury of its unfortunate colonies.

A historical contrast will help seal the point, dispositively.

Japan escaped direct occupation by European conquistadores; and so made its way to Modernism as a powerful entity.

But, India, the fabled wealth of which drew abject pirates and plunderers like Columbus to compete to seek a way there was warped, like so many others, into a ‘third world’ society (later, the World Bank and the IMF, eminent tools of empire, would assist in sealing its doom, for decades after WWII, until its latter-day , even meteoric , revival, albeit under Neo-Lib auspices).

As with Warren Hastings, Viceroy of Brit India, writing calmly back to the Crown reporting the inordinately high profits from the engineered famine in Bengal(which starved millions to death).

Both the Brit General (op. cit) and the Viceroy had only discharged their respective duties: like that member of Minneapolis ‘law enforcement’.

Lord Macaulay, one of the architects of British India, wrote a glowing bio of Robert Clive – Bandit Chief, and Servant of the East India Company , who went from rags to riches in a few years in India, like the lot of them – where he lauds him, more or less, as an ‘officer and a gent’, in recognition , obviously, of his impressive country-wide thuggery.

Just as an example.

They grew opium in India , as peasants starved for lacking food crops, and dumped it in China – against its express will – demoralizing and distorting that rich Jewel of the Orient, which has only now, in the 21st century recovered from that shock.

India, I fear, remains yet in something of a stupor, so deep were the wounds inflicted on it.

*

There are No Reparations possible for the historic crimes of the Anglo-Norman Empire(s).

Enough resources , to scale, simply do not exist.

In WW II alone, the saturation bombing of Dresden, the ghastly obliteration of most of N. Korea, and the dropping of nuclear devices on Japanese civilians: these are all egregious Crimes against Humanity.

This is no less true of their several fellow Euros – who now don a soft ‘social democratic’ guise – with Belgium leading the wretched Rogue’s Gallery, of a long list of like-minded European Nations, in terms of its outrageous atrocities in Africa in past History.

Leopold’s statues are coming down now: but that is far too little, far too late.

And NATO has also been at it since its inception , undeterred either by conscience or the UN Charter.

Look up their recent misdeeds in Africa and West Asia to know their scroll of honor.

That’s ‘western civ’ , in a nutshell: as experienced by its Victims.

These transgressions are not in some ancient history, it must be recalled, when the ‘rule of law’ may be presumed not to exist, but in the history of the Modern period, with the dissembling ideology of human betterment loudly parroted by the very conquistadores that ravaged , pitilessly, the non-European world.

And they haven’t altogether desisted, from any of it, to date.

By the way I have mentioned only the abominations of their public policy , as conducted by their governments (btw, today, as should be clear, all the so-called ‘multilaterals’ – UN, World Bank, WTO, WHO, et. al. – more or less, serve the Empire: on pain of being defunded).

Bring in the malefactions of their private Corporates (from the East India Company to Monsanto) and you get the full picture.

No wonder the sun never set on the Brit Empire.

As someone has quipped, even God didn’t trust the English in the dark.

*

Not that the US comes off one whit cleaner.

They strafed, bombed, and napalmed the daylights out of millions of innocents in Indo- China, possibly amongst the greatest war crimes of modern history – to which there is no one to hold them accountable.

And , none deterred, they followed this up with drone bombing civilians in Western Asia, with a bomb being dropped , non-stop, roughly every 12 minutes , to this day.

Consider that.

The truth is indefeasible.

Britain and the US remain premier scofflaw nations that break the very mold of the scofflaw nation: and have been so , uninterruptedly, for centuries.

It takes a titanic scale of carnage it would seem, to claim, and hold aloft, the banner of ‘egalite’ and ‘liberte’ : and to earn the credentials to preach the dissimulating drivel of ‘human rights’ to the world.

So please.

Spare us all the, nauseating, kindergarten sop of the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Human Rights.

They lived that down a (very) long time ago.

*

Ethnic chauvinism is to be found most everywhere, if in varying degrees.

But Anglo-Normans took it to stellar heights: indeed, whom do they not hate!!!

Yet, is their hate list most selective.

Germans, Russians, Chinese…

In effect, they hate anyone who can compete with them effectively: and only despise those who cannot.

I don’t need to draw up that latter list.

No, there is not much to choose between these two strains of the Late Modernist Empires.

Is there?

Actually, you knew I was putting you on.

Two empires?

They are really one and the same Empire.

The Anglo-Norman Empire.

One is just the Mark II version of the original.

At its current, Caligula, stage of Decay.

*

Britain, sans empire, reverted to its pathetic origins, in 1945, when its empire was lost, until the City of London (which rigs the price of gold , and interest rates, for most of the world ), in league with Big Brother across the pond , revived it again to a modest status by turning it into a strategic base for their , conjoint, imperial ambitions.

The US, today, appears in the throes of a similar decline, though largely self-inflicted than caused by any machination of its rivals.

The post-WWII power of the US has lain, simply, in its ability to print , at will, the world’s reserve currency , free of cost.

When that privilege goes, they go – notwithstanding the trillion dollar military , the 1000+ bases, and the throttling sanctions (8000+, in 2019) they have, willy nilly, imposed on others (costing, to cite just one instance, 250,000 lives of Iraqi children).

In the interim, the 21st century giants, India, China, Russia and Brazil, are slowly, finding their feet: and the second half of this century belongs, indisputably, to them.

However.

Whether they perform any better than the West, in the future, as good global citizens, remains to be seen.

I am no apologist for them , either.

But the stage is set for cataclysmic alterations of the status quo.

The tables , finally, are starting to turn.

*

Put bluntly, there is no getting round the fact that were it not for the EU and the US, the world would be , more or less, a relatively peaceable place today (even aside from the dual hazards of Covid and Climate Change).

But their supernal greed and werewolf power-lust have brought the planet to the very edge of collapse.

Empire and Civilisation , in a human society, necessarily stand at opposite poles.

When Euros(incl the US) slough off Empire – as they must, at some point – they, too, can resume construction of a genuine ‘western civ’ , that is worthy of respect.

And one that is more than skin-deep: you know what I mean.

Right now, sad to say, they appear far from it.

But we ex-colonials wish them well in that endeavour, as/if/when they are ready to commence it.

Maybe their reality, one day, might yet live up to the fanciful fairy tales?

Why not?

Change is, always, possible: even, at times, as an unintended consequence.

*

So , what’s the cultural difference between Britain and the US, if any, as two wings of the Anglo-Norman empire?

I will answer, via allusion, and trope (maybe semi-seriously?).

Britain has at least two civilizing influences operating within (one drawn from its working class, other from its erstwhile aristocratic governors) : Pink Floyd and Cricket.

Yes, cricket, the game of cricket.

America does not.

The minute the US starts tuning in (more) to Pink Floyd, and playing (more) cricket , it will begin to shed its barbarism.

It might even begin to take to drinking tea.

And give up its penchant for watching Pro Wrestling.

Pou quoi, you ask?

Because , from the one it could learn trace elements of civility, from the other intimations of pacifism.

🙂

We could call that a start?

Even if it moved no further than the UK, at the end of it.

On the other hand, the US may have a slight edge.

It, almost always, does the right thing.

Yes, it is true.

It does do the right thing..

If only after completely exhausting , wholly, and totally, every other available Alternative.

😊

The above is not my insight: it is (falsely) attributed to Churchill.

There’s a grain of truth to it (despite the attributed source).

For It has a dour, hard-bitten, harsh, pitiless, ruling elite, sans any trace of altruism, or generosity.

Like so many settler-colonial states.

But what choice do we hoi polloi have?

We have to be thankful (even hopeful?) for small , even minor, blessings, under the circs.

Whew.

[© R.Kanth 2020]   

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Professor Rajani Kanth, Author of Coda,, A Day in the Life, and Expiations, is Trustee of the World Peace Congress

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