Thursday, May 24, 2012

Colonialism Lite

The sometimes odd behavior of foreign governments vis-à-vis the United States, occasionally describable by that memorable phrase “at your feet or at your throat,” may be due to colonialism lite: indirect influence purchased by massive doses of foreign and military aid. Of late this has been most clearly visible in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. That behavior is a little more one-sided in the case of Israel. It is mostly at our throat—because it has its own constituency within our political structure. Herewith some data for 2009 on military aid. It totaled $11 billion that year, 24.5 percent of total foreign assistance, that year, worth $45 billion.



Fifty-one countries received military aid, and the top ten show that we cover the globe. Conspicuous by absence in the longer list is China, surprising that Russia is present. India, based on population the second largest collective in the world, barely makes the list, but does so, receiving $1 million in 2009. The data come from the 2012 (and last) Statistical Abstract of the United States, Table 1299.

The logic of colonialism lite is that military funding is virtually irresistible for collectives—even when they don’t resonate at all with the American Way (or what it has come to mean). This produces in their societies contradictory impulses that lack coherence—and our attempts at buying power create the same problems at home.

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