Re: [OPE] fascism / opposing imperialist military intervention in Libya

From: Jurriaan Bendien <>
Date: Sat Apr 02 2011 - 08:23:37 EDT


I don't think that a nation-state's foreign investment as such makes that nation-state "imperialist". It becomes imperialist rather when it can actually "dominate" foreign territories or foreign peoples, economically, politically, culturally etc. Usually, that does involve important foreign investments or financial power (and substantial foreign exploitation) in a foreign country, but it need not do so; it could be just a matter of military power debt instruments etc.

The Chinese reject the claim they are "imperialist", in the same way as the US does - they just wish to do business with other countries, and do not seek neo-colonies (which would involve them in expensive obligations which they don't want, quite apart from the political outfall). A major motive for Chinese foreign investment is simply to secure strategic raw materials and foreign currencies/assets for China. But insofar as the motive of financial gain begins to dominate their foreign policy, their foreign policy can become indistinguishable from a classic capitalist, imperialist foreign policy.

The main contemporary problem in the world economy is just that, in order for the MNCs to obtain a "stable business environment" in which they can operate most effectively, the old national superstructures have to be broken down or re-aligned, "insofar as they stand in the way of such a business environment" (if the old superstructures serve well, they are preserved).

Who can break down those old structures, or change them to bring them into line with the requirements of the MNCs?

Generally, the MNCs do not want to be seen to be directly involved themselves (it could affect their ability to do business) - it is the imperialist states who supply the main political pressure, internal subversion, finance and military power to make it all happen. And, of course, to do what's best for business as a whole, competing interests must be transcended, and that is what the state does.

If you study e.g. the foreign policy apparatus of the US federal govt, you will notice that they always speak of "our interests in the region" (usually without explicating what they are). In other words, the foreign policy is driven by the US national interest, by the business and geopolitical stakes which US entities have in another country. It is not a matter of doing "what is best for the world", or "what's best for all concerned", but rather what is best from the standpoint of the US. Even when there are rhetorics about "the interests of humanity", the idea is that "humanity is best served by what is in the interest of the US".

Nowadays, the MNCs have become so large, that the power relationship between the MNCs and nation-states has changed greatly. Nation-states are forced to accommodate MNC requirements much more, and nation-states often become a "go-between" for MNC interests and the local population. The MNCs "manage business", and the nation-states "manage the population" - politics is mainly about how you can reconcile the two.

This explains why official foreign policy pronouncements are nowadays often so difficult to understand - because behind what is said, there are "silent/hidden players", namely the MNCs and their interests.

Holland where I live is a rather unique imperialist nation - it is not only the birthplace of capitalist imperialism, but also many of the big MNCs which it has spawned, are no longer based mainly in Holland. This is just to say that the MNCs ultimately do not have national loyalties in a cultural sense - they go where the assets, profits and markets are, that is what they are ultimately loyal to. The nation-state remains as a corporate entity which ensures an adequate business environment.


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Received on Sat Apr 2 08:24:49 2011

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