The West’s Colonial Mindset Lives On: a Short History of Western Imperial Arrogance

In designating Venezuelan rebel leader Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president, Western powers, starting with the US, immediately followed by Canada and US allies in Latin America, then by the UK and more recently by the EU parliament, have yet again reaffirmed their privilege to rule over the rest of the world.

A God-given right

For centuries the West has believed in its God-given right – if not duty – to conquer territories on every continent and subjugate the local people to the will and rule of the colonial masters, convinced of their own moral, cultural, intellectual, civilisational superiority.

The Spanish Conquistadores were in no doubt as to their right to kill and pillage their way through the Americas, destroying the ancient civilisations of the so-called New World, for they, as defenders of the Catholic Truth, had been given guardianship by God over these lands populated by heathen savages. English settlers – who later chose to call themselves Americans – completed this religious, moral, civilisational duty in the northern part of the continent, cleansing the land of its inferior inhabitants and false beliefs. Those among the indigenous people who survived were tolerated only once they had fully accepted the pre-eminence of their new masters’ laws, religion and social organisation.

The scientific necessity of Western domination

In the nineteenth century, the British expanded this practice, gaining control of most of Africa and Southern Asia, alongside their French, Dutch, Belgian and Portuguese competitors. Religion was no longer necessary to justify their deeds, since their own civilisation had proved its unquestionable superiority – so they believed – by its achievements in terms of economic success, prosperity, technical progress and scientific knowledge.

The then newly fashionable ideology of liberal capitalism, putting competition at the heart of a modern, healthy society, soon enjoyed the indirect support of Darwinism, which claimed that nature allowed only the fittest to survive. It became quite reasonable to argue that the “inferior” populations of the world, together with their “backward” cultures and societies, would have to submit to the more successful “white race” and Western civilisation, or face being wiped out by the merciless laws of nature and the inevitability of human progress.

A mission to exploit and civilise

From this Western perspective, colonial powers could be thanked for bringing “civilisation” to these backward lands, together with superior institutions, organisational power and culture, as well as the privilege to contribute to the power and wealth of the great, imperial ruler, who knew best how to exploit local natural and human resources. The many wars, massacres and brutal suppression of local rebellions were considered a small, natural price to pay for the indigenous people, not to mention of course the destruction of their potential for autonomous development and nation building.

Another “most civilised” Western nation demands its Empire

The Germans entered the scene of colonial imperialism later than their Western neighbours. But the few colonies they acquired were seized by France and Britain after German defeat in the First World War. However, colonial imperialist philosophy was given a new life in Germany in the form of Nazi ideology. The Nazis believed that to compete with – and surpass – their Western rivals, they needed to conquer an Empire of their own. The British and French had conquered their colonial empires, “white” Americans had gradually conquered their gigantic territory rich in natural resources from the original inhabitants of the continent, making the USA – already at that time – the wealthiest country in the world. However, the Germans knew they could not expect to gain the upper hand in Africa, Asia or the Americas, so they had to look closer to home.

Like the British imperialists, who believed that Britain had a mission to civilise the “backward” regions of the world, the Nazis became convinced it was the destiny of the German people to conquer a vast “living space” (Lebensraum)in the Eastern part of the European continent, which they would transform into the world’s richest and most powerful empire owing to the Germans’ industriousness and superior sense of organisation. A similar view was taken by Italian fascists in relation to other populations of the Mediterranean area and Northern Africa.

Racism as an imperial tool

The British conquests had been facilitated by British imperialist ideology and its assumption that the English race and British civilisation were incommensurably superior to the peoples and cultures of the African and Asian continents.

Now the British imperialists’ German counterparts – the Nazis – had to apply a similar principle to the inhabitants of the territories they coveted. The Slavic people therefore joined the ranks of Jews in being designated as subhumans (Untermenschen); Eastern Slavs (Russians) were described as particularly degenerate, based on the argument that they had intermixed with Asian populations such as Turkic and Mongolian people, widely viewed in the West at that time as racially inferior to Europeans. The Nazis, just like other Western imperialists, viewed it as morally wrong to leave territories with great potential for development in the hands of those who were allegedly not capable of managing them. The Slavs – among others – were consequently destined to submit to and make way for the superior Germans.

The German conquest of the East

Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) with plans to thoroughly deindustrialise and depopulate the conquered territory, turning it into a rich source of raw materials and agricultural products for the Master Race. To achieve these goals, tens of millions of Soviet people were to be exterminated, starved, driven out towards Siberia and Central Asia, with the remaining forced into submission to their new lords and reduced to servitude. It was a plan for genocide and cultural annihilation on a scale hitherto unknown in recorded human history, by far exceeding not only the tragic losses incurred in the Western colonial rampages through the American, African and Asian continents, but also the Nazis’ better-publicised genocide of the Jewish people. Fortunately, these plans had little time for implementation, as they were thwarted by the heroic resistance of the Soviet people, who paid the heavy price of nearly 30 million lives for the survival of their nation and the defeat of fascist imperialism.

Nazi imperialism – a brand of Western colonialism

Nazi German ideology no doubt contrasted sharply with the liberal democratic ideology of the British Empire or the USA in terms of the countries’ internal political organisation and citizens’ rights. Nazi-German imperialists also clearly surpassed their British and other Western counterparts in the degree of barbarism and cruelty inflicted on the nations who fell victim to their rule, as well as in the systematic nature of extermination policies and atrocities committed. However, the fundamental goals and principles involved in their imperialistic aspirations hardly differed. All Western imperialists – Nazis included – believed it was their right, their destiny, their mission, as leaders of a superior race and a higher form of civilisation, to subject the supposedly inferior, less-developed nations to their absolute domination and exploitation for the benefit of the Empire.

Churchill’s Operation Unthinkable vs Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa

Just like the Nazis with their 1941 surprise attack on the Soviet Union (in violation of the non-aggression deal of 1939), the UK, under the lead of Winston Churchill, did not need the slightest hint of aggression, threat or provocation from its opponents to plan a war aimed at reshaping the world according to the designs of Western imperialists. In early 1945, starting even before the cessation of hostilities, the British leader oversaw the development of a plan, code-named Operation Unthinkable, a large-scale coordinated attack on Soviet forces scheduled to start on July 1st, 1945 and bringing together the British and American armed forces as well as 100,000 remobilised German soldiers. The plan was abandoned only once British experts came to the realisation that the new Western Allies were not capable of militarily defeating Soviet forces in Europe. Therefore, in the eyes of the Western leaders, the agreement they had just reached with the USSR in Yalta in February 1945 could be torn up at any time.

Being “the West” means being right

These representatives of a superior civilisation and society never owed anything to those they chose to consider as racially, culturally or morally inferior. Any deal they reached with their – obviously wicked – opponents could be broken as soon as the self-righteous Westerners felt that the agreement no longer served their interests. Whatever course of action they deemed to be right was always justified, regardless of any agreements signed, promises or commitments made, not to mention their opponents’ perspective, considered as entirely irrelevant and presumably evil. Anything or anybody from outside their cultural and political environment opposing their plans and designs mustbe evil for the very reason that they oppose the obviously benevolent West.

This also explains, to quote a few contemporary examples, why Western European and US leaders had no qualms about making a commitment to the USSR in 1989-1990 that NATO would “not move one inch to the East”, in exchange for Soviet acceptance that the new, reunited Germany would be part of NATO, and then almost immediately after German reunification, started preparing for the integration of former Eastern Bloc countries into NATO; or why Obama’s US in 2011 would persuade Russia not to veto a UN resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya in 2011 by assuring that this would not lead to regime change in Libya, with the well-known consequences; or why EU leaders were happy to put their signature to a power-sharing agreement in February 2014 between Ukrainian President Yanukovich and Maidan leaders, only to support the Maidan Coup the very next day, in total breach of the agreement just signed as well as the Ukrainian Constitution.

God does not treat the Devil as an equal

When you act in the name of God, or in today’s language, of “democracy”, “human rights”, “the rule of law”, etc., against those wicked governments who refuse to worship the Holy West, then whatever the means used, your actions will always be justified by the sheer necessity to defend Good against Evil. It is a moral duty of the West to free every nation of the world from governments or political systems that deny their people access to the wonderful paradise they deserve, promised to all those who submit to the holy truth of Western Liberal-Democratic-Globalist ideology.

From the West’s perspective, the idea of treating its “partners” as equals is as preposterous as to imagine God sitting down with the Devil at the negotiating table to finally reach a compromise.

Of course, more pragmatic concerns about Western economic and geopolitical interests are what normally dictates the West’s imperial course of action. And which of the world’s black sheep is next on the target list depends largely on currently favourable circumstances, such as a political or economic crisis in the target country.

Venezuela, whose people supposedly need to be rescued from Maduro’s “criminal and corrupt regime”, is currently feeling the full force of Western imperialism and its everlasting colonial missionary mindset.