Twenty-First Century Imperialism: Militarism, Collaborators And Popular Resistance


Imperialism is about political domination, economic exploitation, cultural penetration via military conquest, economic coercion, political destabilization, separatist movements and via domestic collaborators. Imperial aims, today as in the past, are about securing markets, seizing raw materials, exploiting cheap labor in order to enhance profits, accumulate capital and enlarge the scope and depth of political domination. Today the mechanisms by which global profits are enhanced have gone far beyond the exploitation of markets, resources and labor; they embrace entire nations, peoples and the public treasuries, not only of regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America but include the so-called ‘debtor countries of Europe’, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Iceland, among others.

Today the imperial powers of Europe and the United States are re-enacting the “scramble for the riches of Africa, Asia and Latin America” via direct colonial wars accompanying a rising tide of militarism abroad and police state rule at home. The problem of empire building is that, given popular anti-imperialist resistance abroad and economic crises at home, imperial policymakers require far-reaching expenditures and dependence on collaborator rulers and classes in the countries and regions targeted for imperial exploitation.

Any discussion of 21st century empire building – its dynamic growth and its vulnerability – requires a discussion and analysis of 1/the types and forms of ‘collaborator rulers and classes’; 2/the new forms of imperial pillage of entire societies and economies via debt and financial networks 3/ the central role of criminal operations in global imperial accumulation.

How does the above tie in with the scandal du jour – the Panama Leaks? From a comment at the Intercept by photosymbiosis:

Similarly, KBR and Halliburton also set up dozens of tax shelters via offshore shell companies to hide their profits from the Iraq reconstruction scam – but that wasn’t enough, so they eventually moved their entire corporate structures to Dubai.

From 2008, Boston Globe, Mar 6: “Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore”

“The largest of the Cayman Islands shell companies – called Service Employees International Inc., which is now listed as having more than 20,000 workers in Iraq, according to KBR – was created two years before Cheney became Halliburton’s chief executive. But a second Cayman Islands company called Overseas Administrative Services, which now is listed as the employer of 1,020 mostly managerial workers in Iraq, was established two months after Cheney’s appointment. . . .Cheney’s office at the White House referred questions to his personal lawyer, who did not return phone calls.”

Nothing has changed since in the offshore tax avoidance game – so it really is curious that the Panana leak contains no American names, since US corporations are hugely involved in the offshore shell company game – to a scale that makes the whole Panama leak look like very small potatoes indeed:

“The numbers are staggering. More than $2 trillion in U.S.-based multinational profits currently sit in offshore accounts, representing, by credible estimates, in excess of $500 billion in unpaid taxes. If that money were deposited in federal coffers tomorrow, it would wipe out the deficit for 2014. And every year that Congress dithers on a crackdown, America is forfeiting an approximate $90 billion in revenue.”

Another major difference between the Snowden documents and the Panama documents is that the latter are from an anonymous source; so far it all appears a bit over-hyped relative to the actual scale of offshore tax avoidance (and anything that the Guardian’s Luke Harding, aka the MI6 agent working at the Guardian, leaps on is suspicious by default ).


Also, the lack of American names is certainly curious, as the U.S. corporate world is a global leader in setting up offshore corporations to hide profits from the IRS:
“A new report by two public advocacy groups says that as of 2013, more than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies maintained subsidiaries in tax haven countries simply to lessen the checks they must write to the U.S. Treasury.”


In other words, the Panama Leaks, at least so far, is “nothing to see here, folks, about the US, UK, and France, move along and gape at Putin, Turkey, and drug dealers!”