Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games

Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games

by Eric Walberg


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The game motif is useful as a metaphor for the broader rivalry between nations and economic systems with the rise of imperialism and the pursuit of world power. This game has gone through two major transformations since the days of Russian-British rivalry, with the rise first of Communism and then of Islam as world forces opposing imperialism.

The main themes of Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great
Games include:
• US imperial strategy as an outgrowth of British imperialism, and its transformation following the collapse of the Soviet Union;
• the significance of the creation of Israel with respect to the imperial project;
• the repositioning of Russia in world politics after the collapse of the
Soviet Union;
• the emerging role of China and Iran in Eurasia;
• the emerging opposition to the US and NATO.

This work brings these elements together in historical perspective with an understanding from the Arab/ Muslim world's point of view, as it is the main focus of all the "Great Games". It provides the tools to analyze the current game as it evolves.

The Great Games of yore - Britain vs. Russia and their empires in the 19th century, and the US vs. the Soviet Union in the 20th century - no longer translate merely as the US vs. Russia or Russia/ China. A major new player is a collective one, NATO, which today is as vital as the emperor's clothes to justify the global reach of US imperialism. Today, the "playing field" - the geopolitical context - is broader, though Eurasia continues to be "center field", where most of the world's population and energy resources lie.

"Those who think that the "Great Game" played for control of Central Asia is a superannuated relic of Europe's imperial past must read Walberg's epic corrective to their egregious error. In extensive, richly textured and carefully documented detail he reveals the evolution of this competition into the planetary quest for dominance it has become, as well as the imperatives animating its new "players," among whom many will find, to their surprise or consternation, tiny Israel and its symbiotic liaison with America Inc. Prime imperial architect, Zbigniew Brzezinski actually called the blood-soaked playing field The Grand Chessboard, but like all his rapacious forbears omitted to mention the pawns. Walberg places them at the heart of this much needed remediation of the sinister falsehoods propagated in a political culture manufactured from above..." PAUL ATWOOD, Senior Lecturer in American Studies, University of Massachusetts and author of War and Empire: The American Way of Life (2010).

Postmodern Imperialism is a continuation of Kwame Nkrumah's Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of
Imperialism (1965) and carries forward the struggle of the pen against the sword."
-GAMAL NKRUMAH, international editor, Al-Ahram Weekly, Cairo
"Walberg's provocative work traces the transformation of the imperial world through the twentieth century. It is sure to spark discussion about the theory of imperialism and the dialectic of history.
-JOHN BELL, author of Capitalism and the Dialectic (2009)
"Walberg's book is a sharp and concise energizer package required to understand what may follow ahead of the Great 2011 Arab Revolt and related geopolitical earthquakes. It's a carefully argued-and most of all, cliche-smashing-road map showing how the New Great Game in
Eurasia is in fact part of a continuum since the mid-19th century. Particularly refreshing is how
Walberg characterizes Great Games I, II and III-their strategies and their profiteers. Walberg also deconstructs an absolute taboo-at least in the West: how the US/Israeli embrace has been a key feature of the modern game. It will be hard to understand the complex machinery of post-imperialism without navigating this ideology-smashing road map."
-Pepe Escobar , roving correspondent for Asia Times,
author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (2007)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983353935
Publisher: Clarity Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/20/2011
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and
Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on
East-West relations since the 1980s. He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan,
as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer.
Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper,
Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to
Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research,
Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio. His articles appear in Russian, German, Spanish and Arabic and are accessible at his website
Walberg was a moderator and speaker at the Leaders for Change Summit in Istanbul in 2011.

Read an Excerpt

The ideological dispute that arose after 9/11 between Fukuyama's "end of history" and Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" is really just a disagreement over sound bytes. The former trumpeted the victory of the West as ushering in a new era based on western market/political principles, in keeping with the triumphalism of the winners of the Cold War. That no such new era has consolidated itself is supposedly due to unfortunate cultural anachronisms. In a post-geopolitical world, it is "cultural conflict ... with alien civilizations" that leads to "confrontation". This "cultural resistance to capitalism and modernity" divides the world. "Civilizations unite and divide mankind ... blood and belief are what people identify with and what they will fight and die for." Only the West values individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, the rule of law, democracy, free markets.

The two most menacing cultural throwbacks are Islam and Confucianism (read: oil and Chinese exportsand if they unite, "they would pose a threat to the existence of the core civilization." Disdain for Islam has been part of the western cultural discourse for over a century now, as Said made clear in Orientalism and elsewhere. We can add Confuscianism as the other main oriental frame of mind. The "end of history" thus still involves some residual "confrontation".

Ideological contempt for Islam turned into a reckless use of Islamists throughout all the games, culminating in the Great Game II endgame. The communist knights and rooks were defeated in the mountains of Afghanistan, the bishops — the communist ideologues — discredited, and the communist pawns in revolt. Finally the king was checkmated, swept from the board, and the team disbanded. The world expected a new era free of the threat of war, a peace dividend that would improve the lot of people everywhere, ensuring that the material imperative behind war was eliminated. But the triumph of empire has never led to an end to empire, and strengthening empire has never led to improving the lot of the periphery. This was clear in both Great Games I&II, where the periphery was impoverished at the expense of the center. There is no reason to believe GGIII could be any different, even Bush I's postmodern variant, and indeed, the impoverishment of all who are not part of the center/periphery elite has only accelerated.

Meanwhile, the new enemy had been prepared and was loudly declared.

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