In a Vulture Capitalist World Colonialism is in Vogue Again

By IndepthAfrica
In Uncategorized
Dec 15th, 2011


Colonies are the outhouses of the European soul – Thomas Pynchon

After decades of being pressured by the United States, the former Soviet Union, China, and the United Nations to grant overseas colonies their independence, four European colonial powers, under the aegis of the European Union, have reversed course. In a recent decision, expected for final adoption in March 2012, on overseas countries and territories or OCTs – the term “colony” is no longer used in globalized «Newspeak» – the EU now insists that a collection of four EU member states’ overseas dependencies «spread all over the world» must be less “dependent” on Europe but must be maintained as “strategically important outposts». The EU also wants its European colonies to reflect the EU’s values and to get on board with globalization and international trade policies.

The EU is also seeking to separate the policies it has toward the ACP – African, Caribbean, Pacific – countries and the OCTs. The ACPs are nations that were once colonies of EU countries but have since achieved independence. It is clear that the EU has no intention of seeing any more OCTs join the ranks of the ACP, thus a totally different policy on OCTs is being adopted, one that reflects the fact that the EU nations’ «strategically important outposts» will remain under EU tutelage for the foreseeable future. In the EU’s own «Newspeak» language, the OCTs are to maintain their to their EU masters because of the «close historical, institutional, and political ties» to the EU.

The colonies are also expected to start adopting internal EU rules and standards, which may include the imposition of unelected governments by economic overlords in territories that face political or financial instability. Such internal «rules and standards» imposing unelected governments have recently been applied to Greece and Italy, which are now governed by technocrats and bankers.

Such an unelected government already exists in the British Caribbean territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI). Once self-governing, TCI is now governed by a British-appointed Governor, Ric Todd, who is cutting lucrative deals with foreign-owned casino and resort development firms with little or no input from native Turks and Caicos political leaders. TCI has seen civil service strikes and demonstrations by those who want the territory’s elected government restored to power, with some calling for outright independence from Britain. Britain’s re-imposition of colonial status in TCI was justified by what it claimed was massive corruption by local elected leaders. The United States has had TCI under its lens as a major cog in drug smuggling and money laundering for decades. There are reports that TCI’s former chief minister, Michael Misick, fled to the Dominican Republic to avoid prosecution. However, it appears that TCI has traded a few corrupt local political leaders for an equally, if not more, corrupt British colonial administration that acts upon its own whims and on orders from London.

The move to restore the concept of colonization, albeit under a different name, has also been apparent in the United Nations, where the UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee — the Special Political and Decolonization Committee — has been under intense pressure from the United States, France, Britain, Israel, and other countries to curtail its enthusiasm for decolonization. With the new EU decision on maintaining control over the “strategically important outposts” of Europe around the world, the British, French, Danes, and Dutch do not want to see the UN poking its nose into the affairs of the Cayman Islands, New Caledonia, Greenland or Curacao. The United States has always disliked the UN’s involvement in the colonial status of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Marianas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa, while Israel continues to balk at any notion of its colonial administration of the West Bank and Golan Heights.

France has cleverly avoided dealing with the charge of colonization of three of its Western Hemisphere territories – Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Guiana – by incorporating them as overseas French Departments, integral parts of mainland France. The Netherlands has taken a similar move by calling three of its Caribbean territories, Saba, Saint Eustatius, and Bonaire, overseas «municipalities» of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Three other Dutch territories, Curacao, Aruba, and Saint Maartin, are called «autonomous countries» of the Netherlands. These name games are all intended to mask a resurgent European love affair with colonies. The Movement for the Advancement of the People (MAP) in the French Caribbean colony of Saint Martin, on the northern half of the island France shares with the Netherlands, is complaining that important decisions are being made by the French-appointed Prefect of the island and that decisions vis-а-vis the Dutch part of the island have to be handled through Paris and not territory-to-territory. Such micro-managing interference by the EU members is at the heart of the EU’s new policy toward the OCTs.

In 2009, amid charges that Paris was not doing enough to improve their economies, people in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Guiana took to the streets and rioted. The rioting was racially-tinged with charges that the wealth of the islands was being siphoned off by the white and light-skinned mulatto elites while black workers were being paid sub-standard wages.

For the United States, EU maintenance of its «strategically important outposts» is important in the Pentagon’s grand design to be assured military access to the outposts in the event of regional and global wars. Denmark is not keen on seeing Greenland achieve anymore sovereignty because the United States does not want to re-negotiate a deal on maintaining a U.S. National Missile Defense base at Thule. Greenland is also known by a «non-colonial title»: autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark. The Faroe Islands, a strategic Danish colony in the North Atlantic, is known as a «self-governing» territory of the Kingdom of Denmark.

For the United States, the only interest in the EU re-stamping its imprimatur on the OCTs is to ensure that U.S. base access is ensured. Before the United States entered World War II, the British and Americas negotiated the Lend-Lease Agreement, which exchanged 50 U.S. Navy destroyers to Britain for base rights in British colonies in the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Newfoundland. However, the Franklin Roosevelt administration insisted that after the war, Britain begin the process of decolonization, a process that saw the independence of colonies that hosted U.S. bases, including Bahamas, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados.

These days, the United States is only interested in base rights, not decolonization. The Pentagon sees all the OCTs as potential airbases, naval bases, and logistics hubs in future U.S. / NATO wars, including possible conflicts with Russia, China, and a bloc of independent-minded Latin American nations.

The OCTs, many of which were hoping for eventual independence and a seat at the United Nations, can now only look forward to continued colonial status and the specter of American and NATO forces descending upon them, turning them into potential collateral damage targets in future Americana and NATO wars of aggression.

The OCTs include the following (with an asterisk denoting where the U.S. currently maintains military facilities or basing rights): Aruba*, British Virgin Islands, Bonaire*, Curaзao*, Saba, Sint-Eustatius, Sint Maarten-Saint Martin, Anguilla, Bermuda*, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands*, Montserrat, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, Pitcairn, British Indian Ocean Territory (Diego Garcia)*, Mayotte, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Reunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Greenland*, Faroe Islands*, British Antarctic Territory*, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St. Helena and dependencies of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha*, and French Southern and Antarctic Territories.

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