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Published in the October edition of the Wall Street Journal, the British historian Paul Johnson¡¯s essay entitled ¡°The Answer to Terrorism? Colonialism.¡± is an open declaration calling for the return of the old forms of colonialism in the anti-terrorism war. As a theme of this article, a new form of colony, the conquests and annexations which, according to the author, belonged to a bygone era are once again on the order of the day. But in my opinion, the value of colonialism which Paul Johnson has heaped praise on is rather a reorganization of the world through the imposition of military power than the way out of the swamp of terrorism. And the whole article is but to provide a justification for the opening of a new epoch of imperialist conquest, which hides itself behind the anti-terrorism cause.


What is colonialism? It is not a policy defined by Paul Johnson by which to suppress the well-organized criminal communities, networks and states with political control, but rather it is by which a nation, in quest for expansion of power, maintains or extends its control over foreign dependencies, supported by the notions that such territories and people are inferior and thus deserve domination. Colonialism bases its intrinsic value on inequality of human races and targets on the colonies its hegemony and domination.


In Johnson¡¯s article, he first argues that America has no alternative but to wage war against states that habitually aid terrorists. Then he proceeds to give a potted history of the 1th century in which he asserts that the expansion of the major imperialist powers, above all the British Empire, was aimed at bringing a halt to piracy and finally succeeded by taking the form of colonialism. With the comparison made between today¡¯s anti-terrorism cause and the old-day anti-piracy wars, Johnson successfully (if not unsuccessfully) brings out his idea that colonialism is the answer to terrorism. And in the concluding part of the article, he spells out not only the other targets for attack but sets out the new forms of rule which should be established. Well written, the whole article seems to be plausible while actually specious with many false ideas represented. To discuss it, let¡¯s first look at the basic concept supporting Johnson¡¯s argument---the racist version of Orientalism.


The idea that the western imperialist powers, now led by America, are the superior powers to extinguish terrorism, dampen down coups, civil wars and conflicts, salvage inferior oriental countries---those Islamic countries in particular---is to be found in every line of his article. The subject of the expansion of colonialism is the West and the object the East---in 1th century¡¯s so-called anti-piracy war, it was Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, and in today¡¯s anti-terrorism war, it was Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Iran and Syria. To take it for granted that the eastern crime-and-impoverishment-stricken states must be rescued by the western imperialist powers, Johnson emphasizes the necessity of colonialism as a way out ¡±I suspect the best medium-term solution will be to revive the old League of Nations mandate system, which served well as a ¡®respectable¡¯ form of colonialism between the wars¡±. But what is lying under that ¡°respectable form¡±? Is that the respect for the turbulence-ridden states? Is that the respect for the cruelly ravaged human rights? Pry into the basic notions supporting Johnson¡¯s argument and the colonizing states¡¯ policies, it is only possible to excavate the deep-rooted belief in human inequality---that is, races are not born equal with the orient isolated from the mainstream of human progress in the science, arts, commerce and politics and the west advanced and superior both in intellect and cultural senses. Johnson and other colonialism-supporting institutions share a common affirmation in the different categorizations of all human races and emphasize on the east¡¯s sensuality, its tendency to despotism, its aberrant mentality, its habit of inaccuracy and its backwardness and hence its fate to be taken care of. Dominated by the idea of human inequality, Paul Johnson¡¯s conclusion in the treatment of the orient is just as ¡°simple¡± and ¡°self-evident¡± as it is racist and differentiating. Colonialism brings out the focus on the western-culture authority, or the attempt to dominate the ¡°other¡± in the name of a cultural supremacy and intellect superiority which is itself produced in the moment of differentiation. Argued by Edward Said, an authority in the academic field of Oriental Studies, famous for his critic book Orientalism, such prevailing western-superiority complex stems from the wrong studying of the oriental world. In his book Orientalism, he writes about the negative influences of Orientalism on the way the westerners think about the oriental (http//www.frontpagemag.com/archives/rogues/windschuttle1--.htm)


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¡°Colonial rule was justified in advance by Orientalism, rather than after the fact¡­our familiarity, not merely with the language of the people of the East but with their customs, their feelings, their traditions, their history, and religion, had provided the sole basis upon which we are likely to be able to maintain in the future the position we have won. ¡­Orientalism led the West to see Islamic culture as static in both time and place, as eternal uniform, and incapable of defining itself, and this gave us a sense of its own cultural and intellectual superiority. The West consequently saw itself as a dynamic, innovative, expanding culture, as well as the spectator, the judge and jury of every facet of Oriental behavior. ¡­ This became part of its imperial conceit.¡±


¡°The rationale for Western imperialism could be described by its perpetrators not as a form of conquest, but as the redemption of a degenerate world. ¡­¡±


Said argues that the Orientalism¡¯s false description of Arabs and Islamic culture, the false establishment of the Europe¡¯s self-image and the politics-serving purpose to a great extent all have distorted the westerners¡¯ conceptions of the east. The west tends to depict itself as the Godfather with an eye to subjugate the emergence of a ¡°zone of chaos¡±. And the west tends to degrade the east as the failed states calling for imperialist domination and salvation. As the racist idea Rudyard Kipling has expressed in his famous poem The White Man¡¯s Burden (published in McClure¡¯s Magazine in February of 18), the white man had the burden and responsibility of bringing the blessings of their superior civilization to the savages of the non-European world. And here Paul Johnson¡¯s assertion of the need for a new colonialism is certainly another failed product of the faults of Orientalism---that is, the belief that the imperialist powers are to save and to redeem the degenerated world but not to conquer and to plunder. In such a differentiating point of view, Johnson identifies colonialism with his, or, say, the imperialist powers¡¯, concepts of ethnocentrism and hegemonism and renders everything under this set of criteria which are actually disagreeable with the human nature and human equality.


In his article, Johnson leaves no doubt as to the model of ¡°great power¡± action he has in mind---British imperialism of the 1th century---and the way it colonized other countries. He rewrites the history of the war against piracy with a purpose to cover over the fact that imperialist conquest in the 1th century had nothing to do with ¡°piracy¡± but was the outcome of a struggle by the major capitalist powers to enhance their position in the global competition for profits, markets and resource, just as today¡¯s war against ¡°terrorism¡± is being pursued for the same aims. Johnson makes one significant omission as he harks back to the ¡°glory days¡± of British imperialism. The carve-up of the world in the latter part of the 1th century and the first part of the 0th century did not bring peace and prosperity. Rather, it led to two inter-imperialist wars, resulting in hundreds of millions of deaths as the major capitalist powers---the US, Britain, Germany, France, and Japan---inevitably came into conflict with each other in the global struggle for resources, markets and spheres of influence. Colonialism is but to ¡°service the needs of more or less traditional aristocracies both within the social context of feudalism and in the transition to capitalism during its long-term phase of global mercantilist competition¡±. (http//chnm.gmu.edu/rhr/haynes.htm) Mentioned in Johnson¡¯s article, Africa was colonized by France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, and Spain at the end of the last century in the name of war against piracy. However, the history of the colonial exploitation imposed by those imperialist powers didn¡¯t recorded itself in the same way as Johnson did. After Belgian King Leopold 1st took over Congo as his own personal domain, millions of Congolese were killed and this vast area of central Africa became impoverished under his infamous rule while the rulers of little Belgium got very rich to achieve their own capital accumulation and their competence in the resetting of the new world order. And today, imperialism hasn¡¯t changed. It is ¡° the same system, serving the same corporate masters. What has changed is only the political situation¡±. (http//www.street.com/npc/Africa.html) It is possible that to some extent colonization quelled the notorious piracy; but it supplanted it with more notorious political, economical and social carnage perpetrated by the colonists. Colonialism is no efficient and justified means to solve the world affairs, or rather it is the intervention of the imperialist powers---organizing exploitations, stoking up wars and ethnic conflicts for their own purpose, and arming repressive regimes---and the imposition of economic policies that have created a social disaster for people of those colonies. The chaos caused by yesterday¡¯s crimes is made the starting point for the perpetration of new ones, beginning with the establishment of colonial forms of rule. Paul Johnson¡¯s answer towards terrorism is really a pretext under which the imperialist powers set out to take over the terrorism-ridden lands for their own profits---colonizing is constructive for the colonizing societies while destructive for the colonized.


Instead of being the answer to terrorism, colonialism is rather the answer to imperialism. Seizing upon the tragedy of terrorism to bring forth his so-called relieving solution, only reveals Paul Johnson the longstanding plans of the imperialist powers to impose hegemony in the oil-rich region. The whole article is but a whitewash; and now that the whitewash has peeled off, everything is clear


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