Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Global Craving for Superiority

As national pride around the globe escalated during the past century, feelings of superiority have risen proportionally. In every aspect of life from the World Cup to national elections, we have learned that it’s an innate characteristic to want to implement one’s beliefs onto another group of people. This can be summed up into one word: colonization. Though this term is generally associated with older times, such as the Europeans in 1492, colonization is equally as prevalent in modern day America as it was centuries ago. Instead of bringing shiploads of whiskey and ‘proper’ clothing over from the civilized lands, we are now bringing over our ‘perfected’ theories of Democracy and Christianity. How can world relations progress when we, and others, are constantly forcing our own beliefs on others? Have we really received consent from these ‘savage’ countries to go forward with our plans? Nation’s actions to colonize others invariably lead to a homogeneous, angered world. It is in our greatest interest to make our world as diverse and rich with various cultures as possible.

Colonization comes in many forms but maintains one core belief: that one’s lifestyle is better than another’s. It is impossible for a diverse world to exist when groups of people seek to impose a viewpoint on indigenous communities. Take modern day Iraq. Is it really our responsibility to uproot their lifestyle in force a nation to adapt to a foreign way of life? As we shamelessly watched their retaliations, have we not processed the fact that maybe this is not how they wish to operate? It is evident that not all foreign countries want to be identical to their ‘superior’ neighbors. In fact, the reason why there is such diversity in our world is due to a different perspective on religion and lifestyle. Most wish to leave it that way.

From the Native Americans back in 1492 to the Iraqis in modern day Iraq, these groups of people evidentially did not want to be colonized. In order to maintain an array of global politics, we must understand that it is not our position to act in a superior manner. It is not our position to alter their lifestyle. Rather, it is our job to negotiate fairly and respectfully with others who live a different standard of living, and wonder if it really is fair to claim one lifestyle is better than another. Thus, it will be possible to live in a world with diverse perspectives and a content environment.

1 comment:

  1. I’m not totally sure what or who you are arguing against here. Nobody seriously calls any other country “savage” anymore and that we are “imposing our ideals on them” is a huge stretch. Is there any evidence of us trying to impose Christianity on the Iraqis? And remember the Iraqi Constitution was drafted by Iraqis, it is not some foreign element we brought over.

    Interestingly, though you fail to mention it, one of the most important skills that our SOFs and regular troops learn while over there is how to respect cultural norms and be respectful of the system they already have in place. Remember one of the key reasons for the 2007 Tribal Revolt against the Islamic State of Iraq was that the ISI was not respecting their tribal customs and ways.

    I’m also curious to know how you define “colonization”. There is no Iraqi High Commissioner as the British had in Egypt and there is no Viceroy; the Iraqi state is a sovereign entity whose democratically elected government has negotiated a legally binding agreement with the United States to keep US troops in the country until 2011, this is known as the Status of Forces Agreement.

    There was certainly a great deal of hubris in our invasion of Iraq, and it certainly was a terrible idea sold to the public on false pretenses and stove-piped intelligence from unreliable sources, but the belief in the superiority of Christianity and our form of government is not one of them. Dressing up Iraq with inflammatory buzzwords like “colonialism” is nice, and I’m sure it makes great copy, but it’s simply incorrect.

    Though, I would be curious to hear your thoughts on Afghanistan and whether or not that qualifies as colonialism per your definition.