Above the President

The relevance of much of what happens in the world today escapes public scrutiny, compliments of the corrupt corporate media. This site aims to help change that. Topics include the UN, oil pipelines, monetary policy and the fate of empires.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

British Imperialism at the United Nations

Those with power never give it up willingly.

It's therefore more than a little peculiar that the greatest empire in world history (the British one) would simply choose to "fade away" into the background of forgotten things, and quietly accede to those rebel Yanks dominance and control over the entire planet, its resources and its economy.

Or perhaps, "apparent control" would be a better way of describing it.

A few factoids about the British Commonwealth, as it exists today in 2005:

  • Its a voluntary association of 53 member countries (excluding the UK)
  • 1.8 billion people, or about 30% of the world's population, live in the Commonwealth
  • Commonwealth countries cover about 25% of the world's land mass
  • Member nations all recognize the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of the Commonwealth
  • Countries that recognize the British monarch as their Head of State are called Commonwealth Realms
We know what happened economically in the United States after the Colonies won political independence from Great Britain in 1783 (and perhaps, even more poignantly, after the U.S. won some measure of economic independence from Great Britain in 1865). Why has something similar not occurred in Ghana, Guyana, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia? Is it perhaps because these countries are not truly "independent", or at least not quite in the way that one ordinarily thinks about "independence"? Would it have anything to do with the vast mineral wealth and natural resources that can be found in this countries?

Ghana is rich in gold, bauxite, manganese and diamonds; Guyana has bauxite, manganese, gold and diamonds; Mauritania has iron and copper ore; Senegal has petroleum refining; Sierra Leone has diamonds, chrome and bauxite, Uganda is rich in copper and cobalt; Tanzania is rich in gold, diamonds and coal; and Zambia is rich in copper. Enough raw material to fill a king's ransom. You don't think the all-powerful British would just let all that wealth go to waste now, do you?

The British Empire Lives On In New York City's Turtle Bay

Imperialism, at least in its modern form, has always been about economic exploitation. The easiest way to exploit cheap labor is to import slaves.. Of course, once that reaches the point where it's no longer kosher, you can still export jobs and factories to distant corners of the world in the name of "globalization", while in reality all you're doing is exploiting (super) cheap labor and (super) loose environmental regulations. I hasten to add, of course, that in many parts of the world, chattel slavery is still quite kosher: just look at the Saudi royal family, which keeps over 100,000 Black chattel slaves in its possession, or the Kuwaiti royal family, which keeps about 50,000 Black chattel slaves.

Once a steady source of cheap labor has been secured, the budding imperialist can turn his attention to exploiting the mineral wealth and natural resources of distant lands as effectively as possible (which usually means, simply stealing it). This is where the United Nations comes in, and which we'll be discussing in the balance of this article. The third and final step to economic imperialism, selling manufactured goods back into those same markets that you've been busy raping and pillaging, is something I won't address here (at least, not today), although in many ways it's the most important aspect of imperialism.

Queen Elizabeth II: Britain's Ruling Monarch Since June 2, 1953

Back to the United Nations. The "de-colonization" of the British Empire that has occurred since the end of WWII has been made in the best interest of the poor countries that once made up the Empire, right? Think again..

In 1945, the "British Empire" only had three votes at the United Nations: those of Canada, New Zealand and of course, Great Britain. Between 1946 and 1959, the British de-colonized four countries; between 1960 and 1969, twenty former countries in the British Empire were de-colonized; between 1970 and 1979, an additional ten countries were de-colonized; and by the end of 1989, a total of 41 countries in the former British Empire had been de-colonized. Each time a country was de-colonized, it received a seat at the United Nations, as well as any other international body that it joined.

So who's keeping count?

While the United States has only one vote at the United Nations, the British Empire (viz the Commonwealth) has a total of 54. As far as other prominent UN agencies are concerned, the Commonwealth has 45 votes at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 44 votes at the World Bank, and 46 at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Two out of the Group of Eight heads of State are members of the Commonwealth, as are two out of the Group of Seven Finance Ministers.. and the Commonwealth is well represented at many other important international organizations too. For example, 28 votes at the International Organization for Security Commission, and 38 votes at the Bank of International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland go to Commonwealth members. In addition, thirteen countries in the newly proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) Zone are members of the British Commonwealth.

Who says the British don't still rule the world?

For reference, this posting was inspired by this article: http://www.newswithviews.com/Veon/joan27.htm


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