One of the most apparent things I encountered during my recent sojourn in Empire was a huge contingent of immigrants from Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.
Many can be found even in the outlying English countryside.
Unsurprisingly, many of these immigrants are slaving away in low-income trades in hotels, shops and in the transport sector as drivers.
While some have found a way of nativising themselves by getting into matrimony with the Queen’s subjects, others have maintained the umbilical cord with Mother country, and view the Empire as nothing but a slaveyard to earn a pound and eventually return home.
One common denominator among taxi drivers who are not the Queen’s subjects is their apparent disdain for Empire and, by extension, America, commonly referred to as Uncle Sam.
I realised during small talks with most taxi drivers that they attribute the source of the bad state of affairs back home to Uncle Sam.
They blame Uncle Sam and his European allies for destabilising Mother countries in order to exploit resources.
They do this by sponsoring massive discontent and influencing regime change by installing their puppets, they say.
Surprisingly, most, if not all, taxi drivers I encountered knew about Zimbabwe and how the country has earned the infamous badge of being the stubborn child of the Southern African region.
It was distressing to realise that most immigrants in Empire, particularly those from the global South, share almost the same experiences and challenges as we do. They point to the intrusive nature of Uncle Sam’s foreign policy as the major cause of the bad state of affairs at home.
Of course, this is in no way an attempt to suggest that the current leadership of people of the South lacks agency.
Far from it, the truth is that even those who attempt to resist the machinations of Uncle Sam face the wrath of having sanctions slapped on them or face the ignominy of a puppetry opposition.
The question that then arises is: If the people of the South or the developing world face similar challenges and attribute the source of those challenges to Uncle Sam, why are they not uniting and speaking with one voice?
The reason for lack of unity and the continued distressing state of affairs in most countries of the South is aptly proffered by Noam Chomsky in his unique book “How the World Works”, published in 2011.
There is a reason why we must take serious anything coming from Chomsky.
He is the most cited living author on the all-time list and he is the eighth overall (after Marx, Lenin, Shakespeare, Aristotle, the Bible, Plato and Freud).
Lionised abroad, Chomsky is by far the most important social critic in the world, but his political ideas are marginalised in his native country, the United States.
Chomsky is the modern-day equivalent of an Old Testament prophet; a prophet without honour in his own land.
The New York Times may grudgingly admit that he is “arguably the most important intellectual alive”, but they do it in the context of deploring his politics.
He is a media star in other countries and attracts standing-room-only audiences wherever he speaks, but his appearances on American television are few and far between. The acceptable range of opinion stops long before it gets to him.
So what does Chomsky tell us about Uncle Sam? Chomsky argues that relations between the US and other countries go back to the origins of American history, but World War II was a real watershed.
While most of America’s industrial rivals were either severely weakened or totally destroyed by the war, the United States benefited enormously from it. The national territory of the US was never under attack and its production more than tripled.
The people who determine American policy were well aware that the country would emerge from World War II as the first global power in history, and during and after the war they were carefully planning how to shape the postwar world.
Chomsky says American planners, from those in the State Department to those on the Council of Foreign Relations (one major channel by which business leaders influence foreign policy), agreed that the dominance of the US has to be maintained, but there was a spectrum of opinion about how to do it.
“At the hardline extreme, you have documents like the National Security Council Memorandum 68 (1950).
“NSC 68 developed the views of Secretary of State Dean Acheson and was written by Paul Nitze, who is still around (he was one of Reagan’s arms control negotiators).
“I called for a ‘roll-back strategy’ that would ‘foster the seeds of destruction within the Society system’ so that we could then negotiate a settlement on our terms “with the Soviet Union (or a successor state or states),” writes Chomsky.
Another bureaucrat responsible for crafting American foreign policy was George Kennan who in 1948 wrote that the US has about 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only 6,3 percent of its population.
He posited that given this situation, America cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Kennan said the real task for America was to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit it to maintain this position of disparity, but to do so, there was need to do away with sentimentalism.
“Our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives …We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratisation.
“The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better,” Kennan said.
Kennan was simply reiterating an earlier policy enunciated by Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State through the operative meaning of the Monroe Doctrine which clearly states that “the United States considers its own interests. The integrity of other American nations is an incident, not an end.”
But that’s not all. According to the Grand Area policy crafted after the World War II, the Third World was to “fulfil its major function as a source of raw materials and a market for the industrial capitalist societies”.
Kennan even suggested that Europe might get a psychological lift from the project of “exploiting” Africa.
Naturally, no one suggested that Africa should exploit Europe for its reconstruction, perhaps also improving its state of minds.
Now there you have it people of the South. Your basic function is to provide raw materials for Empire. It was the doctrine; it remains the doctrine now.
To Uncle Sam, we are only valuable while we push his interests. Ask Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself president of Venezuela with American backing.
This week, at Davos, the New York Times, for long his backer, was scathing in how irrelevant he has become.
Guaido’s bid to seek legitimacy at Davos was a failure, the paper said he “seemed like a man whose moment had passed”.
Soon, Uncle Sam will find another tool in Venezuela. It’s the way he works.
The task upon us is not to continue moaning about the unfairness of the World Order.
The only available option is to unite and speak with one voice so that Empire realises the futility of maintaining this unbalanced World Order which is a recipe for disaster for current and future generations of both the global South and the West.