Wednesday 13 January 2016

The Club That Rules The World.

The Colossus That Was Rhodes: Britain's ur-imperialist not only dreamt of constructing a railway from "Cairo to the Cape", but also of expanding the dominion of the Anglo-Saxon powers to encompass the entire planet. A century on, the United States, aided by the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, has indeed become the global hegemon. The GCSB spy-base at Waihopai is part of that hegemony.

WHAT DO CECIL JOHN RHODES and the Waihopai Spy Base have in common? The answer is: the maintenance of a world in which the Anglo-Saxon powers continue to play a dominant role. Rhodes, the great nineteenth century British imperialist, could not have imagined the raw technological power which installations like the GCSB’s Waihopai Station have added to the imperial mission, but he would have approved – wholeheartedly.
He would also have felt entirely vindicated by the current disposition of global economic, military and political power. His vision of the future was one in which the might of the British Empire and the United States had become fused in an Anglo-Saxon imperium to which the rest of the world paid homage.
Naturally, Rhodes foresaw the British Empire taking the lead role in this geopolitical drama. In the late nineteenth century, when he was at the summit of his remarkable career, the power of the USA remained veiled. (Although, the exertions of the Civil War, 1861-65, should have alerted Rhodes to America’s prodigious potential.) Even so, his most enduring legacy, the Rhodes Scholarship, was intended to create a special brotherhood of Anglo-Saxon leaders, drawn overwhelmingly from the British Empire and the USA, into whose hands the grand mission of bringing as much of the world as possible under Anglo-Saxon control could be safely reposed.
At the heart of Rhodes’ plan to create a global elite lay Oxford University – among whose dreaming spires the Rhodes Trust’s carefully selected scholars were expected to imbibe that noxious mixture of classical idealism, medieval obscurantism and contemporary chauvinism from which the British Empire had been fashioned.
Just how toxic this amalgam could be may be judged by Rhodes’ own justification for the creation of Anglo-Saxon hegemony:
“I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race. Just fancy those parts that are at present inhabited by the most despicable specimens of human beings what an alteration there would be if they were brought under Anglo-Saxon influence, look again at the extra employment a new country added to our dominions gives.”
Rhodes was by no means the only statesman in the British Empire to evince such crude and unabashed racism, and he certainly wasn’t the most peculiar. Not only was New Zealand’s Prime Minister from 1912 to 1925, William Ferguson Massey, a bigoted Orangeman and fervent British imperialist, but he was also a “British Israelite” – a believer in the absurd notion that the inhabitants of the British Isles are descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel and, therefrore, as God’s chosen people, destined to rule the world!
It is one of history’s ironies that when men felt free to believe in and give voice to such ideas, full Anglo-Saxon hegemony remained an imperial dream. A century later, with Anglo-Saxon hegemony an accomplished fact, only the most foolhardy British or American statesman would consider drawing the world’s attention to it.
Just occasionally however, the world’s reminded of the hegemon’s existence – as when our Prime Minister, John Key, spoke openly of the price of membership of “the club”. He was, of course, referring to New Zealand’s participation in the UK-USA (“Five Eyes”) Agreement alongside Canada and Australia. Although, helping the British and Americans to spy on the rest of the world is very far from being the only “service” members of the Anglo-Saxon “club” are required to provide.
Regardless of whether the power contributed is “hard” (military) or “soft” (financial and cultural) members of the Club are expected to keep their subscriptions current. Indeed, it is highly questionable as to whether resignation is even possible. Like the Hotel California, the Anglo-Saxon Club can be a hard place to leave.
Contributing To Anglo-Saxon Hegemony: The Waihopai Spy Base.
And yet, every January an apparently indefatigable group of protesters gather outside the Waihopai Spy Base to demand its closure and New Zealand’s withdrawal from the Five Eyes Agreement. The sub-text of their annual protest, however, is this country’s long association with the sins of Anglo-Saxon imperialism.
The protesters mission is to persuade New Zealanders to disentangle themselves once and for all from Rhodes’ vision: to cease and desist playing even the tiniest role in exerting Anglo-Saxon hegemony.
It’s a big ask. Who resigns voluntarily from the club that rules the world?
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 8 January 2016.


Guerilla Surgeon said...

The club only exists because the Americans pretty much outspend the rest of the world put together on defence. I doubt the American economy can sustain this for a great deal longer. They are neglecting infrastructure and industry. They import most of their electronic components from China, even those that go into the sophisticated overpriced bonbons that they used to control the rest of the world. (Now that's going to be interesting if there is ever a war with China. I doubt if it will crash in my lifetime, but I'm pretty sure it will in the lifetime of my kids.

Anonymous said...

Equating power with race.

For shame Chris trotter.

Replace Anglo Saxon with Jewish, and see what you get.

As if Obama was Anglo Saxon.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Anonymous@19:27

I do not equate race with power - that is what Cecil Rhodes did.

Barack Obama is in fact quite atypical of the American power structure.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Obama must be the subject of more dog whistles than your average Huntaway. It shows to me that many people in the US have not abandoned Cecil Rhodes's ideas on race. He has been subject to more obstruction and outright vilification than any other president in my lifetime, in many people's minds simply because he is black. I remember the headlines before he was elected the first time. "Is America ready for a black president." In spite of the fact that he's been elected twice I suspect the answer is a resounding no.

Charles E said...

Well anyway Anon, Obama is majority white (Anglo?) when it comes to race. By half a chromosome. And he was brought up entirely by two white women so essentially he is white. (Shows how silly 'white' and 'black' are)

Rhodes was typical of his day right across the world and his racial superiority views had scientific backing at the time. They were crap of course.

As was so common and still persists, race is confused with culture.
The British and Europeans were clearly culturally superior (include technology in 'culture').
And they still are. The evidence? The whole world is largely Western now and gets more so every day. Even the Chinese are rapidly Westernising. Which way do Middle Eastern & African refugees head? It's not east.

The question is were they and are they now morally superior too? I contend they are. See the Suffragette film and just another random example: Garrow's Law and you compare that to justice and morals in the Islamic world or the Asian or African one and there is a good argument that the club we belong to has a triple bottom line superiority (cultural, economic & moral).
May their five eyes continue to scan the horizon for those frightful foreigners and the equally foul enemy within. The latter born, nurtured and supported by Western culture but who hate it and always default to support for our enemies. Orwell wrote well about this type in England. The 'English intellectual who would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during "God Save the King" than of stealing from the poor box'. Or Canning describing the typical supporter of the French Revolution 'as a friend to every country but his own'. Could have been talking about Corbyn but we have similar here.

Guerilla Surgeon said...
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Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Well anyway Anon, Obama is majority white (Anglo?) when it comes to race. By half a chromosome. And he was brought up entirely by two white women so essentially he is white. (Shows how silly 'white' and 'black' are)".

True perhaps – but there are the broad physical differences that have consequences out of proportion to their importance. Try being a BLACK kid in the US playing with a toy gun for instance. Conservatives usually dismiss race only when it suits them. So it is with class.
Still, it's not as if there was overwhelming scientific backing for racial superiority/inferiority. In fact in Rhodes's time scientists were actually arguing about it. Hence the eugenics movement, and its opponents.

And Charles, if you think the Chinese are westernising, in anything other than technology – which by definition cannot be ascribed to one particular culture or another, (like science) because it just is – you are mistaken. I can't see how adopting certain scientific ideas can be described as westernising any more than modern mathematics can be described as Arabic. Which is where it derives.
The rest of it is just bubble and froth – a superficial gloss led by popular music.

"The latter born, nurtured and supported by Western culture but who hate it and always default to support for our enemies."

Got no objection to that, there are Oswald Mosleys everywhere. Many of them, it seems to me in the Security intelligence service. Foul enough. :)

Charles E said...

GS here are some examples of Chinese Westernising, which has been happening for centuries, despite considerable government resistance at times. Japan is another country that Westernised, and in their case very deliberately and without much colonial influence:
Marxism, Communism plus a smattering of Democracy
Suits & other clothing
Opera, Symphonies, pianos, Pop music, sport
Emigration (loads of it) and marrying Westerners (almost all are Chinese women marrying mostly Anglo men in the tens of 1000s p.a.)

Just a random sample which each taken alone may not seem so significant except I cannot think of even one good example of us adopting any significant Chinese cultural practice (Food? There must be some?), nor of many moving to China other than for a usually temporary job. Whereas there are millions of Chinese living around the world, mostly in Western countries, mostly Anglo ones. And millions more who would like to. Not much movement back either unlike some immigrants. That could change once China is more Westernised, ironically.

Then there is Hong Kong. When it ended as a colony its people overwhelmingly did not want to give up that odd Western practice of voting semi freely and the rule of British law. The place is still very Anglo and clearly wants to remain its own brand of Westernised China. Then there is Taiwan ... need I go on... Singapore.... Enough?
I think that is game, set and match to Rhodes, the arrogant bastard. But he may have been partly right, for the wrong reasons.. His Anglo culture has unparalleled appeal to the human race it appears. But it was not the contents of his testicles that made his 'race' successful.

But you are right about the awful prejudice some have about skin colour & race etc. However, such bigotry is not specific to the right I believe, they are just much more likely to express it. Their honesty deserves no credit at all. It is one thing I cannot abide about some who are otherwise on my 'side'.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Charles: How can capitalism be Western? It's a state that arises naturally when you get the rise of a middle-class. It was simply observed and written about, not necessarily particularly accurately, by Marx – but it's a process that could happen anywhere.
Christianity? Many Chinese have a smattering of Christianity and have had for years, but they also keep aspects of their traditional religions. Chinese have never had a problem adopting/respecting two or three religions at the same time. In fact many Asians are happy to do this.
The rest of it as I said, is fluff. Except perhaps for immigration which has been going on for thousands of years. China is essentially overpopulated, and living on millions of years and hundreds of feet of loess blown down from the north. But they haven't just migrated to the west. They have been migrations over much of Southeast Asia for one.
Hong Kong only obtained its "semi-free" voting just before the Brits moved out. It was a deliberate ploy on the part of the Brits to give it a semblance of democracy just before they left. And the of people who get really upset about losing it are a small minority. Hong Kong is all about money. As long as they are allowed to make it, they'll be relatively content for some time yet.
I don't see what marrying Western men has to do with westernisation. It simply to do with money – or the appearance of money. Russian and Ukrainian women do it too. As do Filipinos. It's not that they want to instantly adopt Western culture, but just want economic security. They are often told so I believe, that Western men don't cheat on their wives and are all rich :-).
What you're not getting is the essence of Western culture which is individualisation. Taken to extremes in the US. Many countries reject this, while accepting the fluff.
Interesting though, many Western countries if not adopting Chinese customs have certainly adopted the Japanese method of production, particularly for cars. That seems to be ubiquitous today. Of course they ignored the structure of Japanese society which allowed it to function without crapping out.
I notice you are carefully not commenting on the scientific aspects of racial superiority anymore :-). Then, as now Rhodes has been hit out of the park as they say.

Charles E said...

And GS you ignore the vast edifice of Communism which is entirely a Western wrong turn. And ironically only China and their cruel dependant N Korea still desperately cling to it. It's not fluff.
Capitalism? No I believe historians credit Venice with that invention, plus the English and the Dutch. And no it is not just a natural eminence of the middle class, it is about leverage of capital by debt finance, interest and insurance. these were invented. The Chinese have only recently tried it and so far not very successfully. Their idiotic government cannot keep its hands in its pockets. They always have to be in control, yet they cannot be with Capitalism. But I am impressed that a left winger has admitted there is something natural and organic about Capitalism. That is progress.
And Christianity. No it is growing fastest in China today I understand, which is remarkable. Estimates of approaching 200 million and mushrooming from here on.

Overall you cannot deny that the whole flow is in one direction for about the last 400 years, especially the last 200. Westernisation. It is accelerating if anything now as we head towards becoming one blended World, not just Western but heavily Westernised I predict. That partly explains why the Muslims are so angry, as they see their culture dying out. It will not fully but it lost the war long ago and will not prevail again as it did. And the Russians too. Angry, as they feel they should be at the top of the Western table yet they cannot bring themselves to maintain the disciplines and manners required of that. They may be Europeans but they are the least developed or progressive member of that club. I would not be as unkind as Nietzsche who described them as 'primitive' Europeans. He like Rhodes may have still be thinking with his blood. We have seen the errors of that now.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Your problem is Charles that in looking at capitalism you tend to ignore the rest of the world, as do many of the popular documentaries on television. Your thinking is unfortunately about that level, completely Eurocentric/chauvinistic. (Gosh your ideas are 19 century) One indeed stated that in 1200 and something the Pope was the most powerful person in the world. Genghis Khan might have had something to say about that. Capitalism wasn't invented – it developed. And secondly it was extant around the world in different places at different times to different extents. I suggest you read "how the West came to rule." By Alexander Anievas and Kerem Nişancioğlu. Then get back to me.

Charles E said...

Correction: I meant emanation not eminence, although the latter can be a growth on a bone which still is not a good fit

Charles E said...

Well GS you only responded to one point and also resort to your usual arrogant abuse.
So you lose.
I suggest you read the following:
Why the West Rules,for Now by Ian Morris
Civilisation by Niall Furguson, and also by him:
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
All modern publications which may just fill in some of the gaps in your Google dependent knowledge. I warn you though, they have hundreds of pages.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I only responded to 1 point Charles because that's the only one I hadn't taken care of in my previous post. As I said Christianity might be growing in China but they're not necessarily very Christian. They tend to borrow a bit from everyone.
Incidentally, if you regard my attack on your ideas as abuse then I'm sorry but they are not well formed.
And you haven't responded to my points about how you consider all the superficial trappings of westernisation to have some deep meaning. As I said it's just fluff.
As to your books: Morris is an archaeologist, and Ferguson is known to be terribly right-wing. Not to mention that his book is apparently for teenagers. By contrast my reference is a proper academic work.
Couple of things then.
You have a bit of a nerve calling me arrogant and my knowledge Google-based when-

A. You recommend a book for teenagers and

B. You can't actually spell Ferguson.

I would suggest you read Braudel's The Wheels of Commerce, but it might be a bit difficult for you. Approximately 650 pages, and written for adults. :-)