The New Colonialism
The idea of peacekeeping is a relatively new one. For the few hundred years prior to World War ii, any military safeguarding of another nation would generally have been provided under the umbrella of colonialism.
As the 20th century progressed, the very notion of colonialism became reviled. The efforts to throw off the colonial yoke were substantial, and, in large part, successful. The countries that demanded independence received it.
But now, some of these countries are inviting the colonizers back in.
One striking example is in Liberia. When, after weeks of receiving pleas from the Liberians and from the United Nations, the U.S. finally sent a team of Pentagon officials to Liberia to assess the situation, “As soon as they arrived they were mobbed, not in anger but in joy, by tens of thousands of exuberant Liberians everywhere they went. … [T]he Liberians—at least for now—actually want a sizeable U.S. presence to drive out President Charles Taylor, establish law and order, stability and security, and then stay to protect them” (United Press International, July 10).
Another notable instance of this phenomenon is in Sierra Leone, where British forces have been keeping the peace since 2000 at the invitation of their former colony.
At the same time, the Solomon Islands, also a former British protectorate, has invited Australia to lead a peacekeeping force on its ground. On July 21, the Guardian said, “[W]hat is happening in the Solomon Islands looks strikingly like a return to the bad old days of colonialism.”
Add to this the return of the Belgians to the Congo, the Germans once again patrolling off the Horn of Africa, and French aid being welcomed by its former colonial interests in northern Africa.
Even when African nations attempt to copy the “peacekeeping” initiatives of the Western democracies, it seems they are doomed to failure and turn to the UN, EU or their old colonial masters to bail them out.
Few countries, given the choice, would ask to be colonized again. The modern idea of peacekeeping, however, has many parallels with the colonialist governments of old. Modern peacekeeping movements offer security, structure and the prospect of material wealth—similar resources to those offered by the former colonial “oppressors.”
Of course, many may feel that these actions aren’t colonialist in nature, but simply a last-ditch effort to rescue these countries from desperate situations. But the Guardian replies, “Those who point out that this is simply a stop-gap measure to get the country back on its feet can be met with a lesson from history: The favorite protest of [Britain] as it spread its flag around the world was that its empire was an unwilling one. British colonialists would mutter into their brandies that if only those natives could sort out their affairs properly, the imperial administration would simply wither away” (ibid.).
And the parallels don’t end there.
A Case in Point
No situation demonstrates the futility of nations to govern themselves effectively more than that which is currently extant across the continent of Africa. Africa was colonized, with varying degrees of harshness, by the Belgians, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Italians and Germans. But the least harsh and most benign of colonial powers in Africa were the British.
Lord Palmer once said that the British inherited an empire in a fit of absent-mindedness. There’s was not a deliberate, overt, militaristic effort to acquire empire. Believe it or not, the British were given their great empire, ruling two thirds of the Earth’s surface during the whole of the 19th and half of the 20th centuries, by the Eternal God! (Write for your free copy of the United States and Britain in Prophecy for a detailed explanation.)
What was the African legacy of “Pax Britannia,” that century of peaceful rule that Britain imposed on the world in its glorious Victorian era? The nations of Africa today are in various states of turmoil and poverty. Is this the result of colonial rule? Consider a few examples.
For Southern Rhodesia, known today as Zimbabwe, the first half of the 20th century was a period of material progress and relative economic prosperity. This was when the British ruled. There was a well-developed infrastructure, food for the population, and a relatively low rate of disease. In Zambia, formerly Northern Rhodesia, the British developed a strong mining industry at the beginning of the 20th century. Zambia also had one of the highest rates of educational expansion on the continent. South Africa, once the largest African nation within the British Empire, amassed wealth from the extraction, processing and export of vast mineral resources—gold, diamonds and heavy metals. This supplied employment to and generally raised the standard of living of the native populace.
The story is similar in many of the other African nations: When the British came, they established infrastructure, industry and a sense of law. These were prosperous nations.
Yet, since colonial times, there has clearly been a change: That wealth and prosperity is rapidly disappearing. Disease, political turmoil and civil violence have all become common characteristics of virtually all African nations.
One of the most striking examples of the current African condition is Zimbabwe. In 1965, Ian Smith, then prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, unilaterally declared independence from Britain. Robert Mugabe, a Marxist, led guerrilla warfare to remove Smith from office, succeeding in 1980.
In recent years, President Mugabe has seized the land of white farm owners, providing no compensation. He allows violence to reign against those who wish to remain, and threatens them with imprisonment if they endure. Over 6,000 farms were seized from white land owners, who were producing most of the domestically consumed food and earning about 40 percent of Zimbabwe’s annual foreign currency (Voice of America, June 3, 2002). In other words, President Mugabe and other leaders used the idea of righting the supposed wrongs of colonialism to break Zimbabwe’s agricultural backbone, crushing the country financially. President Mugabe’s desire to wipe out every remaining trace of colonial influence includes wiping out the prosperity that Zimbabwe once enjoyed, initially established under British colonial rule.
South Africa also is reverting toward the state of other decolonized African nations. In his January 9, 2002, syndicated article, “South Africa After Apartheid,” economist Walter Williams wrote, “Each South African day sees an average of 59 murders, 145 rapes and 752 serious assaults out of its 42 million population. … Twelve percent of South Africa’s population is hiv-positive, but President [Thabo] Mbeki says that hiv cannot cause aids.”
Back in 1987, Williams wrote, “Wouldn’t it be the supreme tragedy if South African blacks might ponder at some future date, like the animals of Jones’ Manor (George Orwell’s Animal Farm), whether they were better off under apartheid? That’s why blacks must answer, what’s to come after apartheid? Black rule alone is no guarantee for black freedom.”
Indeed, it is not. Since he penned those words, it has become evident that many African nations are far worse off. So much so, that some are coming to the point of inviting the colonizers back in as “peacekeepers.”
The idea of colonialism is revolting to many educated in the post-colonial, revisionist, liberal-socialist system. Yet, the facts show that many of the former colonies were substantially better off under the British Crown.
What the revisionists would prefer we forget is that the British brought a sense of political and societal order to lands of tribal chaos. Lands once deemed uninhabitable were developed into bustling areas of agriculture and commerce. The British took possession of otherwise unknown resource-rich lands and exploited them, which improved human living conditions.
These facts are clear. The reason some nations are inviting colonizers in under the guise of peacekeeping is because they believe they may be able to bring living conditions back up to where they were during colonial times.
Of course, improved living conditions do not necessarily speak to the morality of the colonizers. Though the Bible prophesied thousands of years ago that the British peoples, the most effective colonizers in history, would become a “multitude of nations” (Gen. 48:19)—the greatest commonwealth ever on the planet—there is no corresponding prophecy that they would be a righteous people.
Herbert Armstrong wrote, “… God had promised this birthright to the descendants of Abraham unconditionally because of Abraham’s faithfulness and obedience (Gen. 26:5). God was bound by His promise to confer this stupendous national blessing regardless of the righteousness or wickedness of the descendants” (The United States and Britain in Prophecy, 1980 edition).
What’s more, God prophesied that, through Abraham’s descendants (which He promised would “spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south”—Gen. 28:14), much of the world would be blessed. God told Abraham, “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed”(Gen. 26:4; see also Gen. 22:17-18).
These blessings were evident in the foreign lands that God bestowed upon the British, in particular. Tremendous oil and gas reserves, rich agricultural regions and strategic seaports exist within the landmasses colonized by Britain. In Victorian times, there was a general belief in Britain that God gave the British such colonies and such resources. In turn, the colonies themselves were blessed. They benefitted heavily from British rule, from British management of their land. In reality, they benefited from God’s blessings on the British, despite imperfections in British implementation of its policies, and despite what revisionist critics might say.
What liberals and revisionists would have us ignore is that many of these areas have fallen into a shambles since the British withdrawal: economic peril, political instability, racial strife, civil war, intense border disputes, unprecedented famine and disease tend to be the rule rather than the exception in many a former colony.
Granted, every nation on Earth has its problems. And perhaps no nation can be expected to have smooth sailing immediately after being handed the reins to its own government.
But why all these problems since the dismantling of the British Empire? Because when Britain left these nations, the blessings God had bestowed upon Britain left with the British.
When Britain left its colonies, dictators and corrupt political figures took control. Since then, these countries have been plagued with leaders who do not have the people’s best interests at heart. As a result, many African nations have been crippled. Many of the leaders who have brought about these conditions will continue to use the history of colonialism as an excuse to cause further damage to their countries, denying their own people the quality of life they want for themselves.
Though the chief blame for the African condition must fall on these despots in power since the withdrawal of the UK, Britain is not guiltless. For, had they obeyed God, the blessings that were conferred on them, and, through them, on the nations of the British Empire, would have remained and multiplied. You can read about the blessings Britain would receive for obedience in Leviticus 26, and the curses that would come—and did come—from disobedience.
The removal of these blessings, evident in both the former colonies and within the mother country, should serve as a warning for Britain and the world! Just as the “nations of the earth” once benefitted from the blessings upon Abraham’s descendants, so are they now being adversely affected by the removal of those blessings.
Recolonizing today won’t help; the blessings are gone—and they aren’t coming back without national repentance! There isn’t a nation on Earth that can bring these blessings back to Africa or anywhere else right now. And, as history shows, peacemakers rarely bring peace!
As the rebellion of mankind continues, so will its curses, culminating in a horrendous World War iii, what the Bible calls the Great Tribulation, if they do not repent soon.
A Coming, Perfect Empire
Man cannot bring peace to man, whether in the form of colonialism, or in the neocolonialism known as peacekeeping. No human empire or man-ruled government can bring perfect peace or abundance to any part of the world. The best anyone can hope for is a bandage on the cancerous problems that afflict the ex-colonial nations. Before real peace can be achieved, human nature will have to undergo a fundamental change.
Thankfully, in just a short while, Jesus Christ will return and set up a divine government that will do this. It will be one administration ruling the entire world. It will be a universal empire. It will affect every nation on Earth (Isa. 9:7). Incomprehensibly more than the British Empire ever could do, it will bring rich blessings beyond measure—beyond imagination!
No government of man can bring about such things. But under God’s government, it will happen. The whole Earth will come under the perfect government of Jesus Christ—a government of peace and prosperity that will last forever.