February 19, 2020

Ilhan Omar Versus Western Imperialism

“Yes, Ilhan Omar sometimes gets unfair criticism. Still, her comments on Western imperialism are absurd.

Standing alongside Bernie Sanders this weekend, Omar observed, “I am beyond honored and excited for a president who will fight against Western imperialism and fight for a just world.”

What on Earth is Omar talking about? Western imperialism is dead and buried in 2019, and it has been so since the Suez Crisis of 1956.

Whatever you think about the rights and wrongs of the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the retention of U.S. forces in eastern Syria, those actions did not involve the theft of resources, nor did they impose viceroys on oppressed peoples. Indeed, as evidenced by protests in Iraq and Lebanon, the only imperialists on the march right now are the Iranian imperialists, the ones primarily responsible for those nations’ present misery.

My gripe with Omar here goes beyond questions of history. In linking opposition to Western foreign policy to the arrival of “a just world,” Omar suggests that the West is the main obstacle to a better world. This laughable idea is central to a broader philosophy of the Western far-left, which sees Western foreign policy as something centered on the theft of resources and rights from foreigners.

This idea of a new Western “imperialism” and “colonialism” assumes Westerners are taking what is not ours and using it for ourselves. British far-left writer George Monbiot recently described how Western “colonialism is a great big vacuum cleaner which sucks wealth out of other parts of the world and concentrates it in the imperial center.””

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