I often forget how transparent and honest certain US foreign policy analysts and officials can be when they discuss US imperialism; this is probably because even as they have frank, open discussions about the fact that the US is an imperial state, mainstream discourse constantly denies this characteristic. So I was caught off-guard when reading Zbigniew Brzezinski’s recent essay on the changing nature of global geopolitics and how the US should strategize to maintain its power.
…the United States is still the world’s politically, economically, and militarily most powerful entity but, given complex geopolitical shifts in regional balances, it is no longer the globally imperial power.
I was especially thrown for a loop when he identified the looming threat of postcolonial anti-imperialist movements to Western power:
…special attention should be focused on the non-Western world’s newly politically aroused masses. Long-repressed political memories are fueling in large part the sudden and very explosive awakening energized by Islamic extremists in the Middle East, but what is happening in the Middle East today may be just the beginning of a wider phenomenon to come out of Africa, Asia, and even among the pre-colonial peoples of the Western Hemisphere in the years ahead.
Don’t underestimate imperialist planners! Some of them, at least, are self-aware enough to be effective.