Imperialism: An economic perspective
Perhaps 'Imperialism' is the most talked-about issue as well as the most crucial word in political history even in contemporary international relations. However, it is not so easy to define 'Imperialism' because it has various perspectives, and empirical research to be interpreted. Even so, it is not only a word but also terminology that defines not only the US's hegemonic 'power politics' in the world order or China's 'economic reign' but also defines every kind of predominance and supremacy of every state in every aspect.
However, in this modern era, political analysts describe 'Imperialism' from the perspective of 'Colonialism'. Moreover, imperialism is meaningless without colonialism, scholars say. But if we go forward to this topic following a specific way, we have to say, imperialism is an upshot of 'Capitalism'. Talking about its political arena, 'Imperialism' doesn't imply only the annexation of territory like what Israel is doing in the West Bank (Palestine) but it pertains to every aspect of the international politics in this contemporary era. This article dealt with only the modern version of imperialism from the economic perspective with assimilating the history of the Cold War.
As an element of colonialism, the holders of capitalist society use a monopolistic way to seize raw materials and markets. And it is very important to get more capital to invade more territory. That's why sociologists explained that 'The pressure of extra capital' caused imperialism and colonialism. Notably, Lenin claimed that the rising of the states in the early 20th Century through an imperialistic way was an important cause of WWI (1914-18).
After that, the Cold War period (1947-91) was the extremist level of capitalism. Another point is the Soviet Union and The US got involved in a rivalry to become 'a world power'. They seized and divided the small states for establishing their interest in the name of 'Capitalism and Communism'. For Instance, Vietnam, Germany, and Korea got divided as a result of that 'ideological rivalry'. More or less, the world was going through the 'Bipolar World Order'.
Eventually, after the 1990-91's, Soviet Union (1922-91) had collapsed because of the weak policies of Michael Gorbachev (1931-present) that's why the Soviet Union couldn't stand again with its massive power. And for this reason; the world order became 'Unipolar and US-centric'.
Focusing on the main object of this article, in this contemporary, China started its journey like the Soviet Union to challenge the US' political economy. Hence, Trade War (2018) started between the US and China after the starting of the Trump Government (2016) but Xi Jinping has many economic measures to challenge the sanctions of the US on Chinese products. Moreover, China is not only a giant in the economy but also a military power which is so important to be discussed.
For instance, its military alliance (aid to) with Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Russia is so important in the 'Eastern Bloc' as well as the seizing of the part of the Galwan Valley by making a rivalry with India are recent examples of Chinese military power.
China's 'One Country, Two Systems' is a new type of policy that gave perfection to the Xi Jinping Government in the economic aspect. Also, 'One Belt, One Road' is the most influential economic policy China has ever taken. More importantly, last year, the US banned hundreds of Chinese goods and technological items like Huawei, and consequently, China also banned a lot of goods and technological materials from the US like Google, Apple, and so on. These types of sanctions are new 'telegram' to people--new type of 'Imperialism'.
This economic policy of 'Imperialism' is not granted by only the US or China but many economic giants like Japan had taken the same policy to increase its dominance in an economic world. For Instance, Japan is going to give a loan of 329 million dollars to the Bangladesh government in the following month as help during this COVID-19 pandemic time. This loan will be spent on fulfilling the budget of 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal years.
'Free Market Economy or Free trade', whatever we say, is a sign of 'Economic Imperialism' in many aspects. 'Chinese Economy' is not also out of this type of 'Imperialism' but it follows the highest level of 'Soft Policy and Functionalist Approach' which help it to increase its economic propagation in developing countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Srilanka, Nepal, and some African countries through 'One belt One Road Corridor' policy. To be mentioned wholeheartedly, it is nothing but an 'Imperial Game and Neo-Cold War' that China and The US are playing.
But the most affected countries from this type of game are developing countries. Following the event of the Galwan Valley, Bangladesh was in dilemma to stick up for India and China. As a 'Soft Policy', China withdrew tariffs and trade barriers from more than a hundred goods and made a strong relation with Bangladesh that increased the political anxiety of Indian diplomats. As a result, India is going to appoint a new ambassador to Dhaka, an unofficial source says. Thus, a developing country gets involved in a crucial 'imperial game'.
The developing countries like Bangladesh should be more careful about its 'Economic Policy' as well as 'Foreign Policy'. 'Friendship to All and Malice towards None' should be applied in a diplomatic way like the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh MujiburRahman said, "We are a small country, we want friendship to all and malice towards none". Ensuring the interest of the country should be the main aim of policymakers and thus a state can save its interest and can sustain in an 'Imperial Game'.
The writer is a student, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka