Puppets in Revolt:
Empires are built through the promotion and backing of local collaborators who act at the behest of imperial rulers. They are rewarded with the outward symbols of authority and financial handouts, even as it is understood that they hold their position only at the tolerance of their imperial superiors. Imperial collaborators are referred to by the occupied people and the colonial resistance as “puppets” or “traitors”; by western journalists and critics as “clients”; by the imperial scribes and officials as “loyal allies” as long as they remain obedient to their sponsors and paymaster.
Puppet rulers have a long and ignoble history during the 20th century. Subsequent to US invasions in Central America and the Caribbean a whole string of bloody puppet dictators were put in power to implement policies favorable to US corporations and banks and to back
Rule via puppets is characteristic of most empires. The British excelled in propping up tribal chiefs as tax collectors, backing Indian royalty to muster sepoys to serve under British generals. The French cultivated francophone African elite to provide cannon fodder for its imperial wars in Europe and
Post-Colonial Rule: Nationalists and Neo-Colonial Puppets
Powerful national liberation, anti-colonial movements following World War II, challenged European and US imperial dominance in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Faced with the enormous costs of reconstruction in Europe and Japan and domestic mass movements opposed to continuing colonial wars, the US and Europe sought to retain their economic holdings, military bases via ‘political collaborators’. They would assume administrative, military and political responsibilities, forging new links between the formally independent country and their old and new imperial masters. The economic and military institutional continuities between colonial and post-colonial regimes were defined as ‘neo-colonialism’.
Foreign aid gave birth to and enriched an ‘indigenous’ kleptocratic bourgeoisie which provided a fig leaf to imperial resource extraction. Military aid, training missions and overseas scholarships trained a new generation of military and civilian bureaucrats inculcated with imperial-centered ‘world views’ and loyalties. The military-police-administrative apparatus was perceived by imperial rulers as the best guarantor of the emerging order, given the fragility of neo-colonial rulership, their narrow base of appeal and the demands of the masses for substantive socio-economic structural changes to accompany political independence.
The post-colonial period was riven with long term large-scale anti-imperial social revolutions (
The post-colonial period of radical nationalist and socialist uprisings, lasted less than a decade in most of the three continents. By the end of the 1970’s, imperial backed coups overthrew national-populist and socialist regimes in the
The question arose as to the form the new
Western imperialism’s recovery from the defeats during the national independence struggles (1945-1970’s) included the massive rebuilding of a new imperial order. With the collapse of the
The spread of ‘free market ideology’ between 1980 – 2000, based on the ascendancy of neo-liberal rulers throughout Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and a large swathe of Asia opened the door for unprecedented pillage, privatizations (mostly the same thing) and the concentration of wealth. Corresponding to the pillage and the concentration of a unipolar military power, a group of ultra-militarists, so-called neo-conservatives ideologue, deeply imbued with the Israeli colonial mentality entered into the strategic decision-making positions in
History went into reverse. The 1990’s were inaugurated with colonial style wars, launched against Iraq and Yugoslavia, leading to the break-up of states and the imposition of puppet regimes in (Northern Iraq) ‘Kurdistan’, Kosova, Montenegro and Macedonia (former Yugoslavia). Military success, quick and low cost victories, confirmed and hardened the beliefs of the neo-conservative and neo-liberal ideologues that empire building was the inevitable wave of the future. Only an appropriate political trigger was necessary to mobilize the financial and human resources to pursue the new military driven empire.
The events of 9/11/2001 were thoroughly exploited to launch sequential wars of colonial conquest. In the name of a “word wide military crusade against terrorism”, plans were made, massive funds were allocated and a mass media propaganda blitz was launched, to justify a series of colonial wars.
The new imperial order began with the invasion of
Because of widespread nationalist and anti-Zionist influence within the existing Iraqi civilian, police and military apparatus, neo-conservative ideologues in
The Puppet Regime Imperative
Contrary to US and EU propaganda, the invasions and occupation of
Billions in military spending failed to create a civil service capable of governance. The colonial rulers had severe problems locating willing collaborators with technical or administrative experience. Those willing to serve lacked even a modicum of popular acceptance.
The colonial conquest and occupation eventually settled on establishing a parallel collaborator regime which would be financed and subordinate to the imperial authorities. Imperial strategists believed they would provide a political façade to ‘legitimate’ and negotiate with the occupation. The enticement to collaborate was the billions of dollars channeled into the colonized state apparatus (and easily plundered through phony ‘reconstruction’ projects) to compensate for the risks of political assassination by nationalist resistance fighters. At the pinnacle of the parallel regimes were the puppet rulers, each certified by the CIA for their loyalty, servility and willingness to sustain imperial supremacy over the occupied people. They obeyed
Hamid Karzai was chosen as the puppet ruler in
Puppets in Action: Between Imperial Subservience and Mass Isolation
The three puppet regimes have provided a fig leaf for the imperial savaging of the colonized people of the countries they preside over. Nouri al Maliki has over the past 5 years, not only justified the
The Pakistani puppet Arif Ali Zardari, despite strong resistance from sectors of the military and intelligence agencies, and despite 85% popular hostility to the
As the domestic resistance grows and as the imperial countries ‘will’ to continue a decade long war and occupation wanes, the puppet rulers, feel intense pressure to make, at least, token expressions of ‘independence’. The puppets begin to “talk back’ to the puppet-masters, attempting to play to the vast chorus of mass indignation over the most egregious occupation crimes against humanity. The colonial occupation begins to sink, under the weight of one-billion-dollars-per-week expenditures from depleted treasuries. The token troop withdrawals signal the growing importance and dependence on a highly suspect ‘native’ mercenary force, causing the puppets increasingly to fear for loss of office and life.
Puppet rulers begin to contemplate that it is time to probe the possibilities of making a deal with the resistance; time to voice popular indignation at civilian killings; time to praise the withdrawal of troops, but nothing consequential. No abandoning the protection of the imperial Praetorian Guard or, ‘god forbid’, the latest tranche of foreign aid. It’s an opportune time for Ali Zardari to criticize the
The puppet ‘revolts’ neither influence the colonial master nor attract the anti-colonial masses. They signal the demise of a