The Debate on Neo-Imperialism

February 14, 2024
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4 mins read

We are not in the discussion of Classical Roman Empire or its imperialism. The ideological debates against capitalism, which Lenin once tried to explain, have also lost their meaning. We are thinking within the framework of today’s necessities. In the current circumstances, we need to read the tableau that emerges in the struggle for power well so that we can better prepare for the future. While every powerful country or global power element is in a period where discussions about its intellectual capacity and the sovereignty conditions it brings forth have begun, we must understand well that we should not waste time with classical and ideological imperialism.

We say it’s the modern era. Especially from the 18th century onwards, European countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States have both strengthened and developed successively and in a mutually reinforcing manner. What will happen tomorrow? Unknown. Similar to the past, the existence of those who will say, “Let the power be mine!” in the future is not surprising at all. Their claims are already taking shape. But what are the parameters of holding power? At the very least, we need to know these.

In Latin, imperium means superior power, sovereignty, dominion. If explained with a strategic perspective, ultimately this is a matter of “power struggle.” If you are powerful, saying to others, “The resources, standards, and mode of governance I possess should also be in your possession” is an approach, as is saying, “You must be under my rule and influence!” But, I believe humanity is looking at the additional power that artificial intelligence will create in the same way today. To what extent does this create a “sovereignty” debate?

Starting from the age of geographical discoveries and the French Revolution, Europeans embarked on a race to seize the world’s resources until the end of the First World War. The reasons driving geographical discoveries can be explained by classical empires, the desire to seek new wealth, and gain power. The influence of Capitalism, which began to develop under these conditions, is a triggering factor. This is also the period known as the Age of Imperialism. Let’s look at today. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Digital Age, an intense period of innovation has begun. If a new sovereignty debate arises regarding artificial intelligence, we cannot remain indifferent to it. Perhaps it may even be necessary to call this the “Age of Neo-Imperialism.” The main actors of this age are the powers dominating the new sovereignty phenomenon, highlighted by the power of artificial intelligence.

Whether it’s a good thing or bad, it’s related to humanity! We have become citizens of a world where we cannot live without technological tools. From smart phones to artificial intelligence-powered devices. For example, in the Age of Imperialism and within modernism, if there hadn’t been some pressures in the world, we might not have had these kinds of tools today. We cannot know… But the topic of discussion today is not these tools; it’s what comes next!

Speaking of main actors, as countries, with the competition, synergy, and amalgamation of countless global technology companies, the United States and China are also creating a new power component. This also affects existing laws and socio-economic conditions of humanity, preparing for a new change. Globalization dynamics are preparing a new stage for humanity.

In this context, powers like Russia have fallen behind. They stand before us as representatives of the old era and ideological weight. We can see this when we look at current wars and conflicts. Nowadays, thoughts solely based on the threat of weapons and direct occupation indicate a monotonous and inadequate situation. As a country with geopolitical power and a developing nation, the Russian Federation is one of those today who holds “the most regressive” ideas.

Let’s look at the result:

Then we need to express this: Is there a development towards neo-colonialism in line with globalization dynamics? It could be, but this debate will always exist.

For this new situation, the process of wars and tensions has already begun… At an increasing pace, the world is drifting towards chaos. Because there is deep uncertainty in the environment. Maybe it’s necessary to define it from the right point…

The pace, dynamism, and interaction in the world have increased. Development is happening, and power balances constantly signal “changing hands.”

Reacting shouldn’t mean going backwards; it should mean finding a way forward and showing the will to strengthen decisively!

Where do friend-enemy definitions come from? Why this “enmity” pressure?..

Every country wants to increase its power and enhance its influence. This is a very simple and fundamental issue: more prosperity and security for its own people, and a fairer system for the rest of the world!

Who wants to be weak? While globalization and new Industrial Revolutions change a lot of understandings, naturally, we are within the nature of the current power struggle and shaking.

Those who want to pull you back are the real obstacles. Those who will take you forward are your real competitors. Forget about friend or foe! Now you have a race to win and tough competitors. Every race requires a lot of sweat and following the right strategies.

Today, a new competitor has been added: artificial intelligence (AI)! Don’t be surprised if I mention the era of New Intelligence (Capacity) Wars!

Today’s understanding is based on increasing the areas of influence within global opportunities and strengthening, not falling behind in value creation competition. Rather than constantly saying “down with imperialism” like the Russians, I would like you to look at it from the perspective of “what value can I create, how much can I sell in which major market?” Today, at the country level, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, South Korea, at the union level, the European Union, and at the level of global companies, constantly increasing in number and innovating, essentially, these are the ones challenging the values and being taken into account. The idea is to increase the number of those taken into account and value creators!.. So, the issue of “being taken into account” should be a new topic of discussion, don’t you think?

He was born in Çanakkale in 1961. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1982 with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He served in various intelligence roles as a staff officer both domestically and abroad. He worked as an intelligence instructor and School Commander. He signed many documents published in the Armed Forces. He participated in the Bosnia and Kosovo Operations under NATO. He undertook special duties and administration in counter-terrorism efforts both domestically and internationally. He served as a Military Attaché. He retired in 2007 following his position as the Director of Air Force Intelligence. He held senior management positions in the private sector both domestically and internationally. He has published works, one of which is his latest book titled "Barış Pınarı." He is currently consulting, blogging, and providing commentary in the media on Intelligence, Politics, Defense, Security, Strategy, and Geopolitics.

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