people art earth blue

Photo by Marina Leonova on

Europe is discovering that they did not conduct an adequate SWOT Analysis within their own borders and forget that what is called Eastern Europe or Europe of East is not completely European sphere of influence but Slavic and Middle Asian cultural territory connected through many centuries of similarities and communalities that start where the Roman and Greek Civilizations have started and perished.

The European Union cannot be built on distortions and wars as the Common Market, the European Community have justified its existence and perennity as a shield against the repetition of past inter-Europeans wars. The past wars in the Slavic regions of former Yugoslavia, Albania and other Balkans countries with the intervention of the U.S. army have demonstrated the fragility of such belief that construction of an integrated market can neutralize wars.

Lessons should be learned from such a recent past that wars conducted in other countries for the sole purpose to control their primary resources and their underground wealth can act also as stimulants for other countries to arm themselves and be ready to defend their borders and the sovereignty of their regimes with all the means existing.

Africa and China: Targets of European Imperialism and Colonial Expansion

Exotic African Moroccan in the Eyes of Colonial Ethnocentrism

To respond to this kind of approach and explanation, I decided to draw an overview of the colonial policies and strategies of the European countries that were applied in Africa, which you can read in the following short presentation.

Real Roots of Under-Development of Africa

International competition and mutations were the center of power in parallel to the shift of the main maritime roads of commerce.  France became more isolated and restricted within the limits of its own regional decadence. Africa became the prey of decaying France that could not challenge the prominence of the British War Navy.  France witnessed a backlash with the combination of the following internal disturbances and instabilities such as the direct consequences of the French Revolution, the double defeat and dismissal of the Napoleonic State, and the Rise of the Communism and Socialism as voice of distressed popular French masses.  Within these radical changes and impacts, the French Elites, la Grande Bourgeoisie, reinstated the notion of Empire by bringing back in power the Orleanist against the legitimists “the Bourbon” by advocating the intronisation of Louis-Philippe as “King of France”, the Vagabond who became King with social tones while advocating and allowing the invasion of Algeria as royal gesture to stimulate a social cohesion around him with nationalistic and religious slogans and propaganda and that was in 1830.  France had opened a pandora box by intruding its internal social problems within a colonial policy seeking even the toppling of local authorities and regimes and to replace them with local puppets and collaborators such it became the case in Tunisia and later on in Morocco in 1912.

Between 1830 and 1912, the destiny of Africa was decided in intrigues, complots, covert actions and also sealed in treacheries.   Soldiers from African colonies were used to subdue and implement a policy of “terre brulee – burned lands” and starvation to impose the colonial will of the Parisian Elites.  These infanticide and proxy-wars genre have left deep stigmates in origin imported and later on embedded on the memories and the personalities of Africa like they have all exaggerated the local and regional misunderstanding, exacerbated the ethnical differences and increased the convoitise and exploitation of Africa by the West with the benediction of local allies and collaborators. This move by the newly emerged French Colonial Bourgeoisie was effectively an emulated strategy of what Great Britain was conducting in other places of this world as forced integration in the system of international credit and international transactions under the directives of London as the new world financial center.  

These new international banking transactions and policies were based on the British principle that nations can receive all the External Debt or the Foreign Direct Investment that will be writing and denominated in paper while their payments of the related interests and principals should be versed to London Financiers only in Gold.  henceforth, countries were unable to pay any of this external debt spiral that was increased given the higher price they had to pay in gold to buy manufactured products and the low payment and evaluation they receive in paper for the sale of  their raw materials and primary products.

China Facing the Western Expansionist Interests

China reacted with opposition to the West’s increasing pressure to open to trade.   China had long maintained isolationist tendencies, with limited commerce with the West. China welcomed foreign trade, but western merchants had no privileges there and were confined to Canton, where they could only deal with the Co-hong, a group of traders (Edwardes, 1973).

This situation was not to be accepted by the Western nations for long, however, and by 1834 Lord Napier was sent by Britain to pressure the Chinese into allowing a more open trade. The Chinese government rejected his requests, and animosity arose between the two nations, with Chinese mobs surrounding the merchants’ quarter in Canton (Edwardes, 1973). Tensions eased temporarily, but the situation precipitated due to the British illicit trade in opium. In 1839, the new imperial commissioner Lin Tze-hsu arrived in Canton and confiscated 20,000 chests of opium from the British. Further disagreements, especially concerning the British’s refusal to hand over to Chinese authorities a sailor accused of killing a Chinese man, led to an armed naval confrontation in November 1839. This marked the beginning of the first of the Opium Wars, which would result in Chinese defeat and the establishment of a system of unequal treaties (Edwardes, 1973) (Martin, 1968) (Fairbank and Reischauer,1989).

Such manipulations of the financial market was one of the driving force to impose to China through the Opium War the opening of its internal market for the sole benefit of the European mercantile and imperialistic classes.  The following years in Europe, irreversible institutional changes took place.   In France, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte became the only President (1848–52) of the French Second Republic and, as Napoleon III, the Emperor (1852–70) of the Second French Empire.  

Dubbed as French Empire, the colonial policy needed to legitimize such denomination and effectively Napoleon III doubled the area of the French overseas empire in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.  On the other hand, his army’s intervention in Mexico, which aimed to create a Second Mexican Empire under French protection, with Maximilian and Carlotta ended in disastrous adventure.While this taking place, Africa was transformed from a reservoir for the Slave Transatlantic Trade to a land for the exploitation of the natural and human resources.  This modification of approaches was also implemented with the harsh conditions of a colonial policy defended and praised by the Western Exploiters as bringing modernization and civilization to retarded indigenous and primitive people of tiers counties and countries. France jumped on the back of the British Wagon and given its unpreparedness and the opportunistic drive toward such sudden pretentious conversion, Germany and other European Countries felt that their shares were not adequate to their real size of importance on the global scale and within this new imperialist exchequer negotiated within  their presence. This inter-rivalry among nascent and existing imperialistic designs, despite all the Conferences held from Berlin to Algesiras was one of the major reason in the advent of the First World War.  

This international conflagration had imposed to France to really grab and stick its nails and teethes on Africa given the new powerful challenges France faced even from its own temporary and conjectural ally the other expansionists such as the Great Britain international Financiers. Similarly, African Continent such as Morocco, were in the best case presented as exotic, natural, virgin and unexploited lands for the purpose to attract colonists. While Sub Saharan Africa become the land of  conversion and the space for those who believed in transferring through Christianity the light of knowledge, civilization and progress.  This is how Imperial Europe considered Africa and promising its people that by adapting Christian liturgy approaches they will be extracted from their lethargic state, they will be rewarded and will acquire characteristics common to more developed societies. Within the frame and the evolution of this ethnocentric and the related demeaning relationship which were categorized by many contemporaries authors and analysts as exploitative and being the reason of all the difficulties and problems that have became the hurdles and obstacles to a real development of not only Africa but the Entire “Third World” Countries.  

Africa and Western Countries: War as Means of Control and Exploitation

The participation of European states in wars and conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia have only exacerbated the erosion of peace making and the investment in means and ways to share the benefit of progress and well being.   Countries with the most valuable resources become the social spaces of poverty, decadence, despair and authoritarianism doubled with a populist ideologies that carved its reason to exist in condemning the relations with countries who are considered as the pulpit and the causes of such despair and regress.

The impoverishment was even accentuated by the technocratic rulers who have been trimmed and bred by western schools of thoughts and visions rooted in the new liberalism drive.  The ideal model of development became identified in the recommendations propelled by the terms of the conditionality imposed by the international banking and financing institutions driven by the World Bank and the International Monetary Funds and the European Central Bank as other regional affiliates or similar institutions.

Recipes of disaster are cooked for the social implosion, the overthrow of regimes and the spread of antagonistic movements that spread in the most already vulnerable countries.  

Western Europe and their principal ally were then confronted by shrinking space of exploitation and expansion.  The generation of separatists and leaders of independent movements of liberation were no longer there to play the role of the puppets and pseudo-leaders on the scene that had no more the same audience or the same script to play on it.

The Golden Key given to Saddam Hussein became the little tube held by the US Secretary of State Department as proof of the existence of chemical bombs in Iraq and the tent dressed in the yard of the French Presidential Palace, l’Elysee became the shroud for Kaddafi with the help of local agitators and compatriots who returned their coats.  Such stratagem had not succeeded in Syria, Turkey, Afghanistan, Yemen and many other African countries.

Multipolarism became the shield against these attempts coming from the west as a hurricane to change the order and destroy all what stood in its passage.  

Africa Decade of Geostrategic Rivalries

The containment strategy is now changing the camp and it is no longer cultivated and launched from the hotbeds and the heartlands of the Western Metropolitan services of intelligence, it is coming now from the East with winds of change and resistance.  Investments and participation in mining and natural resources extraction and transformation was conducted in parallel to setting new infrastructure projects and urban works of modernization.

These localisation of investments needed an increase of local and regional stability of the regimes in place that are considered as collateral for the loans and credits dispensed.   These concerns imposed on the integration of another layer of garanties in form of fortresses for protection and prevention were laid down in many areas of vital importance, including the formation of the local armies and supply of weapons by the countries providers of such financial and strategic services.  

Turkey, Russia, China, India and South Africa took the lead in developing new kinds of East – South to South relations presented as win-win cooperation and collaboration without advancing democratic or liberal ideological pretensions or exigences for their direct participation.

China Regional Snapshot: Sub-Saharan Africa

Such flexibility in conducting business operations and negotiating geopolitical presence and expansion favored the establishment of current regimes that accepted even direct military and body-guard protection and intelligence from Russia and China.  Military bases became the next terrain of entente and mutual interests.

Africa New Theatre of the Rivalry between Europe, USA and China


Where are the European Countries in such a change of regional games? 

European countries were and are still identified in the reasons of the backwardness of Africa and the Third World economies.  From Slavery to Imperialism, African and Asian countries continue to look at Western based powers and authorities as the nest of military interventions and invasions.


Doctoral thesis CHERKAOUI Said El Mansour: ECONOMIE POLITIQUE DU SUBCAPITALISME EN AMERIQUE LATINE (1830-1930) : ARGENTINE – BRESIL – CHILI – PEROU. Réf ANRT : 13965 Identifiant BU : 92PA030099 – 403 pages – Disponible au format microfiche

Craig, A. & Reischauer, E. (1978) ‘Japan’s Response to the West’ in Japan: Tradition and Transformation. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Edwardes, M. (1973) ‘China and Japan’, in Johnson, D. (ed.) The World of Empires. London: Benn, pp. 289-333.

Fairbank, J.K. & Reischauer E.O. (1989) China: Tradition & Transformation. Rev. edn.Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Hall, J. W. (1979) Japan from Prehistory to Modern Times. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company.

Hao, Y. & Wang, E. (1980) ‘Changing Chinese views of Western relations, 1840-95’, in Twitchett, D. and Fairbank, J. (eds.) The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 2. 1st edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lockwood, W. W. (1956) ‘Japan’s Response to the West: The Contrast with China’, World Politics,9(1), pp.37-54, JSTOR [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: 27 Nov 2012).

Martin, C. (1968) The Boxer Rebellion. New York: Abelard-Schuman Limited.

Moulder, F. V. (1977) Japan, China, and the Modern World Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Source: Extract from Written by: China and Japan’s Responses to the West in the 19th Century, GIULIA VALENTINI, NOV 4 2013, Giulia Valentini – Written at:  University of Sussex – Written for: Justin Rosenberg – Date written: December 2012 

Leave a Reply