Colonial powers take advantage of people they perceive to be weak and subservient in the name of sanctions, geopolitical interests, or the alleged “rules-based order.” This is colonialism 2.0 and how the US and UK take what they want from lesser powers.
There is an old joke that still rings true. A child asks his parent, “Why are there pyramids in Egypt?” The parent answers, “Because they were too big to take to Britain.” Naturally, a lot of truthful things are said in jest. There is a fictitious account that claims Vladimir Lenin enjoyed accompanying friends to the British Museum to explain how and from where the artifacts there were taken back when he was living in exile in London.
One could have believed that the era of colonial robbery was over, yet one would be drastically mistaken. Examples from today abound. Of course, the US’s freezing of $7 billion from Afghanistan’s treasury stands out; the US continues to hold onto these funds even as it observes Afghans start to starve to death. It appears that the US thinks it is entitled to recompense after destroying Afghanistan throughout 20 years of war and even before that by sponsoring terrorist groups like the mujahideen. People in the West who merely think they may take everything they want frequently use this upside-down form of logic in their thinking.
Similarly, the US is currently looting most of Syria’s oil, a nation that has been wrecked in no small part by Washington-backed extremists in a campaign to depose the elected government, even as Syria struggles from acute electrical blackouts. Thus, “US occupation forces and their mercenaries,” referring to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), “steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region,” accounting for approximately 83% of Syria’s daily oil production, according to the Syrian Oil Ministry.
According to figures from the ministry, the US operation to steal oil has caused damages to the Syrian oil industry of “about $105 billion since the beginning of the war until the middle of this year.”
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Along with the financial losses suffered by the oil industry, the statement also mentioned “losses of life, including 235 martyrs, 46 injured and 112 kidnapped.”
The US’s theft from Russia ranks among its biggest crimes. The US seized an astounding $300 billion of Russian treasury money that were placed abroad following the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. The Russian people were clearly greatly harmed by this, and it was conducted without any due process or even a single critical comment from Western pundits.
Other instances of how the US has treated Venezuela abound. Presently , the US is attempting to take a commercial 747 airliner from Venezuela on the pretext that it was once owned by an Iranian airline with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which Washington has labeled as terrorists. This justification may seem flimsy, but the US really does not need one. Furthermore, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Even as Washington eases restrictions on Venezuelan oil to support its own economy, it has already taken Venezuela’s largest single source of income, the US-based oil corporation CITGO, and is in the process of selling it off in pieces. While everything was going on, the UK made the decision to keep the over $1 billion in gold that Venezuela foolishly deposited at the Bank of England for storage. To make matters worse, the US keeps berating Venezuela for the suffering its citizens face as a direct result of this looting.
Alex Saab, a businessman from Colombia, is still being persecuted by the US because he tried to get food and medicine for Venezuelans who were refused access to them due to US sanctions. In 2020, while on a mission Caracas hired him to carry out, Saab was apprehended in Cabo Verde at the US’s request. He was en route to Iran to broker a deal for humanitarian supplies, including medicine to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the lack of an extradition agreement between the US and Cabo Verde, Saab was transferred to a federal jail in Miami, Florida, and he remains there as the US “justice” system moves slowly to settle his case. In other words, not only has the US openly plundered from Venezuela, but it also goes to tremendous efforts to thwart attempts to provide the people of Venezuela with the necessities of life.
All of this shows that colonial habits persist, and the US is always willing to use tried and true methods of extortion, whether to get out of one of the worst economic crises in recent recollection or to force other countries to cooperate with its geopolitical objectives. The fact that the US is permitted to get away with this shows that in the “rules-based order” enforced by Washington, the rule of law is nothing more than a means by which the powerful hold the weak in check.