Ever wondered what the X factor is in one polity's ability to subjugate another?
In raw power terms, it is quite easy to imagine the answer. A more powerful country can dominate another, just as predators can rule over their own or other species.
But this analogy does not stand up to scrutiny when it comes to modern colonialism, which is more parasitic than predatory.
Predators and parasites alike feed off their prey or hosts. Lions and sharks live this way, just as leeches and ticks do.
The main difference between them is that parasites eat their prey slowly and keep them alive for the long run, while predators slay, eat and then move on to another victim when the need arises.
Parasites work with or within existing organisms. Predators overcome and kill their prey.
Old style empires would invade, plunder and leave. Why stay when you could just carry away all the wealth and slaves you could grab? All the loot and none of the responsibility.
Today, imperialism is more "civilised' and leech-like, and even boasts of "human rights' and 'nation building' as if these were some new 'discovery' or even 'art'. If not that, then it's in the service of "rule of law'. Whose law, it is not clear.
For parasites to succeed, they need a suitable host with whom they can establish a symbiotic relation. This symbiosis is essential for the survival of the host and the parasite alike.
The parasite usually is in need of something that the host can offer, and without which the parasite cannot live for too long.
Leeches need blood, and they may even have medicinal properties at the same time as they suck your blood.
Colonial invaders who are after the natural resources or markets of another country may be able to offer advanced medicines.
Leeches lack the competence to produce the blood they need and have to be leeches to get it.
Colonial leeches lack the competence to produce what they need (e.g. energy) and resort to genocide for the purpose of stealing from others.
And leeches also cause fear, disgust and distress among their human hosts, just as colonial invaders do among the locals.