Settler-colonialism, and its facilitating systems of capitalism and imperialism, aren't designed to behave in a way that's sustainable for the natural world or for civilization. This is because colonialism is parasitism.
It was established through the killing off of 90% of the indigenous population within the Americas, and through a parallel genocide in Africa that is estimated to have killed around as many people as the Holocaust during its 19th- and 20th-century stages alone. As assessed by Mark Maslin, author of Earth System Impacts of the European Arrival and Great Dying in the Americas after 1492, "the depopulation of the Americas may have inadvertently allowed the Europeans to dominate the world." It's doubtful how much of this was inadvertent. And since the murder of tens of millions proved to be so effective at strengthening empire and capital, it's no surprise that this genocidal model was also applied to Africa for centuries, or that it continues to be applied to Africa and to other imperialist targets in newer forms.
"How did the Global North end up dominating the Global South?" asked the journalist Rania Khalek in an interview last month with professor emeritus Prabhat Patnaik. "When most people think of imperialism, they think of wars, and invasions to secure resources for the Global North, or they think of Lenin's definition of it as a stage of capitalism," elaborated Khalek. "But you argue that imperialism is an essential part of capitalism. Patnaik answered with 'It is impossible to visualize a closed capitalism, in other words a capitalism in which there are only the workers and the capitalists and the State, which enforces the rules of the game. Such an economy would be completely unviable... for two obvious reasons. One is that it requires external markets, which is what Rosa Luxemburg had talked about, and second, that it really requires a whole range of raw materials or primary commodities which it cannot do without but it cannot produce either.'"
The genocides committed by Europe and its settler-colonial states haven't been inadvertent; they've been instrumental for keeping up profits. Imperialism isn't just the highest stage of capitalism; it's the force that absolutely must be maintained in order for capitalism to continue. This is why the imperialist powers and their proxies have been perpetually waging wars at a rate that's intensified since 9/11, and why the CIA is perpetually working to destroy governments that don't conform to Washington's economic interests; if imperialism's range of control shrinks too much, capital itself will lose the market access it needs to continue functioning. As capital has edged closer towards this point during the last half-century of U.S. imperial decline and shrinking profits, capital has only managed to stay afloat by imposing neoliberal policies that siphon ever more wealth to the rich, and by leaning into the war economy.
Facing a transition towards a multi-polar world that threatens to reverse the global inequities that perpetuate neo-colonialism, and a rise of Latin American class struggle that has reversed the CIA's coup in Bolivia and will soon bring an anti-imperialist government into power in Peru, the imperialists are plowing forward with colonization projects in the areas they can still grab up. At the same time that the Biden administration has been reducing drone strikes compared to Obama or Trump as part of an intended reversal of the empire's recent military overstretch, he's been moving to further boost the forces involved in Washington's effort towards countering China.
This means a growing U.S. military occupation not just of Oceania and southeast Asia, but of Africa, with the U.S. currently carrying out an ambitious plan for extending and reinforcing its military installations across the African continent. This is paralleled by Biden's enabling of the ongoing acceleration of military equipment to U.S. police departments, which go along with Israel's training of U.S. law enforcement to increase the state violence against the country's indigenous, African, and brown communities.
As the resistance efforts from these colonized groups intensifies in the coming decades, this internal colonial war may come to include the normalization of private mercenaries as police forces, a development that's already occurred within the increasingly apartheid-esque South Africa. This intensification of anti-colonial conflict in U.S. borders--and consequential increases in brutality against those defying their subjugation--is ensured by the conditions that the settler state has created, where these colonized peoples live under both ever-tightening military occupation and deteriorating living standards that disproportionately harm them.
In southwest Asia, Biden's supposed drive to "end the forever wars" is also contradicted by warfare intensifications, ones that represent a parallel amount of danger towards the victims of colonialism and that also bring the world closer to nuclear war. Biden isn't actually ending the Afghanistan war; he's privatizing it by replacing official troops with mercenaries from the modern versions of Blackwater. And he's using this drawdown of soldiers from Afghanistan, as well as his decreases in military operations elsewhere, to pivot U.S.-intervention efforts towards Yemen. As Ahmed Abdulkareem of MintPressnews wrote this week, this is advancing a trend towards colonization within the country:
A new sense of anxiety has settled over the residents of the eastern Al-Mahrah Province amid stories of violent midnight raids by American and Saudi commandos and an increasingly visible U.S. military presence in the region... Residents in eastern Yemen see the surge of U.S. military personnel as malign and colonial in nature and worry that it will bring not only chaos and instability to their region but could also bring with it the infamous human rights abuses and horrific violations that took place in Afghanistan and Iraq, where thousands of civilians were killed or tortured, some by American troops, others by private military contractors like Blackwater.
This expanding siege on Yemen builds upon the U.S.-enabled genocide that the Saudis have been carrying out against the Yemenis through food and medical blockades, and through deliberate bombings of Yemeni civilian infrastructure and living arrangements. This campaign to gut Yemeni society has let the Israelis establish a military footprint in the country, which has gone along with Zionist settlements within Yemen. These settlements reflect the "Greater Israel" vision for a region that's dominated by an Israel that's become elevated to an imperialist power, like how the U.S. became a global imperialist power after forcibly annexing enough indigenous territories.
As the Zionists continue to accelerate their colonization of Palestine by ordering the evictions of Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem and carrying out further demolitions of their homes, a vast reaction from the colonial powers is taking place. One born out of fears of global victory for the forces of national liberation and class struggle. Despite frequently declaring throughout their recent bombing campaigns against Gaza that "the Hamas" will surely be pacified, the Israelis continue to face a resilient Palestinian armed-resistance movement that's backed by a culture of Palestinian solidarity, which Zionism's terror campaigns have failed to break. This is making Israel's long-anticipated surrender to the anti-apartheid movement, made more likely by the crumbling of U.S. hegemony, all the more likely.
Backed into this corner, the Israelis are edging closer towards using their nuclear weapons against Iran, with the Biden administration being increasingly unable to convince Israel that Iran won't attain nuclear weapons amid Biden's current steps towards restoring the Iran nuclear deal. Washington's recent bombings of what are claimed to be "Iran-backed militias" in Syria and Iraq, which were done to make the U.S. and Israel send warnings to Iran, show that these two most vile of the colonial powers are unified in their escalation towards world war. As does Israel's recent promotion of the CIA's fabricated propaganda narrative about China committing "human-rights abuses" against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, contrasting with Israel's previous stance of neutrality in Washington's cold war against China. Such is also the purpose of the imperialist bloc's demonization of China's Belt and Road Initiative, which is facilitating the reversal of colonial inequities: to sabotage the rise of a new, equitable world order.
These escalations can't stop, because they're all that the colonial powers know to do in this situation of weakening capital, ecological crisis that was created by colonialism's appendages and that threatens to destabilize capitalism, imperial decline that parallels the fall of Rome, and rising liberation movements. Colonialism's delusion is that it can rule forever, that its unprecedented effectiveness at gathering global strength makes it exempt from the laws of sociology. The nuclear tensions the colonists are manufacturing, and the intensifying occupations they're imposing on their global victims, are their reactions to being confronted with reality.