Ilhan Omar’s Very Selective Anti-Imperialism

November 7, 2019 | Clifford May
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Over the weekend, Representative Ilhan Omar, making a stump speech for the presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, praised him for his willingness to “fight against Western imperialism and . . . for a just world.” But, notes, Clifford May, it is unlikely she was referring to, say, European colonization of Africa, which ended in the 20th century. She seems, in fact, indifferent to contemporary imperialism:

Right now, people in Hong Kong, Iraq, and Lebanon are putting their lives on the line in struggles against oppressive empire builders. Omar, Sanders, and others who fancy themselves anti-imperialists show not the slightest concern for them. Start with Hong Kong, a colony of the British empire in the past, most of whose 7.3 million citizens vehemently oppose Hong Kong’s becoming a colony of the Chinese Communist party in the future. . . . [I]n a “just world,” wouldn’t governments require the consent of those they govern?

Move on to Iraq, where demonstrators by the tens of thousands have been protesting the ills caused by chronic corruption and economic mismanagement. They blame the Islamic Republic of Iran. . . . Turn next to Lebanon, [also under the thumb of Iranian imperialism, via the Tehran-controlled terrorist group Hizballah].

Unlike Western imperialists of the 20th century, the rulers of the Chinese and Iranian empires are unlikely to respond to protests by quietly lowering their flags and going home. Nevertheless, the free nations of the world should be implementing policies in support of those fighting 21st-century imperialism. At the very least, that means providing no financial assistance to governments controlled by terrorists or Communists.

One last question: is there no enterprising reporter willing to ask Omar and. Sanders what they mean by “Western imperialism,” how they plan to “fight” it, and whether they have any sympathy at all for those now resisting domination by non-Western empires? Their answers would be edifying.

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