The imperialist intentions of the USA and Europe have had a cardinal influence on the modern world. All countries without exception fell under the influence of imperialism and the division of the world. That is why it is considered very relevant to study the issues of imperialism, as they reveal the geopolitical processes of both recent history and current days. European countries, for various reasons, increased their power in Africa and Asia: economy, resources, territory, culture. They went to various tricks, including deceit and vague wording for people who never spoke their language. In general, motivations differed from country to country, but subsequently, there was more need not to explain this but to present justifications for aggressive actions. Colonialism almost entirely forms the picture of the 19th and 20th centuries, which, in turn, shaped the modern world and the perception of reality, including the historical one. Many circumstances became imperialism’s motivation; politicians sought to justify their actions; as a result, this phenomenon became a central feature of the 19th century and even now has a significant impact on geopolitics.
The most crucial motive for spreading imperialism was the ability to trade (including aggressively, with the imposition of their conditions) with Africa and India. Europe was interested in resources and jumped at every opportunity to get hold of exotic materials. The second most crucial motive was the spread of European languages and culture, not for humanistic and educational reasons but for the sake of the ‘soft power’ policy (Andrea and Overfield 295-297). It is a new term used in countries that do not try to manifest their power in foreign territories through military seizures and economic monopolization (Andrea and Overfield 296). These countries intrude gently into a foreign culture and bring their customs, clothing, and language there. Usually, in a modern context, China is associated with using a ‘soft power’ policy. Another motive was the support of the fleet, which is especially noticeable in the example of the once leading maritime power: the Great Britain (Andrea and Overfield). The mentioned motives can be reduced to one global one: the thirst for progress. This motivation eventually resulted in a developed propaganda system in advertising, where people combined imperialism with convenient life.
Justifications for the defense of imperialism were necessary if this policy was to withstand scrutiny. The central rationale for imperialism was the racist position: the division of races into superior and inferior. The cautious French sought to look less aggressive than other countries, so they actively promoted the manipulation of offers (the French do not impose trade but only offer it). Europe pretended to trade on equal terms and peacefully with India and Africa in such situations (Andrea and Overfield). The subsequent justification was the forced development of sea routes and stations: Europe needed the ports of Vietnam, Madagascar, and Tunisia (Andrea and Overfield). This justification manipulated the defenselessness of the European before the laws of their countries and international law (Andrea and Overfield). The Europeans tried to support their position with the same imperialist philosophy of the danger of a solitary policy, which led to decline. The Europeans created movements like schoolboy scouts, the theoretical basis of which served to rationale imperialism. It compares with the Soviet system: the school movements of the Young Pioneers and the Little Octoberists glorified the strength of the Soviet leaders.
The world of the late 19th century was on the verge of an outbreak of consumption; the economic foundation of imperialism allowed this outbreak to happen. The combination of the wealth of the East and the West allowed ordinary citizens to receive an incredible variety of leisure, food, clothing, and entertainment. However, in the 19th century, religious patterns were still strong in certain countries, which also took part in the justification of imperialism. Society still does not understand with whom exactly it is trading. The nobility and the elite of Europe are often condescending towards higher ranks in Africa and India. Some of the travelers understand how to use India for economic enrichment, not in terms of purchasing fabrics but using the symbolic wealth of this country. It is how Lipton tea is created, which people still use today (Andrea and Overfield). Ceylon and its plantations have forever entered the associative range of people thanks to tea advertising (Andrea and Overfield). Thus, the Indian landscape, culture, and clothing became firmly established in the ordinary life of the French, British, and Germans, who were so far from understanding India.
Some of the countries inclined toward imperialism continue to act in their interests today. One of the justifications for the invasion of Africa was demonstrative pity for the Africans. If readers pay attention to caricatures and newspaper printouts, the artists’ emphasis on naked and skinny bodies will become noticeable (Andrea and Overfield 300-302). Africans are hungry and poor, and it seems that they do not know about the existence of clothes or do not know how to make them. The condescending imperialist stance is still visible in USA policy regarding the countries of the Middle East.
The most critical role in the new division of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries was played by the Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey. Its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is known for his neo-conservatism. This intention is due to the desire to restore the power of the Ottoman Empire, which several centuries ago had unprecedented power. From an authoritarian empire with many military campaigns and successful conquests, Turkey has turned into a resort paradise and a place for negotiations. Understanding that Turkey was once divided from the other eastern world by Russia and Great Britain into northern and southern parts, it is easy to imagine the ambitions of its current president. Other countries, in principle, are still under the rule of the past, whatever it may be. The geopolitical map and the balance of power, laid out at the beginning of the 20th century, changed heavily over the years, and each change becomes resonant news.
The imperialism of Europe was motivated primarily by economics and a thirst for exotic riches and resources. The Europeans wanted to trade, but not on equal terms, so they cheated and imposed their priorities. Europeans also sought to spread their language and culture, gaining influence in new territories. Acquiring new marine stations was very important for countries associated with maritime military power and trade; this often justified imperialism. Europeans manipulated good intentions and leniency towards Africans; they promoted the idea of co-development. Modern geopolitics is based mainly on imperialist victories and sacrifices. A striking example of such a sacrifice is Turkey, led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who seeks to restore the country to the glory of the Ottoman Empire, which was once the strongest conqueror.
Andrea, Alfred, and James Overfield. The Human Record: Sources of Global History. 7th ed., vol. 2, Cengage Learning, 2000.