Syria: The New Terra Nullius

SYRIA, seat of an Islamic Caliphate. Syria, site of the Middle East’s newest liberal democracy. Syria, socialist paradise. Syria, a corrupt and murderous dictatorship that practices genocide. Syria, a failed state. Syria a state that is too strong. Syria, soon to be partitioned into ethnic enclaves. Syria, a pawn of Iran. Syria, a tool of […]

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Progress, Progressivism, and Progressives

Where does “progress” come from? What does “progressivism” mean? Which cultural tradition and ideological discourse makes “progressive” movements or parties thinkable? Why is it always important to be “moving forward,” as in the now clichéd phrase used by some many US politicians, journalists, and public commentators? When does thinking about “going forward” start to look […]

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Donald Trump, Empire, and Globalization: A Reassessment

“Hey, I’m a nationalist and a globalist,” Donald Trump recently declared, “I’m both”. The only way in which the two (seemingly contradictory) positions can be reconciled is by introducing a third term, one that is absent from Trump’s vocabulary: imperialism. Trump might not be conscious of the implication of his statement (nor would he be […]

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Humanitarian Ownership

Hillary Clinton: Dibs on Women, Children, and Dead People Listening to Hillary Clinton debate Bernie Sanders on April 14, 2016, convinced me of one thing: she owns women, children, and dead people. The first time Hillary Clinton mentioned “children” in the debate it was with notable overemphasis—children! Children—I said it first, I said it loudest. […]

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2015: Just Another Year for Empire

This year saw so little published on this site, that presenting our “top 10 articles” would nearly exhaust everything we produced. Instead, we decided to produce a list of our top recommended online articles for the year, as written by others. First, however, the big book publication of the year has to be Canada in […]

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The Babysitter

Big Chief, Big Daddy, Big Babysitter to the World If “winning hearts and minds” is at the top of your global campaign agenda for strategic communication, then you need to insert yourself into some of the most intimate, domestic, and familial places of restive, hungry, and increasingly angry populations. Getting all domestic is what the […]

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BDS, the AAA, and Academic Imperialism

We Disagree to Agree Support for a particular cause can come from numerous sources and points of view, each representing different interests. Similarly, people can arrive at the site of a demonstration, united in protest against an injustice, having arrived there from many different routes (whether the routes are understood in terms of physical transportation, […]

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The US Military as Great Chief, Father, Doctor, and Babysitter

The following is an extract from my chapter, “A Flickr of Militarization: Photographic Regulation, Symbolic Consecration, and the Strategic Communication of ‘Good Intentions’,” published in Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 185-279: In 2009 the Department of the Army produced a field manual titled, “Visual Information Operations” (US […]

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Pentagon Photography and Visual Anthropology

Could it be any more obvious how the Pentagon has learned to mimic certain styles of anthropological photography as shown in the instance above? Resembling any of a vast number of photographs of or by anthropologists, such as famous ones of Bronislaw Malinowski and Margaret Mead “in the field,” this one also features the note-taking […]

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The Terrorist, the Tyrant and the Thug

The following is a series of extracts from John Manicom’s chapter, “The Terrorist, the Tyrant and the Thug: ‘Anti-Anti-Imperialism’ in American Media and Policy,” published in Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 149-166: Overview: John Manicom’s chapter is a powerful examination of the discursive and narrative practices of […]

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Imperial Abduction: The Globalization of Residential Schooling

The following is an extract from my chapter, “Imperial Abduction Lore and Humanitarian Seduction,” which serves as the introduction to Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 1-34: In Canada, there have been official government apologies for the abuses committed during the residential schooling era (which lasted until 1996), […]

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The Syndrome of Humanitarian Interventionism

The following is an extract from my chapter, “Imperial Abduction Lore and Humanitarian Seduction,” which serves as the introduction to Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 1-34: The dominant ideology of US-led globalization since September 11, 2001, is one that configures society as existing in a state of […]

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Nature, Culture, and Imperial Beliefs

The following is an extract from my chapter, “Imperial Abduction Lore and Humanitarian Seduction,” which serves as the introduction to Good Intentions: Norms and Practices of Imperial Humanitarianism (Montreal: Alert Press, 2014), pp. 1-34: Two of the most enduring beliefs, among at least the political elites and a substantial portion of the wider population in […]

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