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May-15-2010 01:11printcomments

History of Empire: Cecil Rhodes

“The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.” – Cecil Rhodes

Cecil Rhodes
Cecil Rhodes was depicted in newspapers as the greedy colonializing landgrubber who couldn't get enough.

(EUGENE, Ore.) - Cecil Rhodes was at one time one of the wealthiest men in the world. He was also an insane megalomaniac, which is pretty much par for the course in that department.

His wealth came primarily from exploitation of slavery and natural resources in Africa, where the country of Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe and Zambia, was named after him. Among other ventures, Rhodes founded DeBeers, the notorious diamond mining company.

Rhodes wrote a will in which he left funds for “the establishment, promotion and development of a Secret Society, the true aim and object whereof shall be for the extension of British rule throughout the world.”

Amongst the goals of the secret society he sought to create was the occupation by British settlers “of the entire Continent of Africa, the Holy Land, the Valley of the Euphrates, the Islands of Cyprus and Candia, the whole of South America, the Islands of the Pacific not heretofore possessed by Great Britain, the whole of the Malay Archipelago, the seaboard of China and Japan, the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire” [1]

When Rhodes died, the Rhodes Scholarship was created, presumably as a means of advancing his avowed British Imperialist agenda. The Rhodes Scholarship is given to individuals from within the ancient British colonial sphere to study at Oxford University. Since its inception, the majority of Rhodes Scholars have been Americans.

Notable Rhodes Scholars include Bill Clinton, Robert Reich, Wesley Clark, Bill Bradley, Russ Feingold, and James Woolsey, among many others[2].

The imperialist ambitions of Rhodes certainly played a significant role in the shaping the twentieth century. These ambitions were not his alone, but were shared broadly with the elite classes throughout the European world, including the United States.

What is crucial to recognize, and is clearly evident, is that the imperialist ambitions of people like Rhodes are not rooted in any particular “national interest.” Rhodes was interested only in his personal wealth and aggrandizement, and the British state was his vehicle of choice for pursuing that goal.

The British Empire reached the peak of its land mass after World War I. At that point it included much of Africa, India and Pakistan, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, and significant other holdings in the Arabian Peninsula.

The peak of the British Empire coincided with the absolute low point of life for average people in Britain and across Europe. The wars that resulted from the imperial ambitions of British and other European elites killed over 100 million people in the first half of the twentieth century.

The influence of the United Kingdom in the world declined considerably as a result of the World Wars. The “British Empire” ceased to exist, as the ambitions of the British elites bankrupted the nation, forcing them to withdraw the military forces that had enabled them to create their empire.

One of the most important strategic assets for the imperialist set in Europe was and is the Suez canal.

For Britain, the Suez canal started as a crucial link to India and China, enabling both trade and the movement of the military asserts necessary for maintaining their colonial domination. The rise in European dependence on crude oil from the middle east only increased the importance of the Suez Canal.

After World War II, as the United Kingdom continued to decline economically, Egypt became more aggressive in asserting its independence. Finally, Egypt nationalized the Suez canal, which was a direct challenge to British military dominance.

Britain responded, in collusion with France, by convincing the Israelis to launch a proxy war against Egypt for them. The intent of this deceit was that once war between Egypt and Israel began, Britain and France would step in as peacemakers, and reoccupy the canal zone in order to separate the belligerent forces.

Britain and France were thwarted in this effort when the United States stepped in on the side of Egypt. At this point, the dubious honor of top dog on the imperialist heap was transferred to American elites, and there the crown has rested ever since.

The façade of Israeli aggression and U.S./European intervention for peace has been going on ever since. The intent and purpose, then as now, is a permanent state of hostilities that creates a pretext for military control of the Suez Canal, and dominance of middle east oil resources.

Many former European colonial properties came under U.S. dominance during the decades after World War II. Although the uniforms of the soldiers and the taxpayers footing the bill have changed, the scheme so succinctly espoused by Cecil Rhodes remains the essential blueprint for the imperialist elite.

Given the prominence in the U.S. of individuals handpicked and trained to carry out this scheme, using funds from the Rhodes estate, it is no wonder that his insane ambitions continue to be a motivating factor in world events.

The “bread and butter question” that Cecil Rhodes sought to solve through imperialism was that of the so called “surplus population.”

In capitalist ideology any human beings that cannot be used profitably are regarded as surplus. These surplus populations diminish profits, and thus, according to the rule of profit maximization, must either be put to profitable use or liquidated.

Rhodes viewed imperialism as essential to the stability of capitalist society because it provided a two-fold means of putting “surplus” populations to profitable use and liquidating the remaining surplus through permanent war.

The imperialist formula has not changed in the past century. The euphemisms used to describe the ultimate murderous aims of imperialism are continually subject to change, but the conduct of imperialism will forever be the same.


[1] Wikipedia page on Cecil Rhodes

[2] Wikipedia page on Rhodes Scholars Business/Economy Reporter Ersun Warncke is a native Oregonian. He has a degree in Economics from Portland State University and studied Law at University of Oregon. At a young age, his career spans a wide variety of fields, from fast food, to union labor, to computer programming. He has published works concerning economics, business, government, and media on blogs for several years. He currently works as an independent software designer specializing in web based applications, open source software, and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications.

Ersun describes his writing as being "in the language of the boardroom from the perspective of the shop floor." He adds that "he has no education in journalism other than reading Hunter S. Thompson." But along with life comes the real experience that indeed creates quality writers. Right now, every detail that can help the general public get ahead in life financially, is of paramount importance.

You can write to Ersun at:

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