Critical analysis of Dissertation: “Imperialism and the modern world – wars and revolutions or democratic peace?” Report (Assessment)

September 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Introduction/ Methodology

This dissertation embarks on explaining democratic theory and the historical context of Lenin’s arguments in his writings. Moreover, it explores the changing world systems after the Second World War and the interest on the concept of democratic peace as captured in the abstract.

Additionally, the dissertation argues that Lenin’s thesis is the most applicable in fostering democratic peace taking into account that his arguments need to be examined to promote updated changes in the world political economy.

It is also significant to note that the theory of democratic peace has been criticized alongside defending Lenin’s model of imperialism. Furthermore, the dissertation has largely explored the implications of two theories to the changing world order.

The Democratic Peace paradigm

In this dissertation, the concept of democratic peace is highly accommodated among citizens who argue that the mechanism compels various governments to be accountable to their citizens. Therefore, there could be no circumstance any government would wage war without considering its citizens.

In this case, democracy enforces peace and respect among states. It is indeed possible to analyze that the mechanism was adopted after the World War II and incorporated into liberal internationalist political norm. Since then, there have been no incidences of war between two liberal democracies.

Therefore, democracy has enhanced remarkable peace among liberal states since they adopt hegemonic values that foster peaceful relations. Moreover, peaceful relations among liberal states have made them match to modernity, a factor that has triggered pro-democracy revolutions in Middle East and North Africa.

The reason behind these revolutions is to reform their systems to become democratic like those of the western world. This is due to the fact that democratic societies have little tendency to wage war against each other since there are mitigation measures which are usually put in place.

Of great importance to note is that the concept of democracy was adopted and reinforced by neo-liberal and neo-conservative scholars after the collapse of Soviet Union. Needless to say, democratic peace paradigm contrasts Marxist’s view that capitalism is destructive and warlike. One can therefore argue that expansion of democratic states across the globe will foster world peace.

Lenin in context

The rise of imperialism

Imperialism has been defined as the ability to influence world economic processes at the expense of gaining national power (Hudson 2003, p. 2). This has been witnessed from the effects of global economic depression of 1970s and 1980s in Europe.

Consequently, European nations began to use latest technologies to exploit other nations. For instance, Britain, France, Germany and US used their political, economic and military might to outdo each other. Finally they expanded their influence, and occupied and controlled other nations in the globe (Hudson 2003, p. 24).

For instance, this was witnessed in the scramble and partition of Africa, India and Middle East between 1981-1914. Competition among super powers over colonies heightened their tension and hence the surged war against each other.

Lenin’s theory of imperialism

The pamphlet of Lenin’s theory of imperialism was considered to be one of the most influential during the 20th century. It defined the view of the left on right imperialism until the Soviet Union collapsed. This document drew its debate from Marxist and other political theorists who produced significant works on imperialism.

In this case, Lenin’s writings addressed changes in the global social-economic and political systems. One can analyze that the pamphlet influenced scholars such as John Hobson who wrote on imperialism basing his idea on Lenin’s writings.

In his writing, Lenin give account of how capitalist developed and how it resulted to disparity between nations in the north and south of the globe. He argues that rich nations exploited impoverished third world nations by establishing parasitic links with them.

European nations used monopoly capitalism which immanently developed their nations while exploiting others. In this dissertation, it is clear that economy shapes politics since economic advances determines the type of political agenda to be formed.

In this case, once European nations advance their economy, they formulated policies that favored their capitalist ideologies at the expense of their colonies (Hudson 2003, p. 37). For instance, the idea of labor division fostered their concentration on the colonies in order to maximize profits.

At this point, Lenin addresses the concept of labor aristocracy to explain how labor division can be used to enrich a sub-section of the working class, a factor that would foster national chauvinism. It is definite that labor division among workers led to class struggle as well as rise of imperial capitalists whose intention was to develop self empowering ideologies against the inferior groups.

Debates on imperialism

There are several debates which contrast with Lenin who argues that imperialism emerges from the desire of European nations to control capital finance and get profitable markets in the colonies. For instance, Hobson argue that imperialism resulted from the wing of bourgeois to win social reforms and free trade.

This implies that British working class were poor, a factor that drove Britain to colonize colonies to provide high wages for them. Additionally, Rosa Luxemburg stresses that imperialism emerged due to that the need for capital investment in new markets. However, Lenin declined the arguments and insists that imperialism was an inevitable effect of historical developments in the capitalist minds.

Imperialism after 1945

After WWII, there emerged a world order where US became an imperialist super power in the west and USSR dominated the East. US dollar became a common currency that was used in the capitalist markets (Hudson 2003, p. 35). Moreover, economic institutions were formed such as World Bank and IMF.

The United Nations which was considered to be a political union was established to foster world peace. Major policies were made by veto powers. Later on, there emerged a cold war between European Union and the communist world that lead to numerous coups and massacres in places such as Chile Indonesia and Nicaragua (Hudson 2003, p. 19).

Furthermore, more countries were decolonized as a result of national liberation movements especially in third world countries. However, there were long-term political problems in newly independent nations due the weakened economic state that resulted to civil wars, coups and formation of dictatorial regimes (Hudson 2003, p. 40).

Moreover, there was a crucial shift in the post-colonial order where there emerged semi-colonial states. This saw the rise of neo-colonialism where European powers directly exploited independent colonies through economic, political and military subordination (Hudson, 2003, p. 35).

It is also arguable that the emergence of a uni-polar world has led to the emergence of a new imperialism wave of neo-colonialism especially in the Global South.

The fate of the Third World

Overexploitation of third world nations has certainly retarded their capacity for growth and establishment of democratic institutions after the decline of traditional institutions. This led to emergence of military regimes, civil wars and coups in the process of re-establishing their economies (Hudson 2003, p. 33).

One can argue that enhancing democracy in third world countries could not go through without changes in the military regimes. Therefore, only a few of them managed to established long-lasting democratic regimes to escape mass unrest.

Moreover, the nations were left incredibly poor and relied on foreign aids from their colonial powers who bound them with imperialist policies in order to exploit them further. Additionally, policies made to develop third world countries such as foreign aids resulted to massive debts thus impoverishing the nations rather than enriching them (Hudson 2003, p. 32).

Coups, conflicts and invasions – the reality of Pax Americana

It is also genuine to mention that third world countries have constantly exercised democratic choices that favor European interest (Hudson 2003, p. 23). In this case, many governments have been overthrown for failure to promote peace and rationality in government.

Several invasions have resulted in the process of overthrowing communism to establish liberal democratic states. The logic behind these invasions, coups and conflicts was to foster democratic peace hence promote world peace under US supremacy (Hudson 2003, p. 29).

Lenin’s theory today – democratic peace for eternity?

Lenin argues that dramatic changes which have been experienced since 1945 have enhanced globalization. Moreover, there has been a continued existence of monopolies of finance capital and export of capital which are the key features of world politics today.

Efforts have been made to restrain the monopolistic tendencies of capitalism in order to promote free competition. The transfer of capital between imperial centers has increased integration of European countries since 1945.

Conclusion

Lenin’s writings on the modern world stand a test of time even in the midst of contrasting opinions from other thinkers. Moreover, his theory needs a powerful level of analysis since it has remained outstanding especially on the parameters he outlined for development of the changing world.

Nevertheless, Democratic Peace paradigm has been set to favor the imperial world order. Therefore, it must be criticized since it offers an intellectual support to imperialism in the world.

Reference

Hudson, M 2003, Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance, Pluto Press, Vancouver.

Read more