The Menace of Intersectional Imperialism

This article originally appeared under the title “Intersectional Imperialism: A Wholesome Menace” on Alex Rubinstein’s personal Substack. It has been lightly edited for grammar and style.

With Trump-style nationalism out the door, a new era of imperial ideology is upon us. This mutation of the empire’s dominant dogma is manifesting throughout global institutions of economic, political and social control and is materializing in a myriad of conflict theatres.

In order to identify where woke imperialism exists, we have to define it first. So what is it? It’s certainly not the first iteration of hegemonic domination buttressed by moralism. 

The doctrine of  “responsibility to protect” was officialized by the United Nations in 2005, but its roots really trace back to the NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia. During the Obama years, the term “humanitarian intervention” caught on as the main moniker for such actions. 

Woke imperialism should be understood as a maturation of these concepts. As corporations have increasingly embraced “rainbow capitalism” to keep up with the sensibilities of an increasingly liberal US public, so too have institutions of United States imperialism refined their pitches to reflect the increasing popularity of identity politics.

This phenomenon has not gone unnoticed. As with everything on the internet, it has become the subject of memes, with an image of two US B-52 Stratofortress bombers having gone particularly viral. The image shows one B-52, labelled “Republicans,” dropping bombs. Another B-52, labelled “Democrats,” is also dropping bombs, but this time with a giant Black Lives Matter sticker and a rainbow flag emblazoned on its exterior.

What both of the these memes can’t express, given their limited format, is the variety of methods of exerting imperial control, as it takes many forms beyond bombings. And not all of this can be chalked up to the presidential transition. We know that the State Department and three-letter agencies were hardly on-board with President Trump’s approach to foreign policy, nor his cultural proclivities. 

So while many of the trends identified in this article existed during the Trump administration, they are undeniably being ramped up by Biden’s. For example, in the first 10 days of this March, Women’s History Month, the State Department tweeted 24 times about “women,” compared to 14 times during the same period of 2020.

The Noble Anti-Triggering Organization (NATO)

Earlier this month, NATO tweeted a flashy video claiming “diversity is our strength.” 

In light of NATO’s virtue signaling, it’s important to remember that many of the early leaders of NATO were Nazis who dreamed of a Germany that was anything but diverse and inclusive. To this day, NATO has continued to support neo-Nazis in countries like Ukraine, while NATO states that hold permitted rallies honoring Nazi collaborators are only just now cancelling the marches because of the coronavirus, rather than stopping the glorification of Nazism.

As I reported following the launch of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, as he railed against neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, Biden met with neo-Nazi leader Oleh Tahnybok.

In terms of NATO’s championing of inclusion for people of color, its crowning achievement in this regard came following its bombing of Libya, which gave cover for jihadist militias to sodomize Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to death with a bayonet and paved the way for the reintroduction of slavery on the African continent. 

Outside of its halls of power in Brussels, this is what NATO-sponsored opportunity initiatives for people of color looks like.

The State Department Becomes an HR Department

The slogan used by NATO, “Diversity is our strength,” reproduces, verbatim, a major campaign theme from Kamala Harris and Joe Biden himself. The talking point was also used last year by the Central Intelligence Agency. 

Perhaps the one to make the most use out of the theme is Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who has said the following:

  • “Diversity and inclusion make us stronger, smarter, more creative, and more innovative. And our diversity gives us a significant competitive advantage on the world stage.”
  • “Diversity makes any organization stronger—and for the State Department, it’s mission-critical.”
  • “We’ve invested in diversity and inclusion to have a diplomatic workforce that reflects the diversity of our country.”

Recently, the State Department promoted Blinken’s appearance on Hillary Clinton’s podcast, advertising that the two discussed “diversity and inclusion at the Department, American engagement, Russia, China and more.”

The State Department, under Blinken, is so married to the concept that he created at the department asm Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer position which “will report directly to him,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said, adding, you guessed it, “Diversity and inclusion make us stronger, smarter, more creative, and more innovative.”

The DoD Seeks “Force Multipliers”

The Department of Defense is another leading institution in this trend. 

Earlier this month, conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson attacked the Pentagon. It started with Joe Biden announcing that, under his and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s leadership, the military would be taking steps towards making itself more inclusive to women with policies including an overhaul of hair style restrictions and “maternity flight suits for women.” 

While pregnant women are generally banned from riding roller coasters, a policy of allowing them to fly fighter jets does not seem to me to have their best interests in mind, nor those of their children.

While Carlson blasted these policies, his criticism missed the crux of the issue, as he argued that they made the US military weaker. The real goal of these policies, however, is to freshen the military’s face for a liberal citizenry. As the Air Force put it in January, “diversity” is a “force multiplier.”

In response to the Fox segment, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby—formerly the spokesperson for the State Department under Obama—clapped back at Carlson in a press release entitled “Press Secretary Smites Fox Host That Dissed Diversity in U.S. Military.”

“The United States military is the greatest the world has ever seen because of its diversity,” it began. 

Kirby went on to note that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (a black man whom the media celebrated for breaking a “brass ceiling,”) had said earlier in the week that the “lived experience” of a diverse fighting force factors “into our decision making.”

That same speech was featured on the Defense Department’s website under the headline “Biden Showcases the Strength, Excellence of American Military Diversity.”

In other news on Secretary Austin, according to another Pentagon press release, he “welcomed the expanded role for NATO Mission Iraq” last month. That “expanded role” means beefing up the number of NATO troops occupying the country from around 500 to “4,000 or 5,000,” according to Reuters.

The Central Idpol Agency

Not to be outdone by the State Department or Defense Department, following the inauguration of Joe Biden, the CIA has begun conducting a “digital facelift” to appeal to Generation Z in light of their politics leaning more towards radical liberalism than previous generations.

“We had to go where the talent is,” Sheronda Dorsey, the CIA’s deputy associate director for talent, told the Wall Street Journal. She added that the CIA is looking to “increase racial, cultural, disability, sexual orientation and gender diversity so that its workforce is ‘reflective of America.’”

The Wall Street Journal goes on to write that “Today, the CIA’s digital face-lift coincides with a new presidential administration. [John] Brennan, whose directorship ended in 2017, says the Biden administration has sent out a ‘very strong signal on diversity’ with its intelligence appointees, including the first-ever female director of national intelligence, Avril Haines.”

Brennan, who was CIA director under Obama, with Haines sitting under him at number two at the agency, has more recently told MSNBC that he is “increasingly embarrassed to be a white male these days, when I see what other white males are saying.” 

Brennan’s comments came in a discussion of congressional Republicans’ handling of the protests at the capitol in January. “They’ll continue to gaslight the country,” Brennan said.

While heading up the agency, Brennan oversaw the CIA as it hacked and illegally spied on Congress while they were investigating torture by the agency—and lied about it. Now he’s complaining about “gaslighting” by Congress. The whole episode has been largely forgotten by the US public, as the media were “stanning” the agency throughout the Trump era.

Trump enemy number one, Nancy Pelosi, recently established a “diversity office” in the House of Representatives. Years ago, she helped the CIA coverup torture in addition to heavily backing the war in Iraq.

Finance Feminism

While technically “independent,” globally muscular financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are functionally a part of the US government, and like other institutions referenced in this article, are adopting identity politics as a means of whitewashing their anti-human agenda.

The DC-based World Bank’s own president is chosen by the President of the United States, with even their own website admitting that “[t]raditionally, the World Bank President has always been been [sic] a U.S. citizen nominated by the United States.”

The US is also the largest shareholder at both the World Bank and IMF, which is also based in DC. One leaked manual published by Wikileaks entitled “Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” cites the World Bank and IMF as US “[weapons] in times of conflict up to and including large-scale general war.”

“Army Special Operation Forces understand that properly integrated manipulation of economic power can and should be a component of unconventional warfare,” the document continues.

“As major decisions require an 85 percent super majority, the United States can block any major changes” at the World Bank, according to the Army document. 

For International Women’s Day, the IMF hosted a discussion with Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen entitled “The Age of Womenomics.”

“We have chosen this theme ‘the age of womenomics’ consciously,” Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Managing Director, said. 

“Never in my life I have seen so many women in key positions where core economics and finance matter: you, as the minister of finance of the United States; Chrystia Freeland in Canada; Christine Lagarde my predecessor at the [European Central Bank]; Ngozi [Okonjo-Iweala] at the World Trade Organization; the very first woman president of a multilateral development bank, Odile [Renaud-Basso] at the [European Bank for Reconstruction and Development]…”

Wokeism Goes Global

Beyond promoting themselves as bastions of tolerance, imperialist institutions are also using wokeness to justify foreign resource extraction, violations of sovereignty and international law, military occupation and even coup d’etats.

In Syria, where the United States, European governments, Gulf state patriarchal petromonarchies and NATO ally Turkey have waged 10 years of proxy warfare via al-Qaeda-type sectarian insurgents, a champion of distinctly American identity politics has arisen: the Kurdish fighting force called the People’s Protection Units (YPG). For years, you’d have been hard pressed to find a leftist in the United States that did not give unquestioning support for the “Rojava women’s revolution.” The ostensible political project of Kurdish fighters in Northeastern Syria was even dubbed by Vice News “The Most Feminist Revolution the World Has Ever Witnessed.”

American anarchists, propagandized with pro-YPG literature and the ideology of “democratic confederalism” popularized by the late Zionist and anarchist academic Murray Bookchin, and promoted by his daughter, Debbie Bookchin of the New York City-based “Emergency Committee For Rojava,” made names for themselves in leftist circles and on Twitter by joining up with the YPG.

While the Kurdish fighters in Syria were first backed by Obama, Trump continued to support them to “protect the oil.” In other words, so that the United States could profit from the extraction of assets rightfully belonging to the sovereign government of Syria. Now that Biden is in office, Kurdish fighters are once again becoming the subject of renewed media attention and adoration by the Western left. 

Glorification of the conquests by Kurdish forces in Syria reached a fever pitch during the Raqqa campaign. One group was established (which now has its own Wikipedia page despite its actual existence being dubious) by foreign queer anarchists called the “The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army.” While the historic city of Raqqa was being destroyed to the tune of 70 percent, these feel-good headlines about a supposedly revolutionary and inclusive alternative to statism that the Kurdish fighters and their allies represented dominated the narrative on the left.

Before we move away from Syria, it would be irresponsible not to mention the story of Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari, the “Gay Girl in Damascus.” The fake persona was created in order to stir up anti-Assad sentiment from Western LGBTQ communities, but it was exposed as the charade of a white American man named Tom MacMaster by Palestinian journalist Ali Abunimah after the “gay girl” was “kidnapped.” 

Now that Biden is in office, these kinds of dirty tricks to promote the dirty war on Syria are making a comeback. Based on an article in Jacobin, a new movie is in the works entitled “Stefan Vs. ISIS.” It is billed as a “Story Of Non-Binary Millennial Who Joined The Kurdish Freedom Fighters” by Deadline in a March 5 article. While the Jacobin writer of the original story, Connor Kilpatrick, has co-writing credits, Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara is set to co-executive produce the film.

One Middle East-based reporter complained to me that these journalists are now poised to profit from a war they helped sell in the first place, and are placing the identity issues of a Westerner at the center of the conversation around the battle against ISIS rather than the scores of Syrians and Iraqis who lost their lives fighting them. “The Syrian war,” they said, isn’t for a bunch of foreign leftists “to turn into a romantic ballad to identity issues. Kurds are super traditional, no way is even the YPG into this gender fluidity stuff.”

In a similar vein, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton’s production company was reported by Deadline in late January to be working on a TV series adapting the book “The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice” by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon for the screen. Following an intense bidding war over the rights to adapt the book, Deadline wrote that “For the Clintons, the property feels like the perfect IP to help launch their banner given the subject matter and strong women that helped Lemmon write it.”

Last week, Lemmon joined Meghan McCain on The View to talk about her book. McCain’s father, the late John McCain, was the most militaristic senator in modern US history and a major promoter of the proxy war in Syria, the Senator even meeting with so-called “moderate rebels” with the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Army who turned out to be responsible for the kidnapping of 11 Shia Muslims.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, where the United States maintains its longest-running regime change failure, I recently noted how Biden plans to keep “residual forces” there to continue occupying the country despite the agreement reached between the Taliban and the Trump administration to have a full withdrawal.

German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle is warning that “Afghan women risk losing their rights in a new political setup.” Now, the Biden administration is looking to negotiate the deal wherein “all options remain on the table.”

Earlier this month, Vox News reported on “internal debates” within the White House over a withdrawal from Afghanistan. Reportedly, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley made the “impassioned—and at times ‘emotional’” argument that should US forces withdraw,  women’s rights in the country “will go back to the Stone Age.” 

Yet while there is no doubt that the Taliban has little respect for the rights of women, that was hardly a concern of Joe Biden when he promised in October 2012 that, “We are leaving in 2014. Period.” 

But speaking of the Stone Age; the US has dropped around 25,500 bombs on Afghanistan since Biden’s promise if you add up the monthly figures published by the US Air Force. 

And those bombs don’t come cheap, so it should come as no surprise that Milley went on to argue that since the US has spent so much “blood and treasure” in the country in the past decades, it is not worth it to leave.

Wokeism isn’t just a useful tool of empire in the ostensible fight against terrorism, but also in the fight against socialism. In Ecuador, where the US is backing a faux left candidate as an alternative to the socialist frontrunner in the country’s presidential elections, identity politics have been deployed to drum up support for a neoliberal. 

Journalist Ben Norton exposed Yaku Pérez, billed as an indigenous eco-socialist, for his ties to the US government. After Pérez came in third place in the first round of Ecuador’s presidential election, disqualifying him from the runoff, the US embassy called him to reassure that he would be a part of it. Since then, Pérez has called for a military coup and for his socialist opponent, Andrés Arauz, to be criminally prosecuted.

Norton also points out that Pérez’s wife Manuela Picq is one of his advisers and is helping to manage his campaign. Picq’s background is as an academic focused on sexuality and gender studies.

As we proceed into the Biden years, identity politics, intersectionality—in a word, wokeness—will be increasingly used to justify the exploits of a racist empire. That is, unless the left is able to adopt a doctrine to counter the empire’s dogma instead of continuing to play into its hands.

The Roman historian Tacitus said, “Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” This may be true, but today, the maintenance of empire is justified by its inclusivity. The ability of the US to “flex” on the world stage is contingent on its ability to advertise the diversity of its ruling class.