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Looking at the conflicts that forced decolonisation, I see no lack of guts to be assholes. I see technology transfer and - perhaps of equal importance - cultural transfer progressing to a point where the local leaders could defeat their overlords.

Yes, nowadays genocide is not popular but the colonial empires were not lost in the 21st century.

For an example of present guilt and post-war brutality

For there is something peculiarly chilling about the way colonial officials behaved, most notoriously but not only in Kenya, within a decade of the liberation of the concentration camps and the return of thousands of emaciated British prisoners of war from the Pacific. One courageous judge in Nairobi explicitly drew the parallel: Kenya's Belsen, he called one camp.

The uprising by a secret sect, the Mau Mau - impoverished Kikuyu demanding the return of their fertile lands - led to the deaths of maybe 20,000 men and women, many after torture and internment. Thousands more died in the violence that tore apart Kikuyu families on opposing sides of the dispute.

With the tacit consent of ministers at Westminster, a British administration in colonial Kenya chose to behave as if Africans had no human rights. Rattled by a handful of murderous attacks on planters, they tried to face down the rebels using the empire's default setting of brutality. Castration, sodomy, rape and beatings were everyday weapons in its unremitting defence of the rights of the white settlers.

Can you point me to a post-war conflict in any of the colonial empires where the empire folded because they did not like to be assholes anymore?

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Apr 20th, 2012 at 03:09:17 PM EST
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A swedish kind of death:
Can you point me to a post-war conflict in any of the colonial empires where the empire folded because they did not like to be assholes anymore?

Let me see: Madagascar, no, Indochina, no, Algeria, no.

Now we can ask ourselves why De Gaulle's Fifth Republic, established in 1958, decide to organize referendum in pretty much all the remaining colonies which led to independence in the early 1960s: apparently the French leadership had lost appetite for retaining (most of) what was left of the Empire but whether this was because they didn't like to be A-holes anymore is unclear to me.

by Bernard on Sat Apr 21st, 2012 at 04:56:51 AM EST
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Can you point to any single post-war conflict where a former colonial power removed all restraints and did all they could to win, like they used to do?

All those three conflicts you mention are conflicts where the French didn't do everything they could to win: not because they couldn't, but because they didn't have the political will to be brutal enough. Which is, of course, a good thing.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Apr 21st, 2012 at 07:23:00 AM EST
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What the colonial powers used to do was send a relatively minor force that crushed all opposition. There was no threath of the homeland being invaded, so doing all they could to win was never really on the table. What do you mean that France could have done to win either of these conflicts?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Apr 21st, 2012 at 08:19:48 AM EST
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Sending conscripts in Indochina for example, as was done in Algeria (where indeed the perception for many French people was that the homeland was threatened...)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Apr 21st, 2012 at 09:23:35 AM EST
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Well, north Algeria was part of the French homeland, so they were right even if the Moslem inhabitants might have seen if differently. But I guess there was not an idea of the FLN actually invading Metropolitan France, was there?

Anyway, that gives us a metric. So conscripts was not used in Indochina after wwII. Were they used before wwII? Otherwise wwII did not change anything in that respect.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 at 03:58:41 PM EST
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What would Genghiz Khan can do? Hama Rules. Nuke everyone.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 at 05:51:54 AM EST
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and lastly through a hogshead of real fire.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 at 03:03:51 PM EST
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So they nuke everybody, then what happens to access to markets and resources (and their officials and colonisers on the ground)? Compared to what happens if they cut a deal with the revolutionaries?

I'll add that Gandhi (educated in London) saw one of his objectives as making India unprofitable for Britain to keep, that is part of why he pursued such goals as circumventing the salt tax and producing cloth in India.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 at 03:38:55 PM EST
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So they nuke everybody, then what happens to access to markets and resources (and their officials and colonisers on the ground)?

You get a colony like Canada, Australia or the US, empty of problematic people but full of resources.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 06:37:36 AM EST
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But to use that you need surplus population to re-populate with. And in the post-wwII era the european countries had already ran past the drastic expansion of population phase of the demographic transition. Kris i befolkningsfrågan (Population crisis, famous Swedish book form the 30ies arguing far-reaching measures to stop the fall in number of births) and all that.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 07:46:17 AM EST
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As you might remember, the measures suggested in Kris i befolkningsfrågan actually led to radicaly increased nativity. Furthermore, having a large population just seems like such a bother. Few people, lots of natural resources, what's not to like? Well sure, it might be a bit hard to defend your resources from greedy populous nations who want to take your wealth, but that can be managed with conscription to provide the sufficient manpower.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 10:47:28 AM EST
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Now you're thinking in terms of the national interest. That's the wrong way to think about colonial adventures.

The interest being served is that of the private actors who get to set up shop in the colonies. The national interest is served only incidentally, if at all. And it is not in their interest to have to rely on scarce domestic manpower for exploiting untapped resources.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Apr 27th, 2012 at 12:33:27 PM EST
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