Europe’s rapacious hunger for other people’s lands is one of the key shaping forces of our contemporary world. Everything is touched by our colonial past, from the way we see the world to the food we eat. Our contemporary preoccupations and ills – from globalization to humanitarian intervention to international terrorism – have colonialism somewhere in their genetic make-up.
The character and policies of contemporary international organizations – from the United Nations to the European Union – have also been deeply affected by the colonial inheritance of their members, whether as perpetrators or “victims”.
Weaving together the complex strands of history and politics into one compact narrative, this book addresses the key theories of colonialism, examining them against contemporary realities. It goes on to looks at how the different policies of colonisers have had profoundly contradictory effects on the way different empires ended in the 20th century. These endings in turn affected the entire nature of modern day international relations. It also exposes the moral ambiguities of colonialism and the hypocrisies, which underlay colonial policies in the 19th and 20th centuries.