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Erik Prince Calls for U.S. to Colonize Africa and Latin America


Erik Prince, founder of the private security firm Blackwater, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, Saturday, March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Erik Prince speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, on March 4, 2023, at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md.
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP

Erik Prince has been many things in his 54 years on Earth: the wealthy heir to an auto supply company; a Navy SEAL; the founder of the mercenary firm Blackwater, which conducted a notorious 2007 massacre in the middle of Baghdad; the brother of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s secretary of education; a shadow adviser to Trump; and the plaintiff in a lawsuit against The Intercept.

Last November, Prince started a podcast called “Off Leash,” which in its promotional copy says he “brings a unique and invaluable perspective to today’s increasingly volatile world.” On an episode last Tuesday, his unique and invaluable perspective turned out to be that the U.S. should “put the imperial hat back on” and take over and directly run huge swaths of the globe.

Here’s are Prince’s exact words:

If so many of these countries around the world are incapable of governing themselves, it’s time for us to just put the imperial hat back on, to say, we’re going to govern those countries … ’cause enough is enough, we’re done being invaded. …

You can say that about pretty much all of Africa, they’re incapable of governing themselves.

Prince’s co-host Mark Serrano then warned him that listeners might hear his words and believe he means them: “People on the left are going to watch this,” said Serrano, “and they’re going to say, wait a minute, Erik Prince is talking about being a colonialist again.”

Prince responded: “Absolutely, yes.” He then added that he thought this was a great concept not just for Africa but also for Latin America.

Prince and Serrano either do not know or do not care that previous bouts of the European flavor of colonialism led to the deaths of tens of millions of people around the world. Then in the 20th century, the ideology of colonialism gave birth to Nazism.

Like the previous enthusiasts of imperialism, Prince is completely blind to his own motivations and where they inevitably lead. He doesn’t want to do this for America’s benefit, you see. No, it’s because “if you go to these countries and you see how they suffer, under absolutely corrupt governments that are just criminal syndicates, a lot of them deserve better.”

This was the rationale for Britain’s white man’s burden, France’s mission civilisatrice, Spain’s misión civilizadora, Portugal’s missão civilizadora, and even imperial Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, which aimed to conquer every nearby country for the benefit of all. Imperialists have always told themselves that they are subduing other lands to help their benighted inhabitants. This beneficence somehow always leads to mass death.

This curious psychological phenomenon is famously portrayed in “Heart of Darkness,” the 1899 novel by Joseph Conrad. The book’s narrator, Charles Marlow, describes his voyage up a river into the interior of an unnamed African country that is obviously Congo in the process of being colonized by Belgium.

Marlow explains:

It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale … the conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretense but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea — something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to.

Marlow attempts to find out what happened to Mr. Kurtz, an upriver colonial agent. When he arrives, he finds Kurtz is living in a villa surrounded by heads stuck on spikes. Marlow learns that Kurtz has written a report for the “International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs.” It begins with Kurtz declaring, “By the simple exercise of our will we can exert a power for good practically unbounded.” Before long it degenerates into an exhortation to “exterminate all the brutes!”

That’s in fiction. In reality, Belgium’s well-meaning imperialism killed perhaps 10 million Congolese.

It always seems to work this way. For instance, here are a series of 2003 quotes about the Iraq War from Mississippi’s Trent Lott, then the GOP’s Senate minority leader:

March 27: “I ask Mississippians of all faiths to pray for all our coalition forces and the Iraqi people as they engage in an intense but noble battle against what is nothing but sheer evil.”

April 15: “We went in there to free those people.”

October 28: “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens.”

Serrano at least is more in touch with the grimy reality of what they’re talking about, and he excitedly mentions how America could bring lesser nations “the professionalism they need to capitalize on their natural resources.”

In any case, Prince’s words illustrate that we are living in a time in which many of humanity’s worst ideas, ones we thought were long dead and buried, have risen from the grave and are now staggering about again.

Fascism? Maybe things went off the rails last time, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. A pea-brained fear of vaccines? Sure, why not? A conviction that the old lady who lives in the forest is stealing our children and vivisecting them to consume their adrenochrome? That makes perfect sense.

Later in the show Prince also resurrects another old popular favorite, The Enemy Within Is in League With the Enemy Without. “You get the BLM and the Hamas militias of the Democrat Party, very active in the United States this summer,” he says. “When that BLM or Hamas militia shows up to start wrecking things, you show them what law and order looks like, immediately.”

So that’s where we are in today’s America. Maybe we could return to medicine based on the four humors, in which all human afflictions are due to imbalances in your phlegm, blood, and yellow and black bile. And why not give chattel slavery another shot? If we’re going to do imperialism again, really, the sky’s the limit.

The post Erik Prince Calls for U.S. to Colonize Africa and Latin America appeared first on The Intercept.