Ethnocentrism and Ideology: Justifying Today's "Just Wars"

In the past, the colonial powers of Western Europe would indoctrinate their people. Their objective was to acquire popular support for colonial conquest. This took the form of spreading Christianity and promoting Christian values with the support of armed merchants and colonial armies.

At the same time, racist ideologies were put forth. The people whose lands were colonized were portrayed as "sub-human," inferior, or soulless. Finally, the "White Man's burden" of taking on a mission of civilizing the so-called "uncivilized peoples of the world" was used. This cohesive ideological framework was used to portray colonialism as a "just cause." The latter in turn was used to provide legitimacy to the waging of "just wars" as a means to conquering and "civilizing" foreign lands.

Today, the imperialist designs of the United States, Britain, France, and Germany have not changed. What has changed is the pretext and justification for waging their neo-colonial wars of conquest. During the colonial period, the narratives and justifications for waging war were accepted by public opinion in the colonizing countries, such as Britain and France. Today's "just wars" and "just causes" are now being conducted under the banners of women's rights, human rights, humanitarianism, and democracy.



By Br. Hassan Adhan