Imperialism: Important or Imperfect?

Presently, we are assessing Empire and its constituents, like our study of “Culture and Imperialism” by Edward Said – which highlights the imperfections in imperialistic hegemony by Empires. In Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Marlow experiences the horrors of imperialism perpetrated by Europeans in Africa, but is there scenarios where imperialism is not only good but necessary? North Korea and the United States?  Although America’s past attempt to imperialize North Korea merely to minimize the spread of communism cannot be justified on any spectrum, North Korea’s deteriorating relationship with the United States, inhumane reign by their current dictator, and North Korea’s readiness to go to war with the U.S could justify American Imperialism in North Korea.

North Korea’s current relationship to the United States is best compared to that of America and the Soviet Union during the Cold War – an ongoing arms race and tension built for almost a century. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, is fearful that the United States will imperialize and saturate North Korea with American principles, but most importantly, place an end to his communistic regime. The tension originally began during the Korean War but has been growing steadily ever since the U.S and South Korea signed “Operation Plan 5015”, “a joint strategy for possible war scenarios with North Korea”(Fox News). Their relationship is notorious for their “hostility” even 90% of Americans have “[expressed] a negative” outlook on North Korea, likewise with North Koreans [anti-American propaganda below] (Wikipedia).  Although these two nations have an immense amount of tension built up, it does not give the United States a legitimate reason to imperialize North Korea; however, their dictator’s brutal regime – which places a threat to humanity – may be.


Translated: U.S Military Out, Repel American Invader. This poster depicts the hostility between North Korea and the United States. Image: Academic Traveler


Kim Jong Un’s regime is built on fear and torture. Everyone in North Korea is required to do as Kim Jong Un says or obligation through torture is consequent – parallel to Stalin’s relationship with the Soviets. According to The Guardian, Kim Jong Un’s regime has secret camps to place everyone who opposes his regime. It is speculated that thousands and thousands of citizens have been starved, tortured and put to death. If that is not enough, The Telegraph believes that North Korea should be charged with “crimes against humanity” for wanting racial purity, starving the nation, forcing confessions, mass rituals, and kidnappings on their own citizens (The Telegraph 2014). Kim Jong Un’s unorthodox regime is a tempting reason for America to lash out and imperialize North Korea, yet North Korea developing weapons of mass destruction, fortifying their military and seeming prepared to go to war is a forewarning that war is imminent if America does not act on instinct.

North Korea is developing ICBMs and is predicted to soon have ICBM’s with nuclear warheads alongst a nuclear arsenal.  Furthermore, North Korea is avidly testing ICBMs in the Korean Peninsula, which triggers fear amongst Americans.  They are building and fortifying their military and expanding the anti-imperialist, anti-American propaganda fueling hate towards America. North Korea seems ready to go to war with their prolonged enemy, America. Although I blatantly admit that America’s retrospective thirst for imperialism is not justified, I think that imperializing North Korea now is crucial. If America practices appeasement and allows North Korea to continue building their prospective nuclear arsenal, strengthening their military and brain-washing Koreans into hating America, then a war is seemingly inevitable — nuclear war.

Translation: “The enemy who has spilled the blood of our people. Century-long nemesis. Death to the Americans”. Image by: Academic Traveler


Imperialism has always been perceived as a selfish act built on greed and self-interest; however, the way North Korea is acting towards the United States, towards the world and humanity, is a pertinent enough reason to imperialize North Korea now. Imperialize North Korea before control goes uncontrolled, and we are pushed to the brink of nuclear war.

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Lizeth Navarrete

In this blog, I will be doing comparative analysis between our course pertaining to "Empires and its Ruins" to contemporary events that align with the concepts.

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