According to Nolan, an imperial order is the order that puts one country under the control of another. It normally results in cases where the country which is issuing the order is the colonizer of the other one, or where the two countries had been involved in a conflict or war and one country emerges the winner. The winning country may decide to take over control of all the activities of the other country ranging from cultural to political activities, resulting into an imperial order. Imperialism is marked with an increasing influence of powerful nations over the weaker ones economically, socially and politically.

According to Carlsnaes and Beth, imperialism is the creation of a state in which there is an unequal balance in cultural, economical and territorial relations between two or many states. The two scholars noted that this unbalanced relation is maintained by continued domination and control, leading to the formation of an empire. Abdi and Lynette, on the other hand, explain that the term imperialism is mostly applied to the political and economic dominance of other nations by the Western countries. According to them, imperialism refers to any system of domination and control with an imperial view. Stewart-Harawira supported this argument by noting that imperialists normally advance policies related to colonialists such as territorial control, and both military and economic influence and dominance over another nation.

This paper endeavors to explain what imperial order is and to further give an illustration to justify that the practice is conducive to both conflict and cooperation. Additionally, the paper discusses various kinds of conflicts which arose from imperialism and provide examples. All these will be analyzed in the context of crisis management in international relations.

Imperial Order and Co-operation

Bellamy and Paul argued that imperial orders can be very useful in conflict resolution and peace building and maintaining global order among nations. According to the scholars, imperial orders, if received cooperatively by weaker states that are suffering from internal crises and conflicts can be very beneficial to their healing process. Bellamy and Paul noted that imperialism can promote peace between the warring parties. The two concluded that imperialism should, therefore, not just be viewed as a cause of conflict, but should be acknowledge for its strengths in ensuring peace. Imperialism has, therefore, been fronted as one of the effective methods of managing crisis and resolving conflicts in the international level. The practice has a great potential of conflict resolution and ensuring that there is political order and peace in a given region or nation, especially when a region or a number of nations are under one master.

Stewart-Harawira argued that even though some imperialist activities in a number of developing countries led to the rise of conflicts between the powerful and the weaker states, they came with great benefits to their colonies. They noted that although the imperialists had subjected their political, social, economical influence and domination on the colonies, they helped these less developed nations to open up in terms of infrastructure, creating peace in the long term through promoting regional equality.

An example of such nations which benefited from imperialism is Kenya where railroads were constructed by the Portuguese in a bid to ease transportation of raw materials and other goods to Portugal from Uganda through Kenya and via the Indian Ocean. Apart from development of infrastructure, these nations also benefited from the introduction of education through the development of schools and also introduction of fast and cheap means of communication such as the landline telephone among others. Therefore, though these nations invaded and controlled the economies of the weaker nations, for cooperation purposes, these nations had to come up with developments in the weaker countries.

Miller has opposed the argument by some political analysts that imperialism only leads into controversies and conflicts. These analysts had based their argument on the basis of continued tear and shear forces of political, cultural and economical ideologies which exist between the powerful and the weaker states even after the establishment of imperialism. Miller refuted this claim, noting that imperialism has in many occasions brought peace to nations that allowed other superior nations to influence them, especially in their political and economical issues. 

Burbank and David noted that the positive influence of imperialism on cooperation can be seen from the colonization period when the nations that were considered relatively developed in the nineteenth century took over the leadership of the less developed nations. The colonizers had great influence on their colonies, as their main aim was to expand their powers.  Burbank and David also argued that despite the fact that the practices of imperialism have had negative influences with powerful nations controlling the economies and politics of weaker states, nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and Germany brought great cooperation to majority of the countries which they influenced both politically and economically.  The two scholars added that it is during this period that the weaker states were introduced to new methods of trade that involved the use of currency instead of the old methods of barter trade, something that brought much cooperation within and among the nations.

Imperial Orders as Conducive for Conflicts

Irrespective of its potential in promoting peace, imperialism has led to numerous conflicts all over the world. Miller, in agreeing with this fact, noted that there have been several conflicts resulting from political, social and economical differences in the policies fronted by the masters to those fronted by the colonies. Miller notes that some of such conflicts have even resulted in wars, especially in cases where a colony rebels against its master. According to Miller, what drives the imperialistic nations is the belief that the nations that are able to bring significant developments into the world should be allowed to do so even if it means governing and taking control of other states.

He argues that it is this belief that makes the imperialistic nations categorize themselves as powerful and make their leaders to want to dominate the developing nations. Conflict, therefore, arouses when the developing nations rise to negate this justification by the powerful nations for their actions. The weaker states have found the justification controversial and have continued to claim that they have their own capacities to govern themselves and control their economies independently and accordingly. The end result of such controversial claims is, therefore, a division between the nations and, hence, a regional war. Miller noted that such sharp divisions have in certain cases led to international wars involving a multiple of nations ganged up against one nation in a bid to control its politics and economy, good example being what has continued to happen in Israel.

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Snyder identified the Chinese Empire, the Roman Empire, Greece, Japan, ancient Egypt and Assyrian Empire as examples of the regions and nations that have imperialism histories around the world. He noted that these empires and nations were basic components of the conquest of war-lords at different times of world history. He explained that in most cases, it is the Western powerful nations such as Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands which stipulate the imperial policies guiding the African nations. This means that the formulated policies may not be able to effectively address the challenges facing the developing countries, but the goal of the masters.According to Snyder, imperial orders may include indirect influence on the economic and political issues of weak governments by more powerful ones. Such endeavors by more powerful states lead not only to internal conflicts, but may also grow to rumors of war and eventual war between the two states like what is currently witnessed in Korea. In most cases, these wars are caused by the readiness of the powerful nations to oppose the weaker state’s bid to gain freedom of running its activities independently.

Apart from the political and economical control and domination, Pickles explains that the more powerful states, at times, want also to have cultural influence on the weaker states. He gives example of such cultural dimensions as the influence of language and the dressing styles, which also results into conflicts and chaos. Gray also notes that imperial orders can lead to conflict over the preferred settlement patterns of particular people, as well as the dominating language for people in a particular region or nation.

He noted that in some cases the imperialists have displaced the citizens of weaker nations and forced them to settle in certain patterns because of the belief that the natives may not be able to utilize particular pieces of land productively. The imperialists, thus, seek to displace the original owners of the land to use for both agriculture and industrialization. According to Gray, this will certainly lead to a land conflict as the natives are made to feel inferior in their own land and nation. He sees this as a justification of the argument that the imperial orders can lead to the undermining of peace building process and instead of crisis management, they can cause conflicts.

Examples of Conflicts Resulting from Imperialism

Guzzini gave an example with a war that broke out in Yemen Middle East, Iran and Pakistan as a result of imperialism. These wars are seen to majorly have resulted from the actions of the U.S and their opposition by the communist nations like China and Russia. Guzzini reports that a number of people lost their lives as a result of the war. Consequently, it can be seen how cruel detrimental imperialism can be and the kind of conflicts it can cause, some of which lead to loss of a large quantity of property and even very precious and innocent lives.

According to Jorgensen, such conflicts can be avoided in most cases if the people affected by the imperialism were not forced to engage themselves in wars which have triggered by anti-imperialism bids. Jorgensen explains that it could be very prudent if the nations that are under a crisis are given the opportunity to soberly solve their issues through negotiations without the interference of the imperialists whose interventions normally result in war. This will enable these nations to avoid taking stands that may cause an eruption of a war that can be harmful to their citizens.

Hogan and Eric, while explaining the history of imperialism in Israel, argued that most of the conflicts the nation has experienced are as a result of differences in political and economical ideologies between its leaders and the imperialists. According to these two scholars, the effects of the conflicts resulting from imperialism can be avoided by forgiveness which have much reaching impacts and can last for a long period in the lives of the conflicting nations. At this point this write up will address some of the proposed ways in which imperialism can be combated.

Alternatives to Imperial Orders

Gross and Juncos in contributing to this debate explain that there is a need for the involvement of peace making bodies such as the European Union, the United Nations  and other international non-governmental organizations in peace building processes. The two scholars saw the need of involving these organizations instead of the intervention by individual nations to calm the conflicting nations. They also saw the need of solving any of such problems resulting from imperialism early enough before the eruption of complicated twists of the crises, like wars that would cause many deaths.

Bercovitch and William identified some ways of resolving international conflicts and differences in a bid to foster an admirable image in international relations. First is through combating imperialism with the aim of bringing to an end the conflicts that it causes. This would help to promote peaceful relations among nations besides it boosting global order. Additionally, nations should endeavor to live in peace with other nations, despite their differences in political and economical ideologies. Nations should also embrace dialogue in cases of conflicts. This would specifically work like in the case of the North and South Korea.

Larrivee in contributing on how the imperial conflict resulting from linguistic differences can be avoided expressed the need for people to embrace language laws. He argues that languages have laws that can help in giving further exposition on the meaning and implications of the language used in various imperial orders which may be causing conflicts. He also noted that the movement of people from one nation to another and the subsequent introduction of and use of their language and cultural practices in the foreign nation should not be considered to be a probable threat of imperialism in the contemporary society.

According to Horsley, the other way through which international crisis can be managed and peace be maintained across all the borders of all nations is through the nations taking initiatives of educating their citizenry on the importance of fostering peace and unity at the international levels. He argues that having citizens who are informed of the importance peace can help to foster better and mutual relationships among nations. Horsley noted that there is a need for some of the educational initiatives programs to be included in the learning systems in the learning institutions of various countries.

Bulliet, Crossley and Headrick in what is seen as a religious perspective argued that there is a need for people to embrace the spirit of brotherhood. They noted that being that all humans originated from God, there is a need for all peoples to live together in peace and unity, irrespective of their divergent political, economical, social and cultural ideologies. They argued that the leadership is constituted by God, the leaders should help to ensure that people they lead are united and that there are no divisions along the international ideologies.


From the work, it is clear that imperial order in crisis management is conducive for both order and cooperation. It can, therefore, not be completely combated but instead, the leaders must embrace peaceful coexistence, as they also ensure that the citizens they lead are informed on the importance of peaceful coexistence. Nations must also be able to embrace their diversity in as far as the political, social and economical ideologies are concerned.


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