Imperialism is meant to serve the needs of a ruling class much more than a nation. It has nothing to do with democracy. Perhaps for that reason it has often been characterized as a parasitic phenomenon-even by critics as astute as John Hobson in his 1902 classic, Imperialism: A Study. And (rom there it is unfortunately all too easy to slide into the crude notion that imperialist expansion is simply a product of powerful groups of individuals who have hijacked a nation's foreign policy to serve their own narrow ends.
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