34 I CHRONICLESnboth to “explain” and simultaneouslyndevalue European empire. “Empireas-neurosis”nsuited this need perfectly.nIf anything, the idea is more prominentnnow in the 80’s than at any timensince Schumpeter came up with it,nfitting as it does the current fads fornpop psychoanalysis and smug literaryn”deconstruction.”nA typical product of this tradition—nmentioned here because of its enormousninfluence as well—is DominiquenO. Mannoni’s Prospero andnCaliban (1963), which was based onnwhat we would now call a “deconstruction”nof Conrad’s Lord]im. Mannoninagreed that the 19th-century imperialistsnclearly “rejected the moralitynof the account book”: the reaping ofnprofits didn’t explain empire. He arguedninstead that the origins of “imperialism”nwere psychological. Thenimperialist, typically, was motivatednby a disturbed sexuality and projectednhis repressed desires onto his colonialnsubjects, whom he transformed intonexternal embodiments of his forbiddennwishes. Thus in Africa, white men,nfearing “the Negro in their id” (Mannoni’snphrase), moved to control Africans,nin reality, in order to controlntheir fear of themselves. These “emotionalnsatisfactions” constituted thenreal attraction of empire. Generally,nthis idea has gone hand in hand withnan idealized picture of the Edens thenimperialists found upon arrival in Africanor Asia—basically innocent andninoffensive societies that became, innturn, “projective surfaces” for twistednEuropean fantasies. In other words:nimperialism as European psychologicalnsadism.nIt is to this element of the intellectualntradition on “imperialism” thatnRaina Kabbani owes her allegiance:nEurope’s Myths of Orient is purenSchumpeter-Mannoni. The book isnmostiy a study of European travelliteraturenabout the Moslem MiddlenEast. Its thesis is that the Europeanntravelers were incapable of seeing thenreal Islamic culture in all its virtue andnperceived instead only what they wantedn(or in some cases psychologicallynneeded) to perceive: bizarre violencenand steamy sexuality. Such perceptions,nbrought back to Europe, devaluednthe culture of the Orient—which,nin turn, made the European militarynsubjugation of the Orient all the easiernto justify.nThere is a grain of truth: the Europeanntravelers’ picture of the East tendednto be superficial, and—as with allntravel literature—their focus tended tonbe on themselves rather than on thenlandscape. But Kabbani is unwilling tongive her Victorians the slightest creditnfor at least trying to understand ansociety that was both complex andnalien: How many Moslems in the 19thncentury were engaged in similar studynof Europe?nIn any case, just how “fictional” wasnthe picture of the East which thentravelers brought back? Kabbani commitsna major tactical error here bynnever explicitly informing the readernwhat the “deep reality” was whichnthe European travelers supposedlynmissed—and against which she sarcasticallynjudges their writing. Yet ifnthe Europeans saw only the superficialnand the obvious, it was nonetheless anreal and perhaps even crucial part ofnthe culture. Despotism existed, andndespotic violence occurred; secludednharems guarded by eunuchs existed,nand fascinated everyone; beggars andnslavery were accepted as facts of life.n(Indeed, Ali Mazrui’s family werenthemselves major slave-traders on theneast coast of Africa in this period—anfact Mazrui forgets to mention duringnhis pages of castigation of the Europeannslave-trade in The Africans.)nA good example of Kabbani’s techniquencan be found in her discussionnof The Thousand-and-One Nights. Shensuggests that translations of this Arabicnwork were always popular in Europenbecause the Europeans needed to projectnonto Eastern women an image ofnviolent and insatiable sexuality, innorder to devalue both the East andnwomen. It was essentially a sinisternplot, part of the construction of ann”ideology of imperialism.” But the factnis that The Thousand-and-One Nightsnwas an immensely popular work in thenMiddle East itself; moreover, the Europeanntranslations (except perhaps fornSir Richard Burton’s) were less pornographicnthan the original Arabic. Innother words: The hostile image of thenviolent and sexually insatiable womannwas not only a truly Islamic image butnalso a very prominent one. The Europeansndidn’t make it up, or even exaggeratenit, but simply reflected whatnthey saw and were told.nnnKabbani ends her book with a discussionnof V.S. Naipaul’s traveloguenAmong the Believers and somehownmanages to imply that fanatical Shiitenfundamentalism is a hostile fictionninvented by the twisted and deracinatednNaipaul! These things were therenand are there in the Middle East,nwaiting to be seen. Despite Kabbani,nthey aren’t “myths.”nWhat we see, then, in Europe’snMyths of Orient, is the politics ofnresentment masquerading as historicalnanalysis. The same holds true, ofncourse, for Mazrui’s The Africans. Indeed,nthe examples of Mazrui andnKabbani themselves show up thenmajor flaw in the theory of imperialism-as-psychological-sadism.Accordingnto psychoanalytic theory,nevery individual human being has hostilenand aggressive drives and finds onenway or another of expressing them (asnKabbani and Mazrui certainly do). Butnempires occur only at specific timesnand in specific places. So if the firstnphenomenon is such a general one—nspecies-wide, in fact—then how can itnexplain the second?nAt this point, one might be temptednto throw up one’s hands at the conditionnof historical “analysis” of thisnwhole topic of empire and “imperialism”:nThe whole intellectual traditionnhere seems, in one way or another, anpoisoned well. But, especially sincenthe 60’s, there has been a small scholarlyncountermovement towards objectivityn(perhaps encouraged by the actualnend of European empires). We maynnow be, in fact, at the beginning of anperiod in which real analysis, untaintednby immediate political polemic,ncan once again be attempted. One signnpointing in that direction is the publicationnof Michael Doyle’s Empires—nthe best modern analysis of the topic Inhave yet seen (despite its excess ofnsociological jargon).nDoyle begins by noting that thentheories of “imperialism” that havenheld the field since 1902 have all beenn”metrocentric” theories: that is, theynhave explained the creation of empiresnas the result solely of the disposition ofn”the metropole” (the imperial state) tonexpand. And such “metrocentric” theoriesninevitably verge into “blaming”ntheories (true of Hobson, Lenin,nSchumpeter, Mannoni—and true, ofncourse, of Mazrui and Kabbani asn