Friday, November 21, 2003

Noam Chomsky - Hegemony or Survival

Noam Chomsky has written a timely book for NGO members, other pupulists, and progressives. Just caught him on pbs with Charlie Rose. Rose had a bit of trouble keeping up. The title says it all. Chomsky truly represents the unrepresented people - read him.

Hegemony or Survival : America's Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project)
by Panopticonman

To read Chomsky's HEGEMONY OR SURVIVAL is to visit a world turned upside down. A world where the characterization by U.S. elites of the 90s as the "decade of humanitarian intervention" is sharply questioned, it's also a place where interventions in the name of the "war on terror" are shown to be just the latest manifestations of an expansionist U.S. administration determined to hold onto long-range strategic imperatives, to disable rival systems and people that threaten its imperial objectives, and to strictly enforce its true animating principle -- the pro-market, anti-human ethos of the neo-liberal economic system. In other words, it's not the fumigated middle-school version of US foreign policy offered to Americans on TV....

....One of his main themes is that the United States, like its imperial predecessor, Great Britain, employs an idealizing and utopian language (the language of democracy and freedom) to justify its opposition to and extirpation of any countervailing force, even those founded upon the democratic or populist impulse, e.g., Nicaragua, Guatemala. This is not, of course, an insight original to Chomsky. But what is so disorienting and unique about Chomsky's renarration of recent events is that he is exquisitely alive to the efforts of those in power to efface the historical record, to enforce forgetfulness and unknowing through a steady diet of fear and triumphalist propaganda. Reinscribing history, he quotes mainstream sources, official records, military and diplomatic experts, many of whom are unsympathetic to his point of view, and builds a compelling case to support his thesis that even the "exceptional" United States unexceptionally behaves like powerful states typically do: enhancing their power through violence, and legitimizing their policies through whatever discourses are available. And while its not original to Chomsky that absolute power corrupts absolutely, what is fine and bracing is the way he marshals legions of facts to show how those in power, unchecked in our "open society," move to stifle or subvert the will of its citizens in favor of the money power it truly serves. ...Review Continued

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