[R-G] 'US foreign policy is straight out of the mafia'
Suzanne de Kuyper
suzannedk at gmail.com
Sat Nov 14 15:22:27 MST 2009
U.S. foriegn policy IS the mafia. As is Israei foriegn policy.
suzannedk at gmail.com
On Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 11:11 PM, Sid Shniad <shniad at gmail.com> wrote:
> The Guardian <http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian>
> November 7, 2009
> 'US foreign policy is straight out of the mafia'
> *Noam Chomsky is the west's most prominent critic of US imperialism, yet he
> is rarely interviewed
> *in the mainstream media. Seumas Milne meets him*
> *Noam Chomsky: 'Obama's campaign rhetoric was completely vacuous'*
> Noam Chomsky is the closest thing in the English-speaking world to an
> intellectual superstar. A philosopher of language and political campaigner
> of towering academic reputation, who as good as invented modern
> he is entertained by presidents, addresses the UN general assembly and
> commands a mass international audience. When he spoke in London last week,
> thousands of young people battled for tickets to attend his lectures,
> followed live on the internet across the globe, as the 80-year-old American
> linguist fielded questions from as far away as besieged Gaza.
> But the bulk of the mainstream western media doesn't seem to have noticed.
> His books sell in their hundreds of thousands, he is mobbed by students as
> celebrity, but he is rarely reported or interviewed in the US outside
> radical journals and websites. The explanation, of course, isn't hard to
> find. Chomsky is America's most prominent critic of the US imperial role in
> the world, which he has used his erudition and standing to expose and
> excoriate since Vietnam.
> Like the English philosopher Bertrand Russell, who spoke out against
> western-backed wars until his death at the age of 97, Chomsky has lent his
> academic prestige to a relentless campaign against his own country's
> barbarities abroad – though in contrast to the aristocratic Russell,
> is the child of working class Jewish refugees from Tsarist pogroms. Not
> surprisingly, he has been repaid with either denunciation or, far more
> typically, silence. Whereas a much slighter figure such as the Atlanticist
> French philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy is lionised at home and abroad,
> Chomsky and his genuine popularity are ignored.
> Indeed, his books have been banned from the US prison library in
> You'd hardly need a clearer example of his model of how dissenting views
> filtered out of the western media, set out in his 1990's book Manufacturing
> Consent, than his own case. But as Chomsky is the first to point out, the
> marginalisation of opponents of western state policy is as nothing compared
> to the brutalities suffered by those who challenge states backed by the US
> and its allies in the Middle East.
> We meet in a break between a schedule of lectures and talks that would be
> punishing for a man half his age. At the podium, Chomsky's style is dry and
> low-key, as he ranges without pausing for breath from one region and
> historical conflict to another, always buttressed with a barrage of sources
> and quotations, often from US government archives and leaders themselves.
> But in discussion he is warm and engaged, only hampered by slight deafness.
> He has only recently started travelling again, he explains, after a
> three-year hiatus while he was caring for his wife and fellow linguist,
> Carol, who died from cancer last December. Despite their privilege, his
> concentrated exposure to the continuing injustices and exorbitant expense
> the US health system has clearly left him angry. Public emergency rooms are
> "uncivilised, there is no health care", he says, and the same kind of
> corporate interests that drive US foreign policy are also setting the
> of domestic social reform.
> All three schemes now being considered for Barack Obama's health care
> are "to the right of the public, which is two to one in favour of a public
> option. But the New York Times says that has no political support, by which
> they mean from the insurance and pharmaceutical companies." Now the
> Petroleum Institute is determined to "follow the success of the insurance
> industry in killing off health reform," Chomsky says, and do the same to
> hopes of genuine international action at next month's Copenhagen climate
> change summit. Only the forms of power have changed since the foundation of
> the republic, he says, when James Madison insisted that the new state
> "protect the minority of the opulent against the majority".
> Chomsky supported Obama's election campaign in swing states, but regards
> presidency as representing little more than a "shift back towards the
> centre" and a striking foreign policy continuity with George Bush's second
> administration. "The first Bush administration was way off the spectrum,
> America's prestige sank to a historic low and the people who run the
> didn't like that." But he is surprised so many people abroad, especially in
> the third world, are disappointed at how little Obama has changed. "His
> campaign rhetoric, hope and change, was entirely vacuous. There was no
> principled criticism of the Iraq war: he called it a strategic blunder. And
> Condoleezza Rice was black – does that mean she was sympathetic to third
> world problems?"
> The veteran activist has described the US invasion of Afghanistan as "one
> the most immoral acts in modern history", which united the jihadist
> around al-Qaida, sharply increased the level of terrorism and was
> irrational – unless the security of the population is not the main
> priority". Which, of course, Chomsky believes, it is not. "States are not
> moral agents," he says, and believes that now that Obama is escalating the
> war, it has become even clearer that the occupation is about the
> of Nato and US global power.
> This is a recurrent theme in Chomsky's thinking about the American empire.
> He argues that since government officials first formulated plans for a
> "grand area" strategy for US global domination in the early 1940s,
> successive administrations have been guided by a "godfather principle,
> straight out of the mafia: that defiance cannot be tolerated. It's a major
> feature of state policy." "Successful defiance" has to be punished, even
> where it damages business interests, as in the economic blockade of Cuba –
> in case "the contagion spreads".
> The gap between the interests of those who control American foreign policy
> and the public is also borne out, in Chomsky's view, by the US's unwavering
> support for Israel and "rejectionism" of the two-state solution effectively
> on offer for 30 years. That's not because of the overweening power of the
> Israel lobby in the US, but because Israel is a strategic and commercial
> asset which underpins rather than undermines US domination of the Middle
> East. "Even in the 1950s, President Eisenhower was concerned about what he
> called a campaign of hatred of the US in the Arab world, because of the
> perception on the Arab street that it supported harsh and oppressive
> to take their oil."
> Half a century later, corporations like Lockheed Martin and Exxon Mobil are
> doing fine, he says: America's one-sided role in the Middle East isn't
> harming their interests, whatever risks it might bring for anyone else.
> Chomsky is sometimes criticised on the left for encouraging pessimism or
> inaction by emphasising the overwhelming weight of US power – or for
> to connect his own activism with labour or social movements on the ground.
> He is certainly his own man, holds some idiosyncratic views (I was
> for instance, to hear him say that Vietnam was a strategic victory for the
> US in southeast Asia, despite its humiliating 1975 withdrawal) and has
> flak for defending freedom of speech for Holocaust deniers. He describes
> himself as an anarchist or libertarian socialist, but often sounds more
> a radical liberal – which is perhaps why he enrages more middle-of-the-road
> American liberals who don't appreciate their views being taken to the
> logical conclusion.
> But for an octogenarian who has been active on the left since the 1930s,
> Chomsky sounds strikingly upbeat. He's a keen supporter of the wave of
> progressive change that has swept South America in the past decade ("one of
> the liberal criticisms of Bush is that he didn't pay enough attention to
> Latin America – it was the best thing that ever happened to Latin
> He also believes there are now constraints on imperial power which didn't
> exist in the past: "They couldn't get away with the kind of chemical
> and blanket B52 bombing that Kennedy did," in the 1960s. He even has some
> qualified hopes for the internet as a way around the monopoly of the
> corporate-dominated media.
> But what of the charge so often made that he's an "anti-American" figure
> can only see the crimes of his own government while ignoring the crimes of
> others around the world? "Anti-Americanism is a pure totalitarian concept,"
> he retorts. "The very notion is idiotic. Of course you don't deny other
> crimes, but your primary moral responsibility is for your own actions,
> you can do something about. It's the same charge which was made in the
> by King Ahab, the epitome of evil, when he demanded of the prophet Elijah:
> why are you a hater of Israel? He was identifying himself with society and
> criticism of the state with criticism of society."
> It's a telling analogy. Chomsky is a studiedly modest man who would balk at
> any such comparison. But in the Biblical tradition of the conflict between
> prophets and kings, there's not the slightest doubt which side he
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