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Review: Interventions by Noam Chomsky

Interventions by Noam Chomsky is a compilation of selected Chomsky articles from 2002 up to 2006.  All articles were syndicated by the NY Times Syndicate but rarely ever published in the United States, as most of the mainstream media would consider Chomsky’s views too dissident.  If you’ve read the author’s prior works then you will not be surprised by anything in Interventions.  Chomsky tends to focus on three arching subjects which make their way into most of his articles and arguments.

First, the danger that Nuclear Weapons pose to the existence of mankind as we know it.  “Dr. Strangelove Meets the Age of Terror”, published April 28, 2005, highlights a common Chomsky assertion that reigning nuclear powers, especially the U.S., are doing nothing to eliminate nuclear weapons.  The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is being weakened or ignored by States such as the U.S. who are pursuing their misguided interests.

Chomsky’s ideal worldview, the one that he preaches, is Universality.  The common individual probably would agree wholeheartedly with the concept that we treat others as we expect to be treated, or equal justice for all.  However, our government, according to Chomsky, violates this premise repeatedly through the use of might.  Examples are abound in the book in which the U.S. subjects other nations to radical policies, interferes with their autonomy, and inflicts punishment on their citizenry.  Yet these actions would never be tolerated if another country were to attempt to inflict them on the U.S. or a friendly state of the U.S.  The U.S. government is justifying this through their military and economic power and selling it to the people with political catch phrases such as “spreading freedom and liberty.”

Finally, Chomsky highlights the rogue nature of the U.S. government’s foreign policies.  In particular one only needs to look at the voting record of the U.S. in the United Nations.  Not only are their several instances where the U.S. was clearly outvoted, but it went on to ignore the UN dictates.  The U.S. has determined the UN irrelevant and only helpful when they agree with the course the U.S. foreign policy has decided to take.

Chomsky can become very repetitive at times because he stresses many of his same ideas over and over but in new political contexts.  Yet despite that, he is often using brilliant logic and has a clear view of foreign policy.  I think one could easily disagree with Chomsky on his views of Universality in foreign policy but it would be deceptive to ignore how often the U.S. foreign policy practices what many would consider immoral courses of action.  The biggest shame is that Chomsky is, for the most part, not even part of our national dialogue.  As a citizen, I tire to hear the same old recycled arguments by both parties about the hows instead of asking the whys.