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Deterring Democracy [Paperback]

Noam Chomsky
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Jan 2006

From World War II until the 1980s, the United States reigned supreme as both the economic and the military leader of the world. The major shifts in global politics that came about with the dismantling of the Eastern Bloc have left the United States unchallenged as the pre-eminent military power, but American economic might has declined drastically in the face of competition, first from Germany and Japan and more recently from the newly prosperous countries elsewhere.

In this book, Noam Chomsky points to the potentially catastrophic consequences of this imbalance. He reveals a world in which the United States exploits its advantage ruthlessly to enforce its national interests - and in the process destroys weaker nations.

Deterring Democracy offers a devastating analysis of American Imperialism, drawing alarming connections between its repression of information inside the US and its aggressive empire-building abroad.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition (3 Jan 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099135019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099135012
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"Offers a revelatory portrait of the US empire of the 1980s and '90s, an ugly side of America largely kept hidden from the public by a complacent media" (Publishers Weekly)

"Shows how large the gap is between the realities of today's world and the picture of it that is presented to the American public" (Observer)

"Arguably the most important intellectual alive" (New York Times)

"It's the truth. Noam really has the goods on those guys in America" (Robert Crumb Guardian)

Book Description

'This book...ought to be required reading in schools and newsrooms for it cuts through the often subtle propaganda about our times and tells us much about the new world order which, as Chomsky points out, is the old Cold War by another name' - John Pilger

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Chomsky's best overall book 7 Dec 2006
By Mr. Tristan Martin VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Deterring Democracy is Professor Noam Chomsky's cutting analysis of the 1980s, the decade that filmmaker Oliver Stone (in the film Wall Street) sarcastically wrote as being defined as, "Greed is good."

Though Chomsky's book looks at many aspects of post-World War II United States foreign policy, such as how Germany and Japan were reshaped to suit the needs of exporters, it's primary focus is on Central America. Chomsky chooses this geographic region for logical reasons: the U.S. has, through the centuries, marketed - branded, even - itself as being a fearless promoter of peace and justice; this has, in many ways, been its raison d'etre. Even today, the U.S.'s Manifest Destiny can still be seen in action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Throughout the 1980s, the U.S. had a relatively free hand in Central America (beyond the reach of the Soviet Union); therefore, how the U.S. acted in it's own 'backyard' when given carte blanche should be most instructive. Following the argument, if the U.S. actively promotes democracy, then countries like El Salvador and Honduras et al should have flowered into democratic paradises.

This did not happen. Using independent research, eyewitness testimony and the official internal planning record, Chomsky conclusively demonstrates that these countries became death-squad democracies, under U.S. tutelage. Tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of people were routinely tortured and executed, as government policy. Intimidation and brutality were common-place. Millions were displaced. The mainstream mass media colluded in surpressing these unpleasant facts from the U.S. public, whilst promoting an image of President Ronald Reagan as a great and fearless promoter of democracy, unafraid to stand up to the imperialist communist aggressors.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Chomsky manages to continually surprise us with the horrors rich nations inflict on poorer nations. He graphically describes US interference in countries struggling for social and economic change. I read this while living in Nicaragua and came to understand why the US insists on maintaining its control on rich-in-resources countries. Chomsky uncoveres the paranoia of US governments and their cruel role in the destruction of weaker victims. It is a hard book to deal with, but is one of the easier ones to read. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in US foreign policy, its motives and reasoning. It covers many areas of the world where the US actively set out to undermine social democratic movements, governments or people.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking analysis 12 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback
It is almost twenty years since Noam Chomsky published Deterring Democracy. Its contemporary context is an important starting point in the understanding of its position since most of the material seeks to analyse and contextualise United States foreign policy in the post-War years to the early nineties. In 1991 the United States under George Bush was embroiled in the First Gulf War. I must stress the word "first", since this gives a clue to the book's eventual prescience.

Also in 1991, a dim and distant past when the new millennium was not yet a talking point, a bi-polar world, whose permanence and assumed conflict provided the framework for all political analysis, was already being transformed. The Soviet Union had already ceased to be, but the years of Yeltsin's IMF poverty lay ahead, as did those of Putin's new pragmatic if demagogic prosperity.

Regimes of all political stances came and went in Central and South America. But all of them were classified as good or evil by the Manichean filter of the age. Occasionally, a convenience of political pragmatism offered re-branding, as in the case of Jamaica, where Michael Manley, a leader once undermined as a leftist was reinstated with eternal backing after Edward Seaga's neo-liberal experiment predictably burnt out. Chomsky's record of Manley's second era being that of his violin phase is extremely succinct. He was put up by the left, but played by the right.

Descriptions of prevailing issues in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala figure large, of course. But Chomsky also visits the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Europe to illustrate his central point. And it is a point that he makes and re-makes, a point that he still makes today.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 19 Mar 2003
Format:Paperback
As I near the end of this book, the US & UK war against Iraq is about to start (review written 19/3/03). I have watched the events unfold on TV, and have listened carefully to the words, arguments, justifications of US and UK politicians.
Now there are far too many facts, figures, dates quoted in this book for anyone to easily verify, so I planned to watch the current events on TV carefully and test his views in this book against them.
The book passed this test with flying colours. Mr Bush, and his "inner circle", has played just the cards the book would expect him to.
'Deterring Democracy' is well written and very insightful. Given that I believe what he writes is true, it's also depressing.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exposes US government policy. 15 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Chomsky's analysis suggests that the aim of US government policy over the last century has been two-fold. Firstly, it has been to create a global/domestic framework most favourable to the materialisation of local elite and business interests irrespective of the stark ethical costs involved. This translates into active oppression of independent nationalism all over the world and shocking campaigns of state-sponsored international terror. Secondly, in order to do this successfully, the government must manufacture sufficient domestic consent by legitimising these awful actions in the name of humanism, protection from evil dictators and other such 'just causes'. Whilst the hypocrisy clearly stinks, in portraying the US as a clandestine fascist state Chomsky threatens to undermine his credibility. However, by backing up his findings with detailed documentation and analysis it is hard not to take him seriously and conclude that the corridors of power are indeed nowhere near as benign as the ideals that we carry. My only criticism of this book is the sometimes repetitive nature of some of the key arguments. Chomsky has a tendency of going over old ground, perhaps with the aim of focusing attention on his core themes, but with the end result of diluting their impact. Nonetheless, this is a trivial point and shouldn't detract from peering into what is a truly insightful and at times disturbing window into the reality of US foreign policy.
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