Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs (Chomsky Perspectives) Paperback – 30 Nov 2000
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The indefatigable Chomsky ... One might reasonably ask just how deserving of our anger are Gap or McDonald's compared with the violent depradations of a superpower that alone vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international law?... For America to call itself the 'global policeman', he writes, is an insult to policemen everywhere, 'who are supposed to uphold the law, not tear it to pieces.' (Guardian)
In its wide range across the politics and economics of diverse countries, Rogue States makes an excellent introduction to Chomsky's thinking and an ideal Christmas present - treat yourself! (Labour Left Briefing)
Chomsky doing what he does best... An invaluable tool for deciphering the rhetoric the powerful use to rationalise their excesses. (Socialist Standard)
About the Author
Noam Chomsky is a world renowned linguist and one of America's foremost social critics. He is Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at M.I.T. He is the author of numerous books, including Pirates and Emperors Old and New, Fateful Triangle, The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo and Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs.
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From the Balkans, to East Timor and from Columbia to Cuba, the foreign policy of the US leaves it with bloody hands. Chomsky introduces examples of 'rogue' behaviour such as the support of the US for Suharto's massacres, terrorism in Nicaragua together with their voting record in the UN.
As the US is labelling nations as 'rogue states' belonging to an 'Axis of Evil', Chomsky offers compelling evidence to show the hypocracy of this.
No one topic/state dominates this book, it is a superb overview of American foreign policy which should be in the collection of the biggest Chomsky fan or a newcomer to the great man's work.
Easy to read and brilliant.
In this book, Chomsky focuses largely on the role of the US in the Middle East, its stance on Nicaragua, and its support of the despicable Suharto in Indonesia. Not merely another hothead spouting unsubstansiated opinion, Chomsky backs up his words with references to UN reports and voting results, Red Cross reports, and also Amnesty International statements, to name but a few neutral sources.
It is very often chilling reading, but nonetheless if you want to understand what really goes on, and how little of it is really reported, this book is well worth a read. Just be prepared for a few unpleasant shocks.
What follows is a 200 page, lucidly argued, well-documented (if highly selective), infuriatingly footnoted rant against US aggression. It documents US interventions in world affairs from the time of the founding fathers (Cuban aggression) through early empire building (in the Philippines and the Caribbean), the cold war (Indonesia, Indochina, South America and Africa) to the modern world (Iraq, the Middle East and Israel). In all of these cases, Chomsky argues, the USA has acted in its narrow self-interest, often in flagrant defiance of international law, although sometimes under the mask of righteousness or as a kind of "global policeman". Claims of US benevolence have been undermined by support for a series of brutal dictators (Suharto, Duvalier, Mobutu, Pinochet, Saddam Hussein, etc etc).
This is all very well in so far as it goes. What Chomsky conspicuously fails to do in Rogue States is answer the more interesting question of why all this happens, and even more interesting, what can be done about it. Frankly, while most non-Americans will be shocked by the evidence, few will be surprised by the central premise.
What is needed, and lacking, in Rogue States, something that would turn it from a polemic into a political tract, is some kind of comparative evidence. How does the US Empire stack up against its progenitors? Is the USA doing anything radically different from, say, the British Empire, the Spanish Empire, or event the Athenian League? In short, is the US simply doing what un-externally constrained world powers do, not because they are malicious or evil, but simply because they can. What does this say for developing political superpowers such as China (or even Islam)? Has democracy changed the rules of this game? Indeed, what does democracy mean in a world where sovereignty is national but influence and power is global? None of these questions are answered by Rogue States although, to be fair, on the last point, Chomsky would probably refer us to Manufacturing Consent.
Even as polemic, Rogue States has problems. The most acute of these is self-definition. Chomsky defines away the first version of rogue state as being a product of US propaganda. He focuses on the second definition. Yet, objectively, many states exist which the international community might want to "do something about". Many might, indeed, be those client US states Chomsky rails against. In the current real politic of international law (which pretty much means the weak toe the line and the strong do what they like) how can powerful states be prevented from pursuing their own agenda against the interests of the weak? Chomsky's answer is typically both true and unhelpful: checks and balances have to come from the within powerful states, which leads us back to Manufacturing Consent. Unfortunately, this is possibly Chomsky's weakest work.
So this is, then, a highly enjoyable expression of what most liberal Europeans instinctively believe. As a political thesis it may have limited value, but it will, at least, allow you to sound cool and well informed in discussion.... except for one thing. Chomsky has a disconcerting, nay infuriating, habit of referencing primary sources through his other works. This makes it decidedly difficult to poach his learning, unless you're planning an exhaustive trip through the Chomsky cannon.
I'm giving it four stars though. It may be aimed firmly at the American audience, but it is entertaining, which is more than can be said for most political science books.
Even if only 50% of this well written and heavily referenced work is true it book should be on the curriculum of secondary schools in Europe and N.America.
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eloquently and devastaingly about America
and other Imperialist powers and the effect
their irresponsibilty has on the...Read more
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