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Very average for Chomsky
on 5 March 2004
I have read and enjoyed much of Chomsky's work, however, in this, and other more recent pieces his standard has fallen below the very high level of his early work. In this book, as always, he chronicles and highlights the history of US internaional intervention, touching on his favourite topics such as Nicaragua and Indonesia and the more recent situation around Iraq. His use of source materials is almost faultless and remarkably thorough and the logical development of his arguments and the philosophical conclusions in reaches are interesting and eye-opening, particularly for readers new to him.
However, in this book in particular he has become increasingly polemic using emotive arguments as much as philosophical and legal analysis to try and convince readers of his point of view. For example, considering the international sanction regime against Iraq to be analogous to trying to stop a bus driven by a madman by killing all the passengers - a pretty weak analogy from most perspectives.
More importantly, he is becoming as entrenched as those he ably critiscises by ignoring or refusing to contemplate alternative viewpoints by coming almost solely from a very anti-US establishment angle. For example, his consideration of the French position during the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq ignores all of France's EU, WEU and NATO political positioning post WW2 and prefers to treat France favourably solely for their opposition to the US.
Overall, if you haven't read him before, you'll probably enjoy this, but if you have, you're likely to be disappointed.