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05-02-11- Noam Chomsky (Part 2) - 'This Is The Most Remarkable Regional Uprising That I Can Remember'

05-02-11- Noam Chomsky (Part 2) - 'This Is The Most Remarkable Regional Uprising That I Can Remember'

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Feb 05, 2011
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Noam Chomsky (Part 2): “This Is The Most RemarkableRegional Uprising That I Can Remember”
In recent weeks, popular uprisings in the Arab world have led to the ouster of Tunisian dictator Zine ElAbidine Ben Ali, the imminent end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, a new Jordaniangovernment, and a pledge by Yemen’s longtime dictator to leave office at the end of his term. Wespoke to MIT Professor Noam Chomsky on Wednesday’s live program about the situation in Egypt, andthen continued the interview for another 50 minutes after the show to further discuss what thesepopular uprisings mean for the future of the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region, howU.S. fear of the Muslim Brotherhood is really fear of democracy in the Arab world, and what theEgyptian protests mean for people in the United States.To watch the first part of the interview with Noam Chomsky during the live program,click here.In the interview, Professor Chomsky links the U.S. military industrial complex to U.S. foreign policy inthe Middle East, and its support of the Mubarak government. He then discusses the decades-long"campaign of hatred" in the Middle East against the United States for blocking democracy andprogressive developments, along with the impact of revelations from WikiLeaks on the uprising inEgypt and the consequences of U.S. support for radical Islamism. Next, Chomsky makes the point thatU.S. fear of the Muslim Brotherhood is really a fear of democracy in the Middle East, and examines therole of U.S. corporations in a "stable" Egypt in the Middle East. The interview wraps up with ananalysis of what the Egyptian protests mean for people in the United States.
Noam Chomsky, you were just talking about the significance of what’shappening in the Middle East, and you were bringing it back to President Dwight Eisenhower.
Well, in 1958, Eisenhower—this is in internal discussions, sincedeclassified—Eisenhower expressed his concern for what he called the "campaign of hatredagainst us" in the Arab world, not by the governments, but by the people. Remember, 1958, thiswas a rather striking moment. Just two years before, Eisenhower had intervened forcefully tocompel Israel, Britain and France to withdraw from their invasion of Egyptian territory. And youwould have expected enormous enthusiasm and support for the United States at that moment,and there was, briefly, but it didn’t last, because policies returned to the norm. So when he wasspeaking two years later, there was, as he said, a "campaign of hatred against us." And he wasnaturally concerned why. Well, the National Security Council, the highest planning body, had infact just come out with a report on exactly this issue. They concluded that, yes, indeed, there’s acampaign of hatred. They said there’s a perception in the Arab world that the United Statessupports harsh and brutal dictators and blocks democracy and development, and does so becausewe’re interested in—we’re concerned to control their energy resources.
Noam, I wanted to go for a minute to that famous address of the general, of the Republican president, of the president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
My fellow Americans, this evening I come toyou with a message of leave-taking and farewell and to share a few final thoughts with you, mycountrymen. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Three-and-a-half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense
establishment. The total—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for thisdevelopment, yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
That was President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address in 1961.Special thanks to Eugene Jarecki and his film
Why We Fight 
, that brought it to us in the 21stcentury. Noam Chomsky, with us on the phone from his home near Boston, Noam, continue withthe significance of what Eisenhower was saying and what the times were there and what theyhave to teach us today about this Middle East uprising.
Yeah, the military-industrial complex speech, the famous one, was after what I’ve just been talking about. That was as he was leaving office and a important speech, of course. Needless to say, the situation he described not only persists but indeed has amplified.It should be mentioned that there’s another element to the military-industrial complex issue,which he didn’t bring up. At that time, in the 1950s, as he certainly knew, the Pentagon wasfunding what became—a lot of Pentagon funding was going into creating what became the next phase of the high-tech economy at that time: computers, micro-electronics, shortly after, theinternet. Much of this developed through a Pentagon subsidy funding procurement, other mechanisms. So it was a kind of a cover for shifting—for a basic theme of contemporaryeconomic development. That is, the public pays the costs and takes the risks, and eventual profitis privatized, in the case of computers and the internet, after decades. So that’s another aspect of the military-industrial complex which is worth keeping in mind.But Eisenhower was speaking particularly about the military aspect, what’s called "defense,"though in fact it’s mostly aggression, intervention, subversion. It doesn’t defend the country; itharms it, most of the time. But that’s separate from the—not, of course, unrelated, but distinctfrom the Middle East problem. There, what Eisenhower and the National Security Council weredescribing is a persistent pattern. He was describing—they were describing it in 1950. And I’llrepeat the basic conclusion: the United States does support brutal and harsh dictatorships, blocksdemocracy and development; the goal is to maintain control over the incomparable energyresources of the region—incidentally, not to use them. The U.S.—one of the things thatEisenhower was doing at exactly the same time was pursuing a program to exhaust U.S. energyreserves, rather than using much cheaper Middle East energy, for the benefit of Texas oil producers. That’s a program that went on from the late '50s for about 15 years. So, at the time, itwas not a matter of importing oil from Saudi Arabia, but just ensuring the maintenance of controlover the world's major energy resources. And that, as the National Security Council concludedcorrectly, was leading to the campaign of hatred against us, the support for dictators, for repression, for violence and the blocking of democracy and development.
 Now, that was the 1950s. And those words could be written today. You take a look at what’shappening in the Middle East today. There’s a campaign of hatred against the United States, inTunisia against France, against Britain, for supporting brutal, harsh dictators, repressive, vicious,imposing poverty and suffering in the midst of great wealth, blocking democracy anddevelopment, and doing so because of the primary goal, which remains to maintain control over the energy resources of the region. What the National Security Council wrote in 1958 could berestated today in almost the same words.Right after 9/11, the
Wall Street Journal 
, to its credit, did a—ran a poll in the Muslim world, notof the general population, of the kind of people they are interested in, I think what they called themoneyed Muslims or some phrase like that—professionals, directors of multinationalcorporations, bankers, people deeply embedded in the whole U.S.-dominated neoliberal projectthere—so not what’s called anti-American. And it was an interesting poll. In fact, the resultswere very much like those that were described in 1958. There was tremendous—there wasn’t acampaign of hatred against the U.S. among these people, but there was tremendous antagonismto U.S. policies. And the reasons were pretty much the same: the U.S. is blocking democracy anddevelopment; it’s supporting dictators. By that time, there were salient issues that—some of which didn’t exist in 1958. For example, there was a tremendous opposition in these groups tothe murderous sanctions in Iraq, which didn’t arouse much attention here, but they certainly didin the region. Hundreds of thousands of people were being killed. The civilian society was beingdestroyed. The dictator was being strengthened. And that did cause tremendous anger. And, of course, there was great anger about U.S. support for Israeli crimes, atrocities, illegal takeover of occupied territories and so on, settlement programs. Those were other issues, which also, to alimited extent, existed in ’58, but not like 2001.So that—and in fact, right now, we have direct evidence about attitudes of the Arab population. Ithink I mentioned this on an earlier broadcast, strikingly not reported, but extremely significant. Now, last August, the Brookings Institute released a major poll of Arab opinion, done by prestigious and respected polling agencies, one of them. They do it regularly. And the resultswere extremely significant. They reveal that there is again, still, a campaign of hatred against theUnited States. When asked about threats to the region, the ones that were picked, near unanimously, were Israel and the United States—88 percent Israel, about 77 percent the UnitedStates, regarded as the threats to the region. Of course, they asked about Iran. Ten percent of the population thought Iran was a threat. In the list of respected personalities, Erdogan was first. Ithink there were about 10. Neither Obama or any other Western figure was even mentioned.Saddam Hussein had higher respect. Now, this is quite striking, especially in the light of the WikiLeaks revelations. The most—theone that won the headlines and that was—led to great enthusiasm and euphoria was therevelation, whether accurate or not—we don’t know—but the claim, at least, by diplomats thatthe Arab dictators were supporting the U.S. in its confrontation with Iran. And, you know,enthusiastic headlines about how Arab states support—the Arabs support the United States.

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