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Digging Deeper XXIII: Oct. 2, 2006, 7:00 p.m.

Noam Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance


(New York: Henry Holt and Company, Metropolitan/Owl, 2003; paperback
2004).

Ch. 1: Priorities and Prospects. We are living Kissinger: “‘[T]he United States has global
through a period when the survival value of interests and responsibilities’ while its allies have
intelligence itself is being tested (1-2). Evidence only ‘regional interests’” (148). WWII led the U.S.
of danger from the Bush administration (2-4). to assume global leadership, with economic
American governments regard public opinion as policies supporting this aim (148-56).
something to be manipulated (4-8). Abroad, the
U.S. uses military force and terrorism (8-10). Ch. 7: Cauldron of Animosities. Israel as
nuclear power (157-60). British imperial practice
Ch. 2: Imperial Grand Strategy. U.S.’s (161). U.S. more interested in control than
National Security Strategy embraces preventive access, and designed its “global system of
war, which “falls within the category of war military bases . . . for operations in the [Persian]
crimes” (11-15). Its roots “go back to the early Gulf region” (162). Review of Mideast history
days of World War II” (15). The Iraq war as placing development of U.S.-Israeli relations in
exemplary illustration (16-22). Only the U.S. is context (163-65). “[O]n its present course,
possess the right of intervention (22-26). The [Israel] has virtually no alternative to serving as a
category of “enemy combatant” represents the U.S. base in the region and complying with U.S.
extension of the imperial grand strategy to demands” (165). Post-1967 choice of “no
domestic U.S. law (26-28). International law is diplomacy, only force” (166). Israel’s invasion of
dismissed in favor of the rule of force; review of Lebanon (167-68). Diplomacy and Israeli
run-up to Iraq invasion (28-36). Global elites are settlement programs (168-70). Camp David II
increasingly anxious about U.S. unilateralism (37- and Taba, 2000-2001 (170-71). In 2003,
42). The noble goodness of U.S. actions is dogma “colonization efforts are proceeding apace”
(42-49). (quoting Geoffrey Aronson) (172). The “road
map” (173-75). The facts on the ground: tacit
Ch. 3: The New Era of Enlightenment. endorsement of force (175-80). The 1st and 2nd
Counter-evidence (51-52). East Timor (53-54). Intifadas (181-85).
Kosovo and the bombing of Serbia (54-58).
Colombia (59-61). Interest in crimes of others Ch. 8: Terrorism and Justice: Some Useful
appears only when justification for intervention is Truisms. Truisms: 1) “actions are evaluated in
needed (61). Cf. Turkey’s persecution of Kurds terms of the range of likely consequences”; 2)
(61-62). Pre-WWII examples of the same “the principle of universality: we apply to
tendencies (63-72). ourselves the same standards we apply to others,
if not more stringent ones” (187). Definitions of
Ch. 4: Dangerous Times. U.S. relations with terrorism (188-89). The notion of legitimate
Cuba as a response to defiance (73-95). The resistance is excluded from acceptable U.S.
terrorist war against Nicaragua (96-107). Panama discourse (189-91). Notion that 9-11 changed the
(107-08). course of history challenged (191-93). What is
“state terrorism” for others is being “proactive”
Ch. 5: The Iraq Connection. Internationally, for the U.S., which is always portrayed as the
the U.S. élite script defined “terrorism” as what benign victim (193-94). Journalistic double
its leaders declare to be terrorism (109-15). standard in reporting on terrorism: the murders of
Domestically, they have worked to inspire fear Leon Klinghoffer and Kemal Zughayer (195-98).
among citizens (115-21). These approaches were Bombing of Afghanistan, just war theory, and
applied to Iraq, while ignoring the consequences public opinion: debunking the notion that only a
of the policies for Iraqis (121-29). Talk of “lunatic fringe” opposed attacking Afghanistan
democracy minimal in run-up to war; the U.S. (198-207). Applying principle of universality
harshly criticized governments attentive to their reveals that terrorists “do not hate us, but rather
own public opinion as “old Europe,” etc. (129-39). the policies of our government” (214, emphasis in
In Iraq, the U.S. will doubtless “follow the original; 207-16).
consistent practice elsewhere: formal democracy
is fine, but only if it obeys orders” (140-43). Ch. 9: A Passing Nightmare? U.S. elites
decided at once to, in Paul Krugman’s words,
Ch. 6: Dilemmas of Dominance. The problem “use terrorism as an excuse to pursue a radical
of European unification (145-47). “Guiding right-wing agenda” (217). Danger from WMDs
principles” articulated in 1973 by Henry and their proliferation (218-23). Militarization of
space (223-32). Bioweapons (232-33). U.S. Notes. 31pp. An expanded 70-page version of
rejection of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty notes is available at
(234) and of the Kyoto Protocol (234-35). www.hegemonyorsurvival.net.
Development of global social justice movements;
the World Social Forum (235). Hegemony or Index. 13 pp.
survival? — “Which trajectory will dominate, no
one can foretell” (236). About the Author. [Chomsky was born on Dec.
7, 1928.] Professor at MIT, widely known for
Afterword. [April 2004] The Iraq war has having revolutionized modern linguistics. Has
increased the threat of terror (239-41). Other written prolifically on political questions since
nations increasing military expenditures (242-44). American Power and the New Mandarins (1969).
Bush’s “vision” of promoting democracy is merely
a pretense for the use of force, though they are The American Empire Project. Tom
piously reported in the media, as events in Iraq Engelhardt and Steven Fraser, editors; 14 book so
show (244-55). far.
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United for Peace of Pierce County—www.ufppc.org—
regular meetings 1st (6:30pm) & 3rd (7pm) Thursdays at
First Congregational (209 South J St., Tacoma, WA