Buck's Reviews > Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy

Failed States by Noam Chomsky
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Oct 09, 2010

it was ok

There’s a line in Victor Serge’s Memoirs of a Revolutionary that comes back to me whenever I get trapped in a conversation with a political nutbar. Writing about some Soviet apparatchik that he’d butted heads with, Serge says, “I followed his argument with the blank uneasiness which one might feel in the presence of a logical lunatic.”

Noam Chomsky fills me with blank uneasiness. Now, the man’s no lunatic—let’s get that straight. He’s a gifted scientist and, in some ways, an admirable citizen. But his worldview is so simple-minded, so rigidly consistent, that it becomes, by its very excess of logic, insane.

At some point in the last decade, Chomsky ossified into the Jimmy Buffet of the far left: a productive yet predictable figure, still packing them in without ever bothering to change his set list. The numbing array of facts and figures, the quotes from obscure journals and technical literature, the scathing denunciations of American perfidy: such is Chomsky’s endless Margaritaville. But as Buffet could tell you, sameness is soothing. Sameness sells.

Before I try to explain why Chomsky is such a dangerous simpleton (ideologically-speaking) let me admit that I didn’t dislike Failed States as much as I expected. No matter what your political orientation is, if you don’t learn something from Chomsky, you’re just not paying attention. Published in the middle of the Bush II years, Failed States is a depressing catalogue of cabalistic plots, legal end-runs and foreign-policy debacles. Even with all my defences up, this book nearly sent me into an atavistic fit of anti-American paranoia (for which, as a Canadian, I’m genetically predisposed anyway).

Luckily for my sluggish liberal conscience, though, I see no reason to take Chomsky seriously. The guy is just massively dishonest—not on the factual level (where he’s merely sneaky) but on the rhetorical level. Take the premise of Failed States. Chomsky’s mendacious little conceit here is that the United States exhibits many of the characteristics of a failed state. That’s right: America is the new Somalia. I doubt even Chomsky believes this nonsense, but he presents it with a straight face (as he does everything else: humour is not his strong point, unless you enjoy crude sarcasm.) He comes up with his own flagrantly self-serving definition of a failed state but somehow overlooks the most salient feature: i.e. a failed state is one that has simply ceased to function. His diagnosis is just an infantile bit of magical thinking: it’s a failed state because I say it is.

But that’s nothing. Let’s look at a more glaring piece of chicanery. Like any good lefty, Chomsky is dismissive of the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling WMDs. Fair enough. No WMDs. That’s a truism by now. But then, in an astonishing admission, Chomsky tells us that “this is not quite accurate. There were stores of equipment for developing WMDs in Iraq after the invasion: those produced in the 1980s, thanks to aid provided by the United States and Britain, among others.”

Wait. What? You’re saying Colin Powell was right all along? Is that what you’re saying, Noam? Was that cheesy PowerPoint presentation at the UN legit, then? Well, yes, he sort of is saying that, but as usual he has a forensic rabbit up his sleeve. See, it turns out that Iraq’s WMD facilities were systematically looted following the invasion:

Most of the looting was from production sites for solid- and liquid-propellant missiles, where about 85% of the equipment had been removed, along with biotoxins and other materials usable for chemical and biological weapons, and high-precision equipment capable of making parts for nuclear and chemical weapons and missiles. A Jordanian journalist was informed by officials in charge of the Jordanian-Iraqi border after US and UK forces took over that radioactive materials were detected in one of every eight trucks crossing into Jordan, destination unknown.

Nice work, Noam! What a scoop! Biotoxins, chemical weapons, nuclear missiles! Freaking truckloads of radioactive material! Call Rumsfeld. Tell him all is forgiven. He can have his old office back, as soon as Gates clears his shit out.

Okay, my irony is getting almost as heavy as Chomsky’s. But you saw what he did there, right? First he tells us there were no WMDs. Then, without stopping to notice the contradiction, he informs us that the whole place was lousy with the things. But conveniently for his argument, the US is still guilty, since they provided the weapons, or the “aid” to buy them, back in the 80s—and doubly guilty because they failed to secure all this military surplus after the invasion.

So, as always with Chomsky, the US can’t win for losing. You have to ask yourself: does he even care what the truth is? Does it matter to him whether or not Hussein possessed WMDs? Or that nuclear-grade materials might have fallen into the hands of some really nasty characters? No. He couldn’t care less. He’s just clutching blindly at the nearest polemical blunt instrument: a crowbar here, a two-by-four there--anything’ll do, as long as he can use it to bludgeon the imperialists and their lackeys in the media.

The sad thing is that a lot of people—people who no doubt pride themselves on their critical-thinking skills—take this guy very seriously indeed. Strangely, it never occurs to them to apply the same scepticism to his work that they would to the equally dubious pronouncements of Rush Limbaugh or whomever. Read him, by all means; learn from him. But for God’s sake, be sure to check under the hood, kick the tires and give the old CD changer a spin. Even the smartest and most intellectually honest pundits are bound to be wrong around, oh, 70% of the time. Chomsky is plenty smart but, as far as I can see, intellectual honesty is not among his virtues.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 69) (69 new)

message 1: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal I recently had it out with a buddy over Chomsky. I don't have much patience for his naive Brotherhood of Man crap, a fundamental misread of history IMHO.

Even so, I've added a few of his titles to my to-read list. I'm particularly interested in his debate with Foucault.

Buck I’m less concerned about his “naïve brotherhood of man crap” than his naïve Manichaeism, which turns the US government into the ultimate force of darkness. It’s a childish caricature—as silly in its own way as the self-celebratory, faith-based patriotism of the Tea Party populists. Sure, he’s smarter than most of them, but his worldview is every bit as simplistic, every bit as dumb. He’s the Glenn Beck of the radical left.

The thing is, he only undermines his own credibility. I’d be more willing to swallow his indictment of US imperialism if he presented it with some plausibility, some faint recognition that the world is a complex place. But he doesn’t do complexity.

I keep vowing not to talk about politics online—and I keep breaking my vows. Really, I’d rather just talk about my sex life. That’s what the Internet was designed for, after all.

message 3: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal That's what I meant! Stop making me look stupid!

No. You're absolutely right. I know America is fucked up. But having lived overseas for a time, I think a lot of the America-bashing stems from jealousy. Countries bash America and then do their best to emulate us. All of this has nothing to do with your comment, but I do this sort of thing all the time.

I agree: Glenn Beck of the left (who I'd rather talk about than your sex life; now, if your sex life is somehow commingled with Glenn Beck...?).

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I really like this comment section.

message 5: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal What Elizabeth said.

MFSO, I'm still uneasy that you talked me into torturing people. I hope Buck takes you and Harris down a peg.

Buck Elizabeth wrote: "I don't disagree about him but I think you assume that he notices the contradictions and leaps in logic. He probably doesn't. He's so buried in an ideological mire that he can't see himself and the..."

We're all blinded by ideology. The scary part is, we're blind to our blindness.

I don't think Chomsky's evil. I think he's an object lesson: this is what can happen if you lose your sense of humour and your perspective.

message 7: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow Chompsky.

message 8: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal So in order to be anti-Establishment, he'd have to support the batshit crazy* idea that 9/11 is an inside job? Or maybe he's REALLY a convincing automaton! Fashioned from moon cheese by some kidnapped Chuck E. Cheese animatronics guru who is forced to make robots of personalities deemed undesirable by the State in a janitor's closet at the Pentagon.

* I still loves you

message 9: by William Thomas (new)

William Thomas dangerous simpleton- the most amazingly perfect description of this man yet.

message 10: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal Brian wrote: "Naw, he's welcome to his opinion, including totally believing everything Bush/Cheney say about 9/11. He can also believe Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, if he wants to, but these seem like ..."

It's because they've been torturing him. He really wants to tell the truth, but they put a boll weevil in his ear* to control him like Khan did Chekov in Star Trek II.

* I'm kinky

message 11: by Buck (last edited Oct 16, 2010 12:21PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck Meredith wrote: "Chompsky."

Now I know why they call you “Teh Personal Attack”.

Brian, it seems we refuse to take Chomsky seriously for very different reasons—me because he’s just too unbalanced, you because he isn’t unbalanced enough. I’ve always thought it was to Chomsky’s credit that he’s consistently refused to descend into the wilder regions of left-wing fantasy. It’s supremely amusing to me that there are people even more extreme than Chomsky who view him as an imperialist stooge.

I’m almost afraid to ask, but which particular inside-job theory do you subscribe to? The laser theory? The mini-nukes theory? Or the fascinating remote-control planes theory put forward (without evidence) by that “guest blogger” on The Daily Censored? I don’t know if I love you like Esteban does, but I kind of like you, and if you start muttering darkly that the Jews did it, it’s going to break my heart a little. I should warn you that I believe Oswald acted alone and that Princess Di was the victim of a mundane traffic accident—just to give you some idea of the kind of credulous nitwit you’re dealing with.

message 12: by Sparrow (last edited Oct 16, 2010 11:53AM) (new)

Sparrow Buck wrote: "I don’t know if I love you like Esteban does, but I kind of like you, and if you start muttering darkly that the Jews did it, it’s going to break my heart a little."

Oh, come on! We LOVE Brian!!! I don't think the CIA masterminded 9/11, but it's just lovely that you do, Brian! And you said you only had TWO conspiracy theories! You were really holding out on us.


message 13: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow Yes, totally platonic, though you did actually miss the hair braiding. And we all love Chizuru, too!! So sweet!

But, no, not tied together. Entirely separate. Sounds like there are some busy guys over at the CIA.

message 14: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal So we see that Brian's assertion that he only believes in a few conspiracies is the greatest conspiracy of all...

message 15: by Sparrow (last edited Oct 16, 2010 12:33PM) (new)

Sparrow Esteban wrote: "So we see that Brian's assertion that he only believes in a few conspiracies is the greatest conspiracy of all..."

*looks off into the sunset thoughtfully to the rising music*

message 16: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck So nice of everyone not to point out that I used "ascribe" for "subscribe" in #15. I blame the Jews for that blunder.

I'm gonna go read up on this Scott Forbes character.

message 17: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck Wait a second. Even Scott Forbes isn’t a conspiracy theorist. He just says there was a powerdown in the South Tower on the weekend before 9/11—which his office was duly notified about in advance. Sounds pretty routine to me. Heck, there was a power outage in the office tower where I work just the other day. Lasted 12 hours. And, unlike the WTC powerdown, it was never satisfactorily explained. Should I be checking the stairwells for thermite?

Your well-founded belief that Dick Cheney is an asshole doesn’t quite count as proof that he had a hand in 9/11. If you want to convince me that the same gang who screwed up the Iraq war so spectacularly also pulled off the most audacious conspiracy in history without a hitch, you’ll have to offer something more substantial than anger and hunches. I just spent an hour combing the dingier reaches of the Internet and couldn’t find anything resembling hard evidence—though I did find a lot of loose talk about shape-shifting lizard men.

I’m not ridiculing you, you understand. I still like you (even more so now that I know you’re not a closet anti-Semite). You’re entitled to your beliefs and I’m not trying to argue you out of them; I’m just trying to defend my corner. Most of us around here are pretty tolerant and open-minded and we generally don’t resort to cheap personal attacks (hi, Meredith). I sometimes resort to cheap irony, but that’s more of a generational failing, which I’m sure you’ll forgive. I’ve never known you to be rude to anyone, and I hope I don’t come off that way here. And if I’m being super sensitive about this, it’s because I got in a big fight with my friend MFSO last weekend and we’re still giving each other the silent treatment at the breakfast table.

message 18: by Esteban (last edited Oct 16, 2010 04:36PM) (new) - added it

message 19: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow Hi. Where was this fight you speak of? Is it too boring for me to be able to read? I knew something everything must have been falling apart while the ladies were gone.

message 20: by Sparrow (last edited Oct 16, 2010 06:02PM) (new)

Sparrow I kind of don't get arguments about any of these conspiracy things. It always reminds me of arguments about creation v. evolution where it just seems like an exercise in futility. I can understand that people think believing in a six day creation is important because it informs the purposefulness of life. And I can understand that people think believing in evolution is important because it informs the orderliness of nature. But I don't see how the the design of life and the orderliness of nature are mutually exclusive beliefs, and none of us were there to see it, so the arguments just seem like hot air to me.

That's kind of how I feel about trying to accurately reconstruct any of the conspiracy things, too. Didn't bin Laden take credit for the attacks in one of those rallying podcasts? Also, aren't there, like, a gazillion other things that Cheney did that are completely undisputed that he'll never be prosecuted for? And an equal amount of things that prove the US government(s) aren't so much looking out for the common people? Even if you did find a smoking trigger finger or something, I don't really get what that would change in the US government.

I hate to post and run, but I've got to go nurse my evil cold by passing it on to friends at dinner.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I'm so over it, Buck. Seriously. I stand with the door swung wide open to our future homoerotic witticisms and other bawdy banter (i.e. our contnuing friendship).

message 22: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck So good to hear, man. I don't want to alarm you, but I think it moved.

message 23: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck Meredith’s evolution vs. creationism analogy is actually kind of fruitful. What we’re dealing with here are non-overlapping magisteria. Each worldview—the conspiratorial and the official—is coherent on its own terms, but bizarrely incoherent on the other’s terms. When you think about it, it’s human existence writ large. Ah, humanity.

message 24: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow I guess the other comparison I'd like to point out is that I think both the conspiracy worldview and the official worldview, like the creation and evolution worldviews, seem at least somewhat suspect because they ask me to believe on faith in a lot of little details that I have no way of experiencing myself. Then, it kind of becomes a popularity contest, I think, between whether I like the conspiracy guys the best or the official guys the best, whether I like the church guys the best or the science guys the best. It seems like a waste of time.

Anyway, I'm glad MFSO and Buck are back together.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Buck wrote: "So good to hear, man. I don't want to alarm you, but I think it moved."

Already charming me with sexy Seinfeld references. Passionate pop culture foreplay.

message 26: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck It seems like a waste of time.

I’m with Brian on this one, strange to say. I think it’s important to try to figure out what we believe and why. But I’d agree that it can be tedious and pointless when the representatives of opposed worldviews keep talking past each other and getting increasingly pissed off in the process. That’s when dialogue becomes competing monologues.

So I don’t want to pointlessly extend our own competing monologues here, Brian. But I’d suggest that “insane losers” have played a prominent role in history. It was an insane loser who shot Franz Ferdinand (if you believe the official story) and doomed about 15 million other people to a violent death. It was an insane loser who somehow became chancellor of the Reich and ended up blossoming into a “super evil genius”. Bin Ladin’s not clinically insane, nor is he a genius. He’s just another messianic mediocrity with a plan. The world’s full of them. Most fail. But it stands to reason that the odd one will hit the jackpot from time to time. It offends our sense of proportion that history can be determined by such contemptible shits, but it happens.

But if it makes you feel any better, I’ll amend my original statement and say that I’m somewhat agnostic on Oswald. It’s reasonable to have doubts about that. It’s just that there are so many plausible alternative theories that I’ve come back to the official version by default. Occam’s razor vs. Oliver Stone. But I’m not as optimistic as you are that the whole truth will ever come out. History’s full of loose ends. It sucks, but what are you gonna do?

message 27: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck Oh, and I need the Leafs to beat the Islanders tonight. Can you get on that?

message 28: by Sparrow (new)

Sparrow Awww. Glad to bring peace. I had a moment before I went to bed last night where in my haze of evil sickness I realized I should have finished that sentence and said, "It seems like a waste of time to focus on proving details about things that none of us witnessed when really most of our sources for any of the information on either side are unreliable." I kind of don't get being totally confident about one story or the other, though, since both Cheney and bin Laden seem like evil plotters to me. But I don't know as much about it as I should.

message 29: by Yuval (new) - rated it 1 star

Yuval You've described eloquently my exact thoughts about this book. Thanks.

message 30: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck You're welcome - though given everything that's happened in the year since I wrote this review, it seems the US has inched a bit closer to failed state status. But I still say this book is looney tunes.

message 31: by Yuval (new) - rated it 1 star

Yuval That's too bad. It's the first Chomsky I am trying and I am very disappointed. I expected an interesting and almost scientific fact presentation and a buildup of conclusions - instead of this repetitiveness of half truths.

Jordan Can't be bothered looking through above comments to see if this point has been covered, but the supposed contradiction regarding WMDs is a rather spectacular failure of comprehension on your part, Buck.

Chomsky does indeed accept the obvious fact that there were not significant stockpiles of WMDs, but his subsequent point is that there was equipment and materials left over from the period where Saddam was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. These were looted in the chaos following the invasion, increasing the likelihood of the production of WMDs by terrorists elsewhere.

There is no contradiction between saying "Iraq did not have WMDs at the time of invasion" and "Iraq had equipment leftover from when it was manufacturing WMDs".

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)


(I'm just in for TEH FIGHTING.)

message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

So'z Tuesday.

Jordan Bird Brian wrote:Where do you get your information, Jordan?

Well, I was getting my information directly from Failed States, the book that I thought was under discussion. If you care to explore the issue, perhaps you should check Chomsky's citations.

I'd like to point out that my post was not intended as a comment on whether Chomsky's assertions were factually accurate or not. I was pointing out that there is no internal contradiction in the claims, as Buck claimed there was.

message 36: by Buck (last edited Nov 18, 2011 06:27AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck Jordan, I feel another “spectacular failure of comprehension” coming on, but I’ll ask anyway: what exactly is the distinction you’re making here? Is it between WMDs and materials for making WMDs? Because if that’s the case, it’s a distinction without much difference. If Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of biotoxins, radioactive materials and other nasty, weapons-grade stuff lying around, then for all intents and purposes, he already had WMDs – in defiance of various UN resolutions. Or are you saying that, since it was just a bunch of antiquated junk, it didn’t constitute WMDs? That’s fine. But then the looting Chomsky alleges is hardly the huge scandal he makes it out to be: some thieves made off with some copper tubing or whatever. Big deal. Chomsky is welcome to one argument or the other, but not both.

Jordan Buck wrote:

Look, here's a direct quote from an interview he did with Democracy Now.

...we commonly read that there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Well, it’s not totally accurate. There were means to develop weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and known to be in Iraq. They were under guard by U.N. inspectors, who were dismantling them. When Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest sent in their troops, they neglected to instruct them to guard these sites. The U.N. inspectors were expelled, the sites were left unguarded. The inspectors continued their work by satellite and reported that over a hundred sites had been looted, in fact, systematically looted, not just somebody walking in, but careful looting. That included dangerous biotoxins, means to hide precision equipment to be used to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, means to develop chemical weapons and so on. All of this has disappeared.

If you don't understand the distinction after that, I'm afraid that I really can't think of a simpler way to explain it to you.

message 38: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck Yep. That’s pretty clear, thanks. Iraq did indeed possess WMDs — or let’s say significant WMD capabilities — but that’s okay, because it was all under UN lock and key.

But former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, whom Chomsky has called a trustworthy source, had this to say about the issue:

…since 1998 Iraq has been fundamentally disarmed: 90-95% of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capability has been verifiably eliminated. This includes all of the factories used to produce chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and long-range ballistic missiles; the associated equipment of these factories; and the vast majority of the products coming out of these factories.

He goes on to say that the other 5-10% represents stockpiles Iraq is supposed to have destroyed on its own initiative.

So, yeah, I’m still a little confused.

message 39: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal But Scott Ritter is a pederast.

message 40: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck Technically, no. Let's consider the facts with Chomskyan rigor, shall we? He merely exposed himself to an undercover officer posing as a minor. So in fact, all he did was show his wang to some twenty-something stranger on the Internet - and if that's a crime, they might as well lock you and me both up, am I right?

message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Esteban wrote: "But Scott Ritter is a pederast."

Hhahahaha. I'm sorry. Child sexual abuse is not funny, but I really thought Esteban was kidding about this. A quick search of "Scott Ritter pederast" has an article called "Weapons of Mass Exposure" turn up in the first page.

Oh, man, I'm dying here. It's like a post-modern joke, and as such, doesn't make any sense, and is still freaking hilarious.

message 42: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal Not making any sense is what I do. It's my thing.

Nice to see you around, Buck. You have a way with making sense.

message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

YOU make sense, Esteban, it's just that the world continues to confound me. I mean, here I am watching a lovely, earnest fellow sneer at Buck for not getting Chomsky, and then BANG! pederasty and lurid headlines! It's fantastic, really, because otherwise these conversations put me to sleep. (No offense! Hugs!)

And yeah, it is nice to see you around. Buck. I hope the move and everything went okay.

message 44: by Darren (new)

Darren Wow! You are a breath of fresh air Buck.

message 45: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck Thanks. I'm also a tall drink of water.

message 46: by David (last edited Sep 13, 2012 04:06PM) (new)

David This is a great review. I wish I'd written it. Whenever I think too much about Chomsky, I get so upset I can't formulate a logical or dispassionate rebuttal.

In addition to the things you said, another thing that bothers me immensely about Chomsky is that his sociopolitical beefs with the U.S. seem strangely personal—almost as if he's talking about an America that is just some evil, mustache-twirling guy who must be stopped by a superpower ray gun, rather than an exceptionally complex power system and a heterogenous gumbo of conflicting motives. (In other words, America's ills are symptomatic of many great powers at the height of their influence.) I know this is unfair and belittling, but don't you occasionally feel you're watching him work out some sublimated daddy complex?

You're right: he comes across as very simple-minded and naive in some of his political positions. In many cases, his conclusions are correct, but the logic behind them is questionable. He's just basically reading from a script now, and that East Timor shit is gettin' old.

message 47: by Esteban (last edited Sep 13, 2012 04:29PM) (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal I wonder if, owing to his linguistic genius, he just thinks he's a genius at everything. You know? He's this academic that gives us Universal Grammar, but has this hobby of hanging out at anarchist bookstores. He gets this guru thing going, attractive women pay attention to him, nobody questions him because he's up at MIT. Before you know it, he's selling books and debating Buckley about Vietnam.

I dunno. Just a guess. I'm a basketball fan and I've seen that scenario play out with Michael Jordan. He was such a success in one arena of his life that he thought it'd carry over into everything else, and one day he decides to sport a Hitler mustache because fuck, he's Michael Jordan.

message 48: by Buck (new) - rated it 2 stars

Buck David wrote: "This is a great review. I wish I'd written it."

Thanks, David. This review dates from my short-lived non-sucky phase.

Not only is the U.S. a "heterogenous gumbo of conflicting motives", but so is the world at large. Chomsky writes as if America were operating in some geopolitical vacuum where the forces arrayed against it are either negligible or benign. So he tries to characterize the Soviet Union, for example, as an unwilling superpower goaded into the Cold War by those cunning wonks in the State Department. As if the Russians rolled over half of Europe in a fit of absent-mindedness and forgot to give it back.

Still, pace Esteban and Bird Brian, I can't really fault Chomsky for meddling in subjects outside his area of expertise. I mean, I do that every other week around here (including this very review). If I stuck to my area of expertise, I'd be condemned to write about hockey and masturbation for the rest of my life.

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Buck wrote: "Not only is the U.S. a "heterogenous gumbo of conflicting motives", but so is the world at large. Chomsky writes as if America were operating in some geopolitical vacuum where the forces arrayed against it are either negligible or benign. So he tries to characterize the Soviet Union, for example, as an unwilling superpower goaded into the Cold War by those cunning wonks in the State Department. As if the Russians rolled over half of Europe in a fit of absent-mindedness and forgot to give it back."

Yes. Yes. Yes. Right on.

message 50: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal Yes, but Buck, he has such a breezy intransigence about him. Even Jesus of Nazareth had his moment of doubt.

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