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American Empire Project

Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance

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An immediate national bestseller, Hegemony or Survival demonstrates how, for more than half a century the United States has been pursuing a grand imperial strategy with the aim of staking out the globe. Our leaders have shown themselves willing-as in the Cuban missile crisis-to follow the dream of dominance no matter how high the risks. World-renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky investigates how we came to this perilous moment and why our rulers are willing to jeopardize the future of our species.

With the striking logic that is his trademark, Chomsky tracks the U.S. government's aggressive pursuit of "full spectrum dominance" and vividly lays out how the most recent manifestations of the politics of global control-from unilateralism to the dismantling of international agreements to state terrorism-cohere in a drive for hegemony that ultimately threatens our existence. Lucidly written, thoroughly documented, and featuring a new afterword by the author, Hegemony or Survival is a definitive statement from one of today's most influential thinkers.

304 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2003

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About the author

Noam Chomsky

773 books14.1k followers
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, considered to be one of the most significant contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. He also helped spark the cognitive revolution in psychology through his review of B. F. Skinner's Verbal Behavior, in which he challenged the behaviorist approach to the study of behavior and language dominant in the 1950s. His naturalistic approach to the study of language has affected the philosophy of language and mind. He is also credited with the establishment of the Chomsky hierarchy, a classification of formal languages in terms of their generative power. Beginning with his critique of the Vietnam War in the 1960s, Chomsky has become more widely known for his media criticism and political activism, and for his criticism of the foreign policy of the United States and other governments.

According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index in 1992, Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any other living scholar during the 1980–1992 time period, and was the eighth-most cited scholar in any time period.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 471 reviews
262 reviews5 followers
February 14, 2008
I am positively drawn to the words of Chomsky for the following reasons: he is unflinchingly honest, he writes with a dispassionate demeaner that appears to be completely disinterested, he is never episodic, and the implications of what he writes are startling and desperately important.
Chomsky writes very matter-of-factly, using occasional sarcasm, but never retreating to overblown rhetoric. His quote-heavy prose is straightforward and undeniable. This man is an encyclopedia of historical knowlege, and the legitimacy of his conclusions cannot be denied.
Profile Image for Kevin.
269 reviews559 followers
October 19, 2020
My focus for re-reading this Bush-era (junior, the painter) critique of American’s foreign policy is to assess its accessibility. However, a side-tracked foray into reading some negative reviews turned into a useful exercise:

The Criticisms:
--Let’s review the common negative reactions (this will seem elementary to most activists, but it's useful to consider accessibility to wider audiences):

1) “Cynical”, “alienating”, “radical”:
--The curious activist’s dilemma between being accessible (to build mass movements), and being principled… Chomsky dives in without complex verbiage, but also does not do much hand-holding.
--The irony is the corporate interests that often drive US military actions are absurdly cynical towards world public opinion, the surplus populations. Chomsky defends public opinion against the 0.1%, how "cynical"!
--During times when unabashed colonialism, or slavery, or women-as-property, or godly-kings were naturalized by a lifetime of social conditioning, simply questioning the status quo condition as if there were alternatives would elicit accusations of being “cynical”.
--There is a status quo bias where every trait of the status quo is associated with the current fruits of society, thus how can we have _____ without ______?. Rinse-and-repeat. Status quo society is assumed as homogeneous, where every component contributes positively (except poor vulnerable people apparently), so who are you to step out-of-line as a “radical” and challenge our heroes, our way-of-life, our founding fathers…? How “alienating”.

2) “Unnuanced” bias against “valid self interest”, “one-dimensional”, inconsiderate of “context”/“scale”, “unfamiliar” sources:
--The next step is to rationalize the initial emotional response in an empirical manner. Thus, we find a curious phenomenon:
--Chomsky: 1) compares US military actions with the rest of the world’s actions/international law (yes, it exists!)/public opinion (including US public) to demonstrate US military as the outlier and leader in terrorism/aggression, and furthermore 2) Western media’s bias by simply defining different rules for “our side”. Terrorism is what others do; what “we” do has a moral end regardless of the means (how convenient).
--Reaction: Chomsky is being “one-sided”. Okay…in what way?

i) Why is Chomsky not detailing the acts of terror by the other side? Actually, Chomsky does provide illustrative comparisons (a key idea in this book is universality, starting with the same standard for both sides). But the point of this book is to expose the (majority) side of terrorism that is completely ignored/mis-framed ("defending freedom"); curious how “look at the other side” (look the other way) often results in missing the big picture. This book covers a lot of 20th century history, so those without a grasp of the subject will get a sense of jumping around; for detailed, direct comparisons, see Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.

ii) Bias against “valid self-interest”? Here, I would say this book is more bare-bones as it starts with basic concepts like universality. There will be those who need to first walk through concepts like class analysis, media propaganda, nationalism, etc. before they can acknowledge that US veterans (working class) starving in the streets while its US military industrial complex tops the list in arms-sales to despots (profits/capital gains go to chicken-hawk major shareholders, i.e. the 1%) might indicate conflicting and less-than-noble “self-interest”. And for those who still yell "traitor", maybe you need to hear this from a US Major General: War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America's Most Decorated Soldier

--Easier places to start:
1) Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky: one more point on Chomsky being "cynical" and "alienating": once you decouple the elite's self-interest for war profits from the self-interest of their disposable public, you realize that Chomsky is astoundingly positive towards American public opinion and its impact (mass protests) in the 20th century.
2) Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies: the Q&A section with Canadian reporters is especially useful. Regarding "universality" described above, I mentioned that Chomsky starts with this just to demonstrate the overwhelming violence of US foreign policy. However, Chomsky's overall principle is to focus on critiquing his side because this is the side that he as the greatest responsibility for and ability to influence. (See the end for related thoughts)

--Foreign policy of the 1%: looking for something with more fiery?
-Michael Parenti: https://youtu.be/O8k0yO-deoA?t=26
-Vijay Prashad: https://youtu.be/hTb2uVIWG5Q?t=45

--Details on the existential threat of nuclear proliferation:
-The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner
-Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe

--Details on the science and economics of climate change:
-Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System

--Accessible global economics?:
-Another Now: Dispatches from an Alternative Present
-Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works - and How It Fails
-Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism

The Questionable:
--Having promoted Chomsky for much of this review, here are a few concerns (less related to this book) worth considering:

1) How to support the global Left from within the empire?
--Similar to George Orwell, who in his efforts to combat communism/Stalinism became suspiciously close to the British Foreign Office (specifically, the Information Research Department, a propaganda unit of what is still an Imperialist State; see Orwell's List), Chomsky's descriptions of real-world communism have been of concern to global Leftists. Despite his stated methodology of focusing on critiquing his own side first, his casual quips of "the USSR was a dungeon" and other assertions of global south communist violence are questionable when his audience is already raised on Red Scare/American Exceptionalism and desperately need global perspectives/historical context (the Western Left remains plagued by interventionism).
--For global Leftist positions, I'm accumulating a playlist featuring Vijay Prashad, Michael Parenti, Utsa Patnaik, Max Blumenthal, etc.: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...
--Highlights include:
i) Michael Parenti:
-on Cuban Revolution: https://youtu.be/npkeecCErQc
-full: https://youtu.be/O8k0yO-deoA?t=27
ii) Vijay Prashad
-"The Many Lives of Communism in the Third World": https://youtu.be/NZXh2Guebhg?t=104
-on ideological censorship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jKcs...

2) Vote-for-the-lesser-evil electoral recommendation (which Chomsky seems to have adopted since Reagan): Once again, his logic is not unfathomable, but his framing seems too defeatist. Does he really expect progress from the US electoral process, with all its mechanisms to preserve the status quo (lobbying legalized bribery, corporate media, unelected Military Industrial Complex)? Of course not. So, even if you cannot foresee a viable 3rd party option, why not still threaten the Democrat establishment with mass exits to a 3rd party to build some leverage (along with mass strikes/protests)? If this is too revolutionary and you need some hand-holding from a progressive, consider palatable (yet principled) Glenn Greenwald's critique: https://youtu.be/RSSnaGCXanA
Profile Image for Chris.
379 reviews26 followers
January 6, 2009
A quick read, and has a tone exactly like watching Chomsky speak. The assertions which seem to him incontestable, the thick and layered cynicism, the stoic application of morals no matter the context or scale. The title refers to Chomsky's belief that the world has two options: American global hegemony, or the survival of the human race. If the human race is to survive, America must cease it's quest, almost completed, for global dominance. However, he does not develop the reasons for this to be true, and instead spends the book discussing the last century of US foreign policy. His understanding of WWII, especially the economic and political dimensions, is, I believe, too simplistic. As for the rest of the book, Chomsky quotes sources which he asserts to be authoritative, yet appeared unknown in many cases to me. He would quote a person and assert them the preeminent scholar or expert in that subject, yet the names were usually unfamiliar. Additionally, his conceptions of a 'just war' seem to have no bearing on actual international relations theory. 'Just War' is a concept left over from the medieval christian European world and seems incongruous, arcane and unworkable in the today's globalized, technological and cosmopolitan world. Yet, Chomsky harps on it for the penultimate chapter.
It should be remembered that, in reading or listening to Chomsky, he offers no advice on what the US government - or any other government - should do, either domestically or internationally. He only offers criticism of what they have done. And to him, everything, and I mean everything, that the US and other nations have ever done is selfish, amoral, warlike, callous, deceitful, hypocritical, etc., ad infinitum. One wants to ask him: "Well, what SHOULD the US have done after 9/11 towards the Taliban? Do you really think that would have worked - is that even realistic?" That Chomsky offers only criticism is worth keeping in mind, as is the fact that, for him, private property and ownership under capitalism are root causes of man's injustice towards man. Chomsky, you may know, is an Anarcho-Syndicalist, a belief far off the left, into the rocky, wild and mostly un-chartered expanses beyond even socialism or communism. That someone with such Utopian and idealistic (frankly, science-fictioney) views is hailed as one of the world's preeminent intellectuals is actually staggering. However, Chomsky's final chapter on the militarization of space is perfectly structured, and that he ends with a quote by Bertrand Russell wins me back over to his side - despite the many arguments I take with his other views.

Still, this book - as an exemplar of Chomsky's latest ideas and modes of argument - should be confronted so as to test and challenge the reader on where they stand in today's geopolitical debates.
Profile Image for Amy.
498 reviews34 followers
September 20, 2020
17 years after it’s publication, reading this Chomsky feels somewhat humorous. Bush and Blair were horrible, but 2020 US foreign policy and Trump ‘leadership’ makes everything previous, pale in comparison. Reading Chomsky is great to keep the critical analysis sharp, and excellent reminders to all the faux policies and discourses we (collectively around the world) have been fed to justify US sponsored and led global terrorism.
79 reviews2 followers
June 9, 2013
I think that the issue of hegemony vs valid self interest is a complex issue, and depending on your political biases, Chomsky may be a good place to start. Hegemony or Survival, like most of Chomsky's books on foriegn policy issues, gives a good window into what he has written on those issues. As a mildly idealistic pragmatist, I appreciate the critique of hegemony but did not feel that the analysis and factual assertions were adeaquate to enhance my understanding. I felt let down by a writer who was supposed to be an icon of sorts. This is a feeling I commonly have as I learn more about a group or individual who pushes any kind of agenda or issue--the analysis and fact often become one dimensional and dissatisfying as a window into understanding.* Chomsky's work, like other similar works and initiatives, should be seen not as a careful analysis but as an attempt to draw attention to an issue (and, possibly, to influence or encourage people who don't have a taste for more complexity). It has validity in that sense. But if you already realize the issue and are seeking understanding rather than a pat on the back or quotes to impress your like-minded friends, you'll be disappointed. I suppose there's some currency to be had in keeping up appearances.

*And unfortunately, such works and initiatives become a waste of time for a reader like me, or, even worse, they provide an enticement to express displeasure and alienation.
Profile Image for Aaron.
100 reviews
July 8, 2009
What to conclude about U.S. foreign policy from Chomsky's fierce, eye-opening critique?

Simply put, the policy is to dominate and control the world politically and economically by wielding an unmatched and ever-expanding military power to crush whomever it deems a threat whenever it wants.

Hence, the title: "hegemony" refers to the current trajectory of U.S. foreign policy (accelerated by Bush II primarily by way of his doctrine of preemptive war in the aftermath of 9/11) while "survival" refers to the question of whether the human race - threatened by, among other things, the proliferation of nuclear weapons (encouraged by U.S. foreign policy) will, in fact, survive.

There are some who argue Chomsky's prose is dry. I disagree. It is spare, economical and extremely well-organized, attributes that allow nothing to get in the way of the overwhelming evidence he presents of the United States government's arrogance, lies and brutality on the world stage.

From the "preemptive war" doctrine and U.S. support of terror in the Middle East and Latin America to its plans for the militarization of space, Chomsky leaves no room for American leaders' lies (from Kennedy to Reagan to Bush I to Clinton to Bush II) to breathe.

The question, Chomsky seems to be asking, is whether the freedoms the U.S. does allow (to petition your government, to access high-level planning documents, to organize, to speak out, to vote, etc.) will be used by the public to reverse or blunt this hegemonic trajectory.

He finds hope in the possibility, citing certain historic and current popular movements.

I remember reading a little Chomsky back when I was a student at the University of Portland. And I'm glad now to reacquaint myself with his work. His intellect is quite amazing (I'm intrigued by his work in linguistics and his other books on politics, as well as his professorship at MIT, and I plan to further immerse myself in his thinking). He strikes me as a moral and admirable man. Certainly, "Hegemony or Survival" is, at its core, an argument on behalf of morality.

As I read "Hegemony or Survival," I couldn't resist pulling up some speeches by Chomsky posted on the Internet. Among his quotes, this is the one I love the most so far:

"Whenever you hear something said very confidently, the first thing that should come to mind is, wait a minute: Is that true?"

A lot of things are spoken with confidence in America (so, too, in other countries although America seems to have made an entire industry out of bullshit), by leaders in government and business, by people on TV, by parents, etc.

My question is, are enough of us making it a practice to ask the question Chomsky urges us to ask?

I'd like to think so. But I fear otherwise.
Profile Image for Caley.
118 reviews13 followers
September 15, 2012

An incredibly interesting initial argument that gets so battered over the head and dissected utilizing the same damn historical case studies over and over that I could barely finish this book. Chomsky's logic is absolutely sound and the history backs him up. But this book would read infinitely better as a conference paper or as ONE chapter versus the rambling, jumpy, and sometimes amateur analysis it offers instead. Chomsky also seems to suffer here from a real bad case of organization; sections dedicated to describing a particular episode of America's neoimperialism in some part of the world will hop backwards and forwards to other historical moments that may establish the same sort of argument. And the repetition of the same culminating point (USA = hegemon) is just tiresome and plainly needs some nuancing. Because frankly this whole book just comes off as radical and alienating. Bad case of the genius maybe? 2 stars.
Profile Image for John.
1,070 reviews76 followers
December 7, 2021
An eye opening read. America has successfully been world dominant by creating repressive regimes. There is a long list. El Salvador, Iraq, Nicaragua, Haiti, Indonesia, The Philippines and Equatorial Guinea to name a few. The motive of keeping the rich richer has been completely successful. So the lesson is democracy is fine to keep the rich getting richer so long as it is not by the general population and you obey the US.

The excuse of humanitarian or war on terror motives is laughable. The phrase America knows best is throughout the book. Examples and references of American crimes are listed and breathtaking. The planning is brilliant and the divide and conquer strategy has worked since WW2. The UN is mostly ignored and all popular or sensible proposals like no militarization of space or mediation before the Iraq war are vetoed.

Chomsky language does get sarcastic and emotive at times but given the subject understandable. I would not be surprised if the UK leaving Europe was through US manipulation. It has weakened Europe and isolated the UK as well as weakened it for generations to come.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,601 reviews414 followers
November 23, 2017
-Mucho ejemplo real, pero mezclando la necesidad con la opción.-

Género. Ensayo.

Lo que nos cuenta. El libro Hegemonía o supervivencia (publicación original: Hegemony or Survival. America's Quest for Global Dominance, 2003), con el subtítulo El dominio mundial de EEUU, es un repaso a la estrategia imperialista de los Estados Unidos de América que, mediante acciones agresivas desde lo político y lo militar, buscaba primero la primacía mundial y ahora, tal vez, enlentecer el declive de su poderío que, hace años, era indiscutible.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

Profile Image for Nabilah.
272 reviews38 followers
June 17, 2016
Any caring non-Americans knew what USA did and is doing. Noam Chomsky just managed to write it down into one neat book.
Profile Image for Bob Nichols.
870 reviews282 followers
March 16, 2020
This is my first full-book exposure to the political Chomsky. It's the standard stuff from a "leftist" perspective, and the arguments and information presented are familiar enough to anyone paying attention to the foreign policy of the Bush-Cheney years. While that period is his focus, Chomsky does not limit himself here. Bush-Cheney is just a reflection of what had long preceded it - a history of U.S. foreign policy that cloaks itself in freedom talk, but it is really based on domination. It's a foreign policy that goes back to WWII and even to WWI and Wilson. In turn, this is reflects a domestic political scene where elites have dominated the non-elites by manipulation.

Surprisingly, there's very little political theory in this book. It's basically that elites are bad, non-elites are good, and that the non-elites need to rise up and take control, thereby promoting true freedom, goodness and justice.

Chomsky is right to point out that the US has never figured out how to be a fair-minded, and wise, world power. It's been incredibly self-centered, ethnocentric, self-righteous, and moralistic, leading to all sorts of ineptly conceived foreign interventions. The Iraq invasion was a case in point - didn't the U.S. learn anything from Vietnam? It wasn't that we were just inept in our follow through. Rather, it was the invasion itself ("Mr. President, Iraq is free," Ms. Condoleezza Rice said, moralistically and infamously; that, and that Iraq hijacked a quick in and out in Afghanistan). Though Chomsky might disagree, WWII is an exception, or even WWI, despite some very real problems apparently with the Wilson presidency.

Chomsky seems to go the extra-mile in condemning the US (all bad) and presuming that other countries don't have bad motivations vis-a-vis our interests. Rather than that, his argument seems to be that it is our quest for dominance that brings out these worst counter-reactions coming from others. But a healthy dose of realism is is good thing here - respecting the line between our interests and those of others, and defending our interests when that is necessary. Defense, not offense is good. The National Guard's mantra at the local armory cries out "operation Iraqi freedom: extend to defend." That's the kind of BS that Chomsky is correct in condemning.

But even this line of thinking gets very gray, fast. President Polk's lies and manipulation resulted in a made-up war with Mexico, thereby allowing territory nearly the size of the Louisiana Purchase to be incorporated into the U.S. making the country largely what it is today (once the native Indians were subdued). At the time, about four other countries were vying for control of this territory, and Polk wasn't going to have any of them in our backyard. So he took it instead. What would the US be today without this territory? But, given the pure logic of the Chomsky position, I suppose the US should give the territory back to Mexico.

The larger issue with Chomsky, though, is this presumption that the elites are bad and the masses are good. This doesn't reflect the variability of human nature where a good many of the latter ("the masses") are susceptible to manipulation by "bad" elites precisely because they are overly tribal and fearful, by nature. A strong tribe, our strong tribe, is the best antidote to fear so that it's "our way or the highway," or a "might is right" sort of thing. Leaders prey on and orchestrate that fear. They whip up the frenzy and, in a democracy, even our sane leaders, always mindful of their electoral success, have to cave to the red heat of the masses. That's what happened in Iraq, and that's what happened with Vietnam, and that's what is happening now with Trump.
Profile Image for Zach Irvin.
128 reviews22 followers
July 15, 2016
Chomsky is ruthless in this book. He extensively quotes elected officials, academics and news pundits to expose the jingoistic neoliberal agenda America has pursued for decades. Most shocking to me is the candor used by officials when talking about the brutal and exploitative methods America uses to establish power around the world. From the support of murderous dictators to the outright disposal of democratically elected officials that do not support American business interests. Chomsky reveals that the pursuit of American hegemony around the globe involves both Democrats and Republicans. Kennedy, Reagan, Wilson Eisenhower, Johnson, Clinton, both Bushes and all in between have worked to establish ruthless American rule.

While reading I remembered the years from Clinton to Bush and was struck by how much I believed in the lofty rhetoric being thrown around to justify invasions and bombings of foreign countries. Chomsky does a very good job of showing how thinly veiled the actual motives of American power are. Through his examples he lays out the prevailing ideology of American power and shows the callous logic that operates under that ideology. Occasionally, Chomsky's snark becomes a little too much, although it is understandable considering the truly horrific war crimes, and the accompanying flowery narrative and systematic denial, he documents.

As I was reading I kept remembering a particular verse from the song 'Strange Ways' by Madvillian. The album came out only a few months after Chomsky's book, and I'm going to end my review with the verse because it is a succinct formulation of what gets discussed in Hegemony or Survival:

"They pray four times a day, they pray five
Whose ways is strange when it's time to survive
Some will go of they own free will to die
Others take them with you when they blow sky high
What's the difference? All you get is lost children
While the bosses sit up behind the desks
That cost billions to blast humans in half, into calves and arms
Only one side is allowed to have bombs
It's like making a soldier drop his weapon
Shooting him, and telling him to get to stepping
Obviously, they came to portion up his fortune
Sounds to me like that old robbery/extortion"
Profile Image for James.
155 reviews36 followers
February 13, 2015
With crystal clear prose and thoroughly researched (and copiously footnoted) detail, Noam Chomsky reveals the current Iraq war to be just the most recent in a line of ultra-right nationalist aggression by both of the dominant political parties of America as they force (often successfully) an elitist American agenda to the forefront of world politics. Chomsky logically connects the current situation with past American terrorism waged against Nicaragua, Cuba, etc. The man is without question one of America's most consistently moral voices, and this book burns with his typical intensity. Hegemony or Survival is written in a simple style rather different than the one Chomsky employs in his scholarly linguistic work, probably because a book like this should be accessible to the masses; unfortunately, Chomsky here resorts (as he sometimes does in his lectures) to bitter sarcasm, which prevents Hegemony from being a purely academic exercise but dosen't quite reach the level of vitriolic polemic a la Vidal or Hitchens. Still, Chomsky is firstly a truth-teller, not a stylist and that's how his political work should be evaluated. That about a third of this book is made up of direct quotations of sources is further evidence that truth is Chomsky's greatest concern; however, the frequency of quotes makes for choppy reading. It's funny to think that the great linguist is not aesthetically a great writer, but are you really reading this book for the prose? If this book was read by the country's general public, then headway could finally be made against political ignorance and nationalist hatred in our society.

Although the reality of what he details in this book may leave some readers in despair, I find it inspiring to see a man who dares to tell the truth about the modern world without resorting to crackpot conspiracy theories or a self-righteous and sanctimonious tone. This is certainly one of the most important books published in recent years, and we stand to lose a great deal by ignoring it.
Profile Image for Abbie.
161 reviews20 followers
August 29, 2016
This is one of those books that's gonna leave me in a vaguely angry mood for the next month. Jesus.
Profile Image for Ericka Clou.
2,003 reviews157 followers
November 17, 2017
This is a long refutation of the concept that it is helpful to security or morally right to maintain American hegemony. It is also, to a lesser extent, a refutation of that democratic peace theory (the theory that democratic countries go to war with each other less) somehow contributes to increased world peace.

The book is a scathing indictment of American foreign policy which is equal parts nightmarishly frightening (talks about American "terrorist actions") and somehow also totally boring. I think it's important to read, but good luck with that.
Profile Image for Nour.
7 reviews11 followers
January 1, 2014
من اكتر الكتب اللى اصبابتنى اكتئابا عن مهازل أمريكا ازاى دخلت العراق و عن ما تسعى اليه بما يدعى الحرب الوقائية و هى ف الاصل لحرب الاستباقية عن مهازلها ف صربيا
حقا هيمنة ملعونة
اعجبنى وصفه بما فعله فيدل كاسترو و اصحابه بأنهم هزوا كيان الولايات المتحدة
Profile Image for Omar  Abusada.
102 reviews18 followers
February 10, 2019
.هذا الكتاب مهم جداً لكل من يؤمن بنظرية المؤامرة، ويعتنق فكرة معاداة الإمبريالية الأمريكية.. لكن م��لاً فهذا العمل أعقد وأهم وأخطر من ذلك بكثير

المؤلف أشهر من أن يُعرّف، وهو المثقف البارز وعالم الألسنيات الشهير نعوم تشومسكي، أحد أهم وأشهر الشخصيات المعاصرة. وقد أصدر كتابه هذا في عام .2003 بُعيد الغزو الأمريكي للعراق، وهذا الغزو بما حدث قُبيله وأثنائه، كان المدخل الرئيس للكتاب، والفكرة المركزية التي تدور عليها أطروحته

يبدأ الكتاب بعرض دراسة علمية تتنبأ بفناء الجنس البشري بعد بضع آلآف من السنين، ويُختتم كذلك بعرض سباق التسلّح بين الدول النووية، والصراع على عسكرة الفضاء، خصوصاً من جانب الولايات المتحدة. لكن ما كُتب بين دفّتي البداية والخاتمة هو المهم بحق.
كما قلت، الغزو المريكي للعراق، هو الفكرة الأساسية للكتاب، لكنها كانت مدخلاً فقط، لاستعراض عقلية الإدراة الحاكمة في واشنطن، ليس فقط في عهد بوش الإبن، بل على مدار تاريخ الولايات المتحدة، منذ أن أصبحت دولة مستقلة ذات سيادة وإمكانيات، أي منذ عهود الظهور على المسرح الدولي في عهد وودرو ويلسون، مروراً بظهورها كقطب ثاني للعالم في عهود روزفلت وأيزنهاور وكينيدي، وصولاً إلى الهيمنة المطلقة، مع إدارات ريغان وبوش الأب وكلينتون،
.وانتهاءً ببوش الإبن

سأستعمل هنا تعبيراً قد يكون مبتذلاً بعض الشيء، وهو أن تشومسكي في كتابه هذا عمل على "تعرية" أو "فضح" الممارسات السياسية للإدارات الأمريكية المتعاقبة، وقد يقول القارئ العربي – المتعوّد على معاداة هذه السياسات – إن هذا ليس بجديد، لكنّ الجديد الذي يأتي به تشومسكي هنا، هو التتبع الصارم لهذه الممارسات وتحليل الدوافع الحقيقية ورائها، ومسائلتهاعن طريق المعايير الأمريكية نفسها، وقد ظهر هنا من خلال أسئلته المركزة، ومحاسبته الدقيقة، بمظهر المثقف الأخلاقي صاحب الضمير الإنساني المرهف، والعقلانية الحكيمة، في مقابل الطغيان أو "إرادة الهيمنة" للإدارة السياسية والمنظّرين لها من المثقفين
.الأكاديميين أو الإعلاميين

في عدة فصول يتحدث الكاتب عن هشاشة الدوافع التي تقدمها الإدارة الأمريكية، في سبيل قيامها بمعاقبة دولة ما، وعبر استقراء طويل في عديد من المحطات والأحداث التاريخية، يثبت المؤلّف أن النية العدوانية قائمة دوماً لدى صناع القرار في البيت الأبيض، وفي سبيل المحافظة على هيمنة أمريكا كأقوى دولة عرفها التاريخ، لا بد من التصرف كأخ كبير أو كشرطي للعالم، الذي يُعاقب كل من لا يمثثل لإرادته، ولا ينصاع لأوامره. يتحدث الكتاب مثلاً عن "إرهاب الدولة" الذي مارسته أمريكا في عهد كينيدي ضد كوبا، بقصفها بالقنابل وإستئجار المرتزقة والعصابات الإرهابية لإسقاط نظام كاسترو، كذلك الحروب القذرة التي شنتها إدارة ريغان ضد غواتيمالا ونيكارغوا وفييتنام، التي أدت لمقتل الآلاف، ونشر الرعب والخراب، وسلب الإرادة الشعبية لمواطني هذه البلدان، كذلك لا ينسى الكاتب، التذكير بأن الجهاديين الذين شيطنتهم أمريكا في عقد التسعينات، كانت هي من زودتهم بالأسلحة وأمنت لهم معسكرات التدريب وقواعد العمليات، من أجل هزيمة الروس في أفغانستان، بل حتى في الوقت الذي عزم فيه بعض هؤلاء الجهاديين على تنفيذ ضربات ضد مصالح أمريكية مختلفة، استمر التنسيق والتعاون في مجالات أخرى. كذلك لم ينس الكاتب أن يعقد فصلاً كاملاً عن التحالف المقدس بين أمريكا وإسرائيل، وعن الدعم اللاّمحدود التي تقدمه الأولى للثانية، بدءاً من تقديم المعونات المالية والعسكرية، إلى تقديم الغطاء القانوني والدعم الدولي في مجلس الأمن، الذي لطالما ندد بممارسات إسرائيل الهمجية الإجرامية بحق الفلسطينيين، على عكس ما كان يرى صانعوا القرار في واشنطن، في ازدواجية فاضحة لكل "القيم الأمريكية" التي ما انفك يرددها الرؤساء الأمريكان دونما
.أن يكون لها ذرة من مصداقية أو واقعية

أما فيما يخص الوضع في العراق، فقد عرض الكاتب للصورة البانورامية لعلاقات أمريكا مع صدام، منذ دعمه خلال حربه مع إيران، عندما لم يكن في ذلك الوقت "طاغية مستبداً" إلى خطأه القاتل بغزوه الكويت، الذي شجع امريكا على ضربه ومحاصرته والتنكيل بالعراق دولة وشعباً، وصولاً إلى عهد بوش الابن، حيث الرغبة المسعورة والتحشيد الهستيري لاحتلال العراق، بكل ما عرضته إدارتا بوش وبلير من حجج واهية. وهنا بالذات يستعرض الكاتب الاستخفاف الأمريكي الكامل بما يُسمى بالمجتمع الدولي، حيث أمريكا فقط هي من يفرض إرادتها على الجميع، وما على باقي الدول سوى أن تكون تابعاً أو تنضم إلى قائمة .الأعداء، بما في ذلك المؤسسات الدولية كالأمم المتحدة ومجلس الأمن، الذي لم يخفي كثير من المسؤؤلين والمثقفين الأمريكيين إزدرائهم لها

اما عن قضية الإرهاب، فقد كان تشومسكي واضحاً، في قوله إن الممارسات العدوانية والإنتهازية للإدارة المريكية، هي المسبب الرئيس لظهور الجماعات الجهادية الساخطة على أمريكا والعالم الغربي. وهذا السخط لا يشمل فقط الأصوليين أو ذوي الإتجاهات المحافظة، وإنما يشمل أيضاً الديمقراطيين ودعاة .الحداثة، المحبَطين من سلوك واشنطن الداعم للمستبدين والمتسلطين العرب، الفاسدين سياسياً و اقتصادياً

هذا أبرز ما جاء في الكتاب، وإن كان يصعب حصره في مراجعة سريعة كهذه، فهو غني بالإستشهادات التاريخية، وكذلك بكم كبير من المصادر والمراجع،
والوثائق ال��ي استشهد بها تشومسكي بشكل صارم، في التدليل على أرائه، وهذا الجهد البحثي الضخم، لا شك انه يضفي مصداقية عالية لما أورده في عمله هذا.

الترجمة كذلك جاءت مميزة، وهو الأمر الذي لم يكن يسيراً لمن يعرف تشومسكي وقدراته اللغوية التعبيرية المميزة، كما جاء في مقدمة الترجمة.
وأخيراً، فإنه بعد 15 عاماً من صدور الكتاب، تبقى للسؤال مشروعيته، ليس لأمريكا فقط هذه المرة، وإنما لباقي الدول التي أصبحت تنافس للاستحواذ على
.النفوذ.. عليكم أن تقرروا : إما الهيمنة وإما البقاء
Profile Image for Jean Tessier.
146 reviews19 followers
May 25, 2012
Diatribe against American imperial policies.

Early on, Chomsky warns his reader not to confuse state power with a country and its people. One can be critical of state policy while praising the country and its culture. Interestingly enough, one reviewer on Amazon.com has fallen into that trap and assumes that since Chomsky is critical of the current administration, he must hate America too.

Chomsky documents how the Monroe Doctrine has shaped American policy, both foreign and domestic for the past 150 years. He uses newpaper articles, declassified documents, and political analysis to show how successive administrations have built up their military supremacy to an unparallel level while at the same time taming the "great beast" of public opinion, giving them the freedom to use that power to the benefit of the national elite. Examples come from involvements in Central and South America, the Cold War including the Cuban Missile Crisis, to the post-Soviet era and the war on terror, to the war in Iraq. The progression is quite frightening.

The book includes 28 pages (10%) of notes listing sources for each quotes, and a 12-page index. You can check out his facts for yourself, if you have the time and patience to track down all those sources.

If you look at the dates during which I was reading this book, you will see that they coincide with George W. Bush's second inaugural address (2005-01-20). In it, President Bush put forth a goal to promote freedom in the world. The future will tell if this was the latest incarnation of the Monroe Doctrine. In reaction to the inaugural speech, the New York Times published, on January 30, an op-ed by Tom Wolfe tying the address to the Monroe Doctrine and how successive administrations gradually expanded its reach until it spanned the entire globe.

Profile Image for Scott Lupo.
383 reviews5 followers
September 9, 2011
My first Noam Chomsky book although I have read articles and excerpts from him. This is a great book that details U.S. foreign relations policies up to 2004. Subject matter wise he is THE expert. Not only has he done his homework through diligent research he also puts these complex, multi-layered, and nuanced problems into the light. If you live in a world where you think the U.S. is perfect and altruistic in its dealings with the rest of the world you may not want to read this book as it will put all of that into question (personally I think it shatters it). Chomsky is a philosopher first so he puts all presidents, regardless of political affiliation, on the chopping block. What is the goal of the U.S. in terms of world dominance? Is it trying to be hegemonic in its dealings with other countries? Wonder why much of the world dislikes the U.S.? I have often told people the U.S. is the bully of the world, forcing others to live up to its expectations at any cost (including costs to its own people). I think this book only serves to prove that point. Many others would argue that what the U.S. does in the world is not bullying but surviving in a time when despots, ruthless authoritarians, and dictators are all too common in a global climate. I would argue that we create those problems through our relentless goal of hegemony. See what you think.
Profile Image for Marco Pavan.
72 reviews5 followers
October 17, 2022
This book gets 5 stars just simply for how it’s written. Every single topic introduced gets dissected and analyzed from a wide array of perspectives and Chomsky does a sublime job in applying both common and linguistical logic to the content itself to draw conclusions.

Given the highly delicate topic and premise of this book, where in most common settings any criticism towards American governments worldwide, especially on their foreign policy, results in being identified as anti-American - which on its own is absolutely absurd - Chomsky journalistically, historically and linguistically is able to present a massive amount of data all referenced from government briefings, security council deliberation, UN resolutions etc in a very consumable way.

Another reason this book gets 5 stars is because essentially, while reading the book, Chomsky’s “presence” is more of a narrator. There is actually no judgement and all the conclusions are drawn using basic logical principles on the data that reports verbatim.

For anybody seeking knowledge and understanding regarding geo-politics of the last few decades, this book is a must read
Profile Image for Parth Agrawal.
92 reviews18 followers
July 30, 2018
When I picked up this book, I wondered how could a choice as ridiculous as the title of the book can be presented to mankind. I mean its clear right? What would you prefer: Hegemony or Survival? I guess the people here would agree with me that the right answer to this question is: Hegemony-> As long as we are alive and there is no imminent threat to our survival
Survival-> As soon as we realize that there's an imminent threat to our survival

Well there's one or two flaws with this approach. For starters, how can we exactly know that when is our survival in danger and when it isn't? Second, would we be able to acknowledge that the gravest threat to us is posed by us or the elected representatives that we have picked to be specific?

Mr Chomsky has underlined this very last part of the aforementioned question. To be brutally honest, this book is very disturbing, not because any obscene language or event has been described but because this book forces you to acknowledge that you have been fed, if not lies then, with very nuanced viewpoints regarding most of the matters which are of international importance. Some of the examples like:
1) When America invaded Iraq(2002), they did so because allegedly the Talibani faction was harboring Osama Bin Laden who was the prime accused in the world famous event of 9-11
2)America opts for force/military option as the last resort after exhausting all the diplomatic solutions
3) America has been tasked by none other than god himself to liberate mankind from the clutches of barbarianism through democracy(Wilsonian Idealism)

We accept all these statements as gospel truth as if they are axiomatically true/ true by default. What we fail to notice is that America might be the only power in the world history which has got double veto. One veto is the famous one which we are all aware of, the UNSC veto. The second one is that if America vetoes any resolution or abstains itself from voting on any, it passes away unrecorded and unreported in the archives and the media. Hard to believe isn't it? Let me point you out certain things for you to search:

1) There is an organisation, Gallup Poll International, which conducted an international survey in 2001 before the invasion of Iraq. The question posed was: " Once the identity of terrorists is known, should the American government launch a military attack on the country or countries where the terrorists are based or should the government seek to extradite the terrorists to stand trial?". The average people who supported war in Europe are 18%, 6% in Latin America and 16% in Central America

2) Doesn't seem enough? Let's see what else have we got. Let's take invasion of Afghanistan, there's a very important presupposition in this that the attackers were known. After 8 months of the commencement of bombing, in June 2002, FBI director Robert Mueller testified before a senate committee. topic of discussion was the "Origins of 9-11 attack". Following are his statements: " Investigators believe(emphasis) the idea of the attack came from Al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan". "We think(emphasis) that the masterminds were in Afghanistan". Let us suppose that their hypothesis regarding both the above sentences were true in retrospect. How was Afghanistan supposed to know about its land being used for terrorist activities 8 months before the declaration precisely when the bombing started?

3) If these 2 are still not enough for you, let me provide you with the list of resolutions/conventions/treaties that USA either vetoed/abstained from voting/ simply disregarded as irrelevant to their case: Outer Space treaty 1967, Chemical Weapons Convention 1997, Biological and Toxic Weapons Conventions 1972, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty 1970, Kyoto Protocols, Paris Summit, JCPOA(Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, Comprehensive test ban Treaty etc

I don't claim that this list is exhaustive but i suppose we can at-least check the reportage of these events and start questioning as to why the role of America as a grinch in maintaining the international peace can't even be entertained?

A question worth thinking about....
Profile Image for Steve.
79 reviews23 followers
October 24, 2010
Few contemporary intellectuals divide opinion quite like Chomsky. To his defenders, he sets out an irrefutable case that US history is dominated by an underlying imperialistic aim that is self-serving, hypocritical and essentially malign. To his detractors, his argument often boils down to "US capitalism is responsible for the world's problems, violent resistance to its proliferation is inevitable, therefore that too is the fault of capitalism."

In truth, I've yet to be wholly convinced by Chomsky's argument, but I've also yet to be convinced that he is anything like the apologist for tyrants as claimed by many of his critics, or that the facts and analysis he presents are so wide of the mark as to be of little value. Undoubtedly he is a brilliant polemicist and an important 'rogue'. It's just that US foreign policy and motivation is, I suspect, rather more complex than his writing ever suggests - sometimes benign, sometimes far from it - and I wish he would acknowledge that ambiguity a little more often.

Nevertheless, in Hegemony or Survival he ably challenges many of the commonly-accepted truths of recent years: that the appalling humanitarian crisis in Iraq accompanying the sanctions regime was all Saddam's fault... that while the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, the Afghanistan military campaign was justified... that unlike 'Old Europe', New Europe backed Washington's decision to invade Iraq... that "9-11 changed everything"... and so on.

One big niggle. It's frustrating that, as a professor of linguistics, Chomsky's writing style remains so convoluted. It's not that you need to google every other sentence to understand it - rather, it's the whole '5 words when 1 will do' syndrome. What hampers this further is his decision to weave direct quotes into almost every other sentence - admirable from a sourcing point of view, but far from ideal when it interrupts the flow of text as frequently as it does here. I don't object to academic or challenging prose per se (far from it), but there's a point at which you realise it doesn't have to be this dense and impenetrable. All it does is continue to limit the reach of his argument.

People rarely approach Chomsky expecting balance, and this book is no exception. His fans will no doubt approve, his critics will probably pass it up. Either way, he remains an important counterweight to the safe, sanitized and sensationalized mainstream news, and it's worth persisting with the book - dense text and all - to hear a valuable alternative point of view.
Profile Image for spoko.
186 reviews10 followers
May 16, 2013
In case you're not familiar, this is the book that Hugo Chavez cited at the UN, the day he was railing against the US and calling Dubya the devil and whatever else. A group here in town was doing kind of an impromptu book-group reading of it, so I thought I'd join in. I knew that few of them had read Chomsky before, and being liberals I wondered what they'd think. Personally, I'm a little ways left of liberal, but I'm not the world's biggest Chomsky fan. Before this one I had read some short stuff from him, seen/heard a few interviews, and read about 2/3 of Manufacturing Consent. That last one, especially, I'm not a fan of. It's propaganda, if you ask me. This is part of my reason for wanting to be in this group, was so that there would be at least one critical voice there.

I was surprised how little the book bothered me, though. It does have those propagandist moments. One of his favorite rhetorical tools, for example, is to choose "just a sample" of world events that illustrate his point on something. But it's so transparent; you can find a set of world events to prove virtually any thesis. Some of his "samples" seem pretty well representative, and others seem to be just the cherries that were ripe enough to serve.

The other thing you always expect from Chomsky, of course, is that he'll thoroughly depress you. Which he did—maybe not "thoroughly," I guess, but there's certainly plenty here to be depressed about. In spite of the page and a half at the end of the book where he says, "But things aren't so bad, because people always try to make the world a better place. The end." But there are things to build some hope on, too. He makes an observation early on, for example, about the level of criticism of the war in Iraq. People often compare it to Vietnam, with desperate questions as to why the American public aren't getting as worked up this time around. But the fact is that by the time we were this deep in Vietnam, the public was still hardly taking any notice at all. Lots more people had died on both sides before there was a real public backlash in that case. This time around, there were protests even before the initial invasion.

Still, if you're not already inclined to believe the "positives" to which he appeals and/or alludes, you're going to think the world is going straight to Hell. He does an exhaustive job of detailing the ways. I'm not sure where I am in that regard, so I did find it slightly depressing. But still quite good.
Profile Image for Noah Oanh.
230 reviews66 followers
June 9, 2019
Finally finished this one. Noam made a great point on how the political world works(this book has been written in 2004 but so many points are still valid hitherto).

Few things that I want to note before I leave this book behind:

- If your country is weak, it is really hard to win the voice of the world. Even you are right, you still can't persuade the world to believe you. It happened in many cases like the one in Vietnam war - it took a good 20 years before the world could hear our voice and reckon if American was right on what they were doing or not. `

- Arm race is serious stuff to talk about here as the level of the race is at wmd level(weapon of mass destruction) and at that far to space level now and not just between western countries but also everywhere from America to the far North Korea. If World war 3 ever happen, I don't think anyone could imagine how crazy big the damage could be for this planet.

- Public vote is something that playing more and more role in the world'situation. In many cases the Government wont listen to their people 100% but it did affect a lot on their decision. Noone can't be a lonely wolf nowadays.

- But make people scare and let them follow you is easier than pleasing them and listening to them. The war is sometimes too convenient to not avoid.

- Nature resource like oil is still one of the main reasons of so many wars and invasions.

- No forever friends and enemies when it came to benefits.

- Finally, American government looks a bit like a POS in this book in 2004- greedy and the one that caused most of conflicts and problems in the world right now so they can earn good money from it. It is actually still right now but at least there are some countries like China or Japan could be in another side of the scale and made them think before American wants to fire another bullet.
Profile Image for Ahmed Gatnash.
Author 3 books58 followers
October 8, 2011
"Not to have read him is to genuinely court ignorance" -Nation

This quote, on the back cover, just about sums it up. With each passing page you become more aware that you know next to nothing about events in the world today, and more specifically how much the US is involved. In fact, it is unlikely that you will initially believe how many pies the US has its fingers in. The portrayal of events feels extremely conspiratorialist, but the evidence is all expounded upon at great length.

The book assumes knowledge of most of the topics mentioned, and at many points it will probably be necessary to stop and do some background reading. Subject matter includes conflict in several South American countries, the Iraq war, American military presence around the world, the Israel-Palestine conflict and more. He quotes and cites many people, perhaps too many, perhaps simplifying the motives occasionally, but it is undeniable that Chomsky has the facts to support his claims. He is attacked often, but rarely disproved - more often his voice is simply marginalised and denied attention, because the things he talks about would make certain powerful people very uncomfortable. For example, he mentions the US practice of "double-vetoing" of UNSC resolutions by refusing to attend, assuring a) they will not pass, and b) they will not be reported. Several parts make for very uncomfortable reading; it is difficult to find a non-sinister reason America would refuse to sign a deal prohibiting the militarisation of space when every other country on earth has accepted.

This book will challenge your view of the world, and is essential to understand many of the major events of the last half-century.
Profile Image for Greg Talbot.
512 reviews15 followers
July 1, 2013
Chomsky, long recognized as a leading far-left writer and thinker, has something of a defining book in “Hegemony or Surivival”. In some ways, his reflective work on the U.S.'s involvement in global affairs is more important and instructive in 2013, than when the book was published in 2003. Not only does Chomsky give a frightening but comprehensive view of where we are as a country, he details the dark dirty wars that are still largely unknown to the US public. Whether the killing of six Jesuit Salvadorian intellectuals or the support of Isreal's harsh brute action to institute against palestinians, Chomsky makes a strong case that to many countries America appears to be a rogue nation not genuinely looking to help this world. Writers like Chomsky are important for the protetion of free speech. Not all readers will agree with the things said in this book, but like Howard Zinn's “A People's History of the United States”, it gives voice to the voiceless and wronged.
Profile Image for Eric.
16 reviews
November 30, 2009
Talks all about the first war on terror in the 80's, and the destruction it caused, the failed attempts by the opressed to get america out of their country and to stop killing everyone, America's stranglehold on the UN. He spells out how America is so full of shit by the application of double standards, both philosophically and in the UN, where the rules don't apply to it. It's a pretty sad state of affairs really, when a person or entity is so full of shit as to pronounce vigorously one thing and then be doing the opposite thing in a closet somewhere. How long does anybody think that is going to last?

This is also interesting because the horrible things america was doing in the 80's is all being carried out by the same asswipes that are in charge of our current debacle, not that it should come as any surprise. Rumsfeld and Cheney, all your favorites! Enjoy.
Profile Image for C. Scott.
612 reviews11 followers
April 7, 2016
Absolutely terrifying. Chomsky's argument is that American hegemony is more important than the survival of the planet.

This is among the best Chomsky books I've ever read. Easy to grasp. Easy to follow along. Even though this book is more than 10 years old it's still completely relevant.

Maybe it's because I've been reading more about American imperialism - work by Andrew Bacevich and Michael Parenti - but I feel like I got a lot more out of this particular book than I have from Chomsky's other books.

It's amazing to me how deep Chomsky is able to get just by applying the simple idea that we should apply the same standards to ourselves that we apply to everyone else on earth. It's not a complicated notion.
Profile Image for Amanda L.
133 reviews39 followers
March 21, 2011
Chomsky, use your words. To be fair, I wasn't actually able to finish it (yet) but do intend to as it is a thesis demanding attention; however, I did get far enough to shake my judgmental fist. How can entire paragraphs--- let alone pages-- of text be comprised entirely of a string of isolated quotes by other sources with no context? It was like compilation essay(s) by an inexperienced schmuck of an undergrad lacking any semblance of an original thought in his head or influence--- not a renowned author/ orator and expert in the field.

To be continued....
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