‘Never Seen Anything Like This’ – Chomsky

 

By Chris Hedges / truthdig.com


 

Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite and the myths they perpetrate. Chomsky has done this despite being blacklisted by the commercial media, turned into a pariah by the academy and, by his own admission, being a pedantic and at times slightly boring speaker. He combines moral autonomy with rigorous scholarship, a remarkable grasp of detail and a searing intellect. He curtly dismisses our two-party system as a mirage orchestrated by the corporate state, excoriates the liberal intelligentsia for being fops and courtiers and describes the drivel of the commercial media as a form of “brainwashing.” And as our nation’s most prescient critic of unregulated capitalism, globalization and the poison of empire, he enters his 81st year warning us that we have little time left to save our anemic democracy.

“The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen,” Chomsky went on. “Every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response. What are people supposed to think if someone says ‘I have got an answer, we have an enemy’? There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation. Military force will be exalted. People will be beaten up. This could become an overwhelming force. And if it happens it will be more dangerous than Germany. The United States is the world power. Germany was powerful but had more powerful antagonists. I don’t think all this is very far away. If the polls are accurate it is not the Republicans but the right-wing Republicans, the crazed Republicans, who will sweep the next election.”

“I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime,” Chomsky added. “I am old enough to remember the 1930s. My whole family was unemployed. There were far more desperate conditions than today. But it was hopeful. People had hope. The CIO was organizing. No one wants to say it anymore but the Communist Party was the spearhead for labor and civil rights organizing. Even things like giving my unemployed seamstress aunt a week in the country. It was a life. There is nothing like that now. The mood of the country is frightening. The level of anger, frustration and hatred of institutions is not organized in a constructive way. It is going off into self-destructive fantasies.”

“I listen to talk radio,” Chomsky said. “I don’t want to hear Rush Limbaugh. I want to hear the people calling in. They are like [suicide pilot] Joe Stack. What is happening to me? I have done all the right things. I am a God-fearing Christian. I work hard for my family. I have a gun. I believe in the values of the country and my life is collapsing.”

Chomsky reserves his fiercest venom for the liberal elite in the press, the universities and the political system who serve as a smoke screen for the cruelty of unchecked capitalism and imperial war. He exposes their moral and intellectual posturing as a fraud. And this is why Chomsky is hated, and perhaps feared, more among liberal elites than among the right wing he also excoriates. When Christopher Hitchens decided to become a windup doll for the Bush administration after the attacks of 9/11, one of the first things he did was write a vicious article attacking Chomsky. Hitchens, unlike most of those he served, knew which intellectual in America mattered. [Editor’s note: To see some of the articles in the 2001 exchanges between Hitchens and Chomsky, click here, here, here and here.]

“I don’t bother writing about Fox News,” Chomsky said. “It is too easy. What I talk about are the liberal intellectuals, the ones who portray themselves and perceive themselves as challenging power, as courageous, as standing up for truth and justice. They are basically the guardians of the faith. They set the limits. They tell us how far we can go. They say, ‘Look how courageous I am.’ But do not go one millimeter beyond that. At least for the educated sectors, they are the most dangerous in supporting power.”

“Most intellectuals have a self-understanding of themselves as the conscience of humanity,” said the Middle East scholar Norman Finkelstein. “They revel in and admire someone like Vaclav Havel. Chomsky is contemptuous of Havel. Chomsky embraces the Julien Bendaview of the world. There are two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege it will always be at the expense of truth and justice. Benda says that the credo of any true intellectual has to be, as Christ said, ‘my kingdom is not of this world.’ Chomsky exposes the pretenses of those who claim to be the bearers of truth and justice. He shows that in fact these intellectuals are the bearers of power and privilege and all the evil that attends it.”

“I try to encourage people to think for themselves, to question standard assumptions,” Chomsky said when asked about his goals. “Don’t take assumptions for granted. Begin by taking a skeptical attitude toward anything that is conventional wisdom. Make it justify itself. It usually can’t. Be willing to ask questions about what is taken for granted. Try to think things through for yourself. There is plenty of information. You have got to learn how to judge, evaluate and compare it with other things. You have to take some things on trust or you can’t survive. But if there is something significant and important don’t take it on trust. As soon as you read anything that is anonymous you should immediately distrust it. If you read in the newspapers that Iran is defying the international community, ask who is the international community? India is opposed to sanctions. China is opposed to sanctions. Brazil is opposed to sanctions. The Non-Aligned Movement is vigorously opposed to sanctions and has been for years. Who is the international community? It is Washington and anyone who happens to agree with it. You can figure that out, but you have to do work. It is the same on issue after issue.”


Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning,What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.  His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

Question for EU – Is it time to leave NATO?

 

While NATO officials are preparing for a July summit in Warsaw, European social activists and prominent politicians have launched a new anti-NATO campaign, protesting against the bloc’s nuclear buildup and anti-Russia provocations, French journalist Karel Vereycken told Sputnik

 

“NATO and the EU are complementary, and we already work more closely together than ever before,” Stoltenberg told Poland.pl, adding that the two blocs conduct a coordinated policy to counter the Russian “threat.”

“The EU delivered economic sanctions, and NATO delivered the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War,” he emphasized.

However, it would be an exaggeration to say that the Europeans are unanimously welcoming the summit and its controversial and provocative agenda.


Let’s face it – as it is EU is serving more and more as some sort of the political wing of NATO and less and less as the factor of European cooperation on economical, political and social levels. Continuing with current trends will certainly bring both EU and NATO to a point of self-destruction – the only way for EU to reinvent itself and regain trust and support of people is to distance itself from NATO which is completely controlled by USA and their main henchman in Europe – UK. 
In my opinion the best solution would be – UK out of EU and EU out of NATO. And it seems that similar opinion is shared by a growing number of citizens of EU. 

Following the event announcement, European social activists and prominent politicians have drawn up a petition entitled “The Warsaw Summit Prepares for War, It’s Time to Leave NATO Now!”

“The upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8-9 is expected to be yet another provocation against Russia. By this call, we, the undersigned, want to say ‘stop’ to this nuclear escalation before the irreparable occurs!” the petition translated in German, Italian and French languages reads.

“We the undersigned see that NATO is carrying out a provocative policy of ‘encirclement’,” the authors of the petition continue, referring to the Alliance’s continuous expansion towards the Russian borders; the deployment of the Aegis anti-missile defense system in Romania, Poland, Turkey and Spain; NATO’s military buildup in the Baltic States, Poland and Romania; and the creation of a “Nordic Front” against Russia, comprised of Denmark, Iceland and Norway as well as of NATO partner states Sweden and Finland.

The petition has called attention to the fact that the modernization of nuclear weapons by the US and stationing new B61-12 guided nuclear bombs in Europe, poses a grave threat to the EU’s security, evoking disturbing memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

It urges European leaders to adopt a policy of the “empty chair” at the Warsaw NATO Summit of 2016 and to leave the Alliance, which no longer has any ‘raison d’être’ in order to put an end to this threat.

Europeans know that Russia does not pose any danger to the EU. Bruce Konviser of Deutsche Welle reported Thursday that ahead of the summit NATO “is struggling to assemble four battalions to safeguard its eastern flank from a possible Russian attack.”

“The US, Britain, and a reluctant Germany have each agreed to lead one multinational battalion. But so far NATO’s other major players, France and Italy are balking at leading the fourth battalion,” Konviser writes, adding that at the same time many Alliance’s member states are “falling short of their economic commitments” to NATO.

The Alliance has outlived itself, having lost its ‘raison d’être’ back in the 1990s, when its adversaries — the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact — ceased to exist.

Source: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160602/1040675105/leave-nato-europeans-petition.html


Apart from UK, the most aggressive supporters of increased NATO presence close to the Russian borders happen to be the most loyal allies of Nazi Germany in World War II. Coincidence? I don’t think so! Playing with the fires of war might get them and their masters from the other side of Atlantic Ocean to where Nazi Germany found itself in 1945. 

The Europeans have let themselves become drawn into an ‘insane march on Russia’ so that the US can satisfy its global interests, but this might lead to very catastrophic consequences.

“Kind of a mess” – USA foreign policy or/and Libya

 

Obama regrets counting on allies too much

 

USA President Obama (Mr. Nobel PEACE Prize Laureate) perfected several things – one of them is certainly pointing finger and shifting blame for his own mess to other countries and politicians. Another one is inventing irrelevant and artificial “issues” as his Toilets Crusade – President of (apparently exceptional) arguably most powerful country in the world making executive decision who is allowed to go to male or female compartments of public toilets all under cover of “protecting minority rights”. Yeah, sure! I will leave Obama’s “Toilet War” for some other time and concentrate on part of his foreign policies that look more like man-made disasters – Libya. In short, Obama is basically saying that he would do much better in Libya if he did not count on his allies (read – NATO). That alone is already progress as he did not blame usual suspect – Russia. He left blaming Russia for his failure in Syria of course. What would American “strategists” and numerous think-tanks do without Russia (and more and more China) these days? Apply for unemployment benefits maybe. 

The US should have not relied on other members of its anti-Gaddafi coalition in 2011 to ensure that Libya developed properly afterward, President Barack Obama said in an interview, adding: “Every day I make some mistake.” (and get away with it I would say) 

“In terms of foreign policy, I’ve said this before, we decided to go in as part of a broader coalition, into Libya, to make sure that this guy [Colonel Muammar] Gaddafi, who had been state-sponsoring terrorism, did not go in and start slaughtering his own people,” Obama told PBS NewsHour on Wednesday at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, Indiana. “We succeeded and saved tens of thousands of lives, but I did all too much counting on other countries to then stabilize and support the government formation [in Libya] and now it is a kind of a mess.”

For those less informed – USA has perfected unique technique of “saving tens of thousands of lives” by bombing various countries pretty much daily for several decades in different locations of Planet Earth – so far nobody got Nobel Prize for that invention and maybe we should start initiative for that to be corrected. 

“I have to tell you, every day, you know, I make some mistake.  Fortunately, most of them aren’t that big.  Sometimes, you just make, use, your best judgment because you’re working with probabilities.  You don’t know the perfect answer.  If something’s easy, it does not reach my desk,” he said.

I have a question: What is the definition of “big” mistake and how is that measured? What is the number of “collateral damage” that makes mistake “big” and what is acceptable and makes is “small”? Anyone with the answer – please let me know! I suppose that death of some 25,000 people (and still counting) is not big enough to be the “big” mistake. I suppose that is nothing compared to around 10 times more in Syria or 100 times more in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in good old days of “carpet bombing”. 

Libya’s popular uprising began on February 17, 2011, and resulted in the toppling of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.  The ensuing civil war and international intervention that followed resulted in the deaths of up to 25,000 people in Libya. Some 400,000 people have been displaced as a result of the intervention, according to UN estimates.

The country de-facto split into three territories, controlled by various tribal groups that are constantly warring with each other, providing Islamic State and other extremist groups with an opportunity to gain a foothold in the oil-rich nation.

Libya is certainly “kind of a mess” but so is USA foreign policy in Libya and in the rest of the world. When is any of the mainstream media going to notice that and state is publicly? Eh, we might be into pretty long wait here.