Noam Chomsky on Foreign Policy
In the Peruvian Andes, by 1941 the Inca had created the greatest empire in the world, greater in scale than the Chinese, Russian, Ottoman, or other empires, far greater than any European state, and with remarkable artistic, agricultural, and other achievements.
Also near-universal are the standard references to Hamas: a terrorist organization, dedicated to the destruction of Israel (or maybe all Jews). Hamas has called for a 2-state settlement in the terms of international consensus: publicly and repeatedly. Israel and the US object that the Hamas proposals do not go far enough. Perhaps so, but they go much farther toward the international consensus than the unwavering US-Israeli rejectionist stance.
Similarly, there are is no reason to doubt the sincerity of Japanese militarists who were bringing an "earthly paradise" to China under benign Japanese tutelage, as they carried out the rape of Nanking. History is replete with similar glorious episodes.
The occasional revelations of the "abuse of reality" can backfire, serving to efface terrible crimes. The My Lai massacre is an example. Historical amnesia is a dangerous phenomenon, not only because it undermines moral & intellectual integrity, but also because it lays the groundwork for crimes that lie ahead
Still more uncomfortable for Washington is the fact that "the Sino-Saudi relationship has developed dramatically," including Chinese military aid to Saudi Arabia and gas exploration rights for China. By 2005, Saudi Arabia provided about 17% of China's oil imports. Chinese and Saudi companies have signed deals for drilling and construction of a huge refinery (with Exxon Mobil as a partner).
Iran could "emerge, over the next decade or so, as the linchpin of what China and Russia regard as an indispensable Asian Energy Security Grid, for breaking Western control of the world's energy supplies and securing the great industrial revolution of Asia." South Korea and Southeast Asian countries are likely to join, possibly Japan as well.
In 1986, the court found in Nicaragua’s favor, condemning Washington for “unlawful use of force.” The court also defined “humanitarian aid” explicitly, ruling all aid to the Nicaraguan contras strictly military, and hence illegal.
The decision had little detectable effect. The World Court was condemned as a “hostile forum”, and therefore irrelevant, like the UN. Others claimed the court had “close ties to the Soviet Union,” a claim not worthy of refutation. Congress responded with an additional $100 million in “humanitarian” aid.
Perhaps such memories help account for the low level of international support, especially from Latin America, for the US bombing of Afghanistan.
Israel also has a close military alliance with the other major regional military power, Turkey. The US-Israel-Turkey alliance is sometimes called “the Axis of Evil” in the Middle East. The term is understandable. There is always plenty of evil to go around, and this axis at least has the merit of existing, unlike the one concocted by George Bush’s speechwriters, which consists of two states that had been at war for 20 years and a third thrown in because it is non-Muslim and universally reviled. The US-Turkey alliance might undergo some changes if the US is able to shift military bases from eastern Turkey to Iraq.
The Court was denounced on all sides for having discredited itself. The terms of the judgment were not considered fit to print, and were ignored. The Democrat-controlled Congress immediately authorized new funds to step up the unlawful use f force. Washington vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on all states to respect international law--not mentioning anyone, though the intent was clear.
In Dec. 1975, the UN Security Council unanimously ordered Indonesia to withdraw its invading forces from East Timor “without delay” and called upon “all States to respect the territorial integrity of East Timor as well as the inalienable rights of its people to self-determination.” The US responded by (secretly) increasing shipments of arms to the aggressors.
The US also happily accepts the robbery of East Timor’s oil (with participation of a US company), in violation of any reasonable interpretation of international agreements.
The effect of the Cuban embargo, the standard line here, which was repeated by former President Carter a couple of weeks ago, is that the embargo helps Castro and, of course, doesn't harm the Cubans. The only people who are harmed by it are the North Americans like farmers and agro-business who want to export there, but it has no effect on Cuba except to help Castro.
A detailed study in March 1997 concluded that the embargo had dramatically harmed health and nutrition in Cuba, and caused a significant rise in suffering and death. It would have been a humanitarian catastrophe, they said, which is quite astonishing, though it did direct resources in the health system away from other needs, with the obvious consequences.
That effort was stopped by the embargo. It blocked half a billion dollars' worth of aid that was coming from the IADB and other sources, and it terminated the projects and, of course, exacerbated the already horrendous conditions. The only help they're getting is from Cuba.
Haiti, incidentally, is paying interest on the loans that are blocked and that it isn't receiving, just to add to the catastrophe. So that's the 2nd embargo. This is also being imposed because of our love of democracy, as Powell and others have explained
A: To quote the lead analysis in the "New York Times" (September 16): "the perpetrators acted out of hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage." US actions are irrelevant, and therefore need not even be mentioned. This is a comforting picture; it happens to be completely at variance with everything we know, but has all the merits of self-adulation and uncritical support for power. And it has the flaw that adopting it contributes significantly to the likelihood of further atrocities, including atrocities directed against us, perhaps even more horrendous ones than those of 9-11.
As for the bin Laden network, they tell us what their concerns are loud and clear: they are fighting a Holy War against the corrupt, repressive, and "un-Islamist" regimes of the region.
A: When countries are attacked they try to defend themselves if they can. According to the doctrine proposed, Nicaragua, South Vietnam, Cuba, and numerous others should have been setting off bombs in Washington and other US cities. It is because such doctrines had brought Europe to virtual self-annihilation after hundreds of years of savagery that the nations of the world forged a different compact after WWII, establishing--at least formally--the principle that the resort to force is barred except in the case of self-defense against armed attack until the Security Council acts to protect international peace and security. Specifically, retaliation is barred. Since the US is not under armed attack, in the sense of Article 51 of the UN Charter--if we agree that the fundamental principles of international law should apply to ourselves, not only to those we dislike.
A: I find the question baffling. As I've said elsewhere, the US is, after all, the only country condemned by the World Court for international terrorism--for "the unlawful use of force" for political ends, as the Court put it--ordering the US to terminate these crimes and pay substantial reparations. The US of course dismissed the Court's judgment with contempt, reacting by escalating the terrorist war against Nicaragua and vetoing a Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international law. The terrorist war expanded in accordance with the official policy of attacking "soft targets"-- undefended civilian targets, like agricultural collections, thanks to the complete control of Nicaraguan air space by the US and the advanced communications equipment provided to them by their supervisors.
Haiti has been largely under US control and tutelage since the Marines first invaded 80 years ago. By now the country is such a catastrophe that it may be scarcely habitable in the not-too-distant future. In 1981, a USAID-World Bank development strategy was initiated, based on assembly plants and agroexport, shifting land from food for local consumption. The consequences were the usual ones: profits for US manufacturers and the Haitian super-rich, and a decline of 56% in Haitian wages through the 1980s. It was the efforts of Haiti’s first democratic government to alleviate the growing disaster that called forth Washington’s hostility and the military coup and terror that followed.
While the Clinton administration promises to “liberate” the suffering Cuban people, a more plausible conclusion is more the reverse: the “American economic strangulation of Cuba” has been designed and maintained [to hide] the successes of Castro’s programs to improve health & living standards [which would] spread “the Castro idea of taking matters into one’s own hands.” To evaluate the claim that US policies flow from concern for human rights & democracy, the briefest look at the record is more than sufficient.
The “functions” of Latin America were clarified at a hemispheric conference in February 1945, where the State Department warned that Latin Americans prefer “policies designed to bring about the broader distribution of wealth and to raise the standard of living of the masses.” These ideas are unacceptable: the first beneficiaries of a country’s resources are IUS investors, while Latin America fulfills its service function without unreasonable concerns about general welfare that might infringe on US interests.
On the second question: How did Europe and those who escaped its control succeed in developing? By radically violating approved free market doctrine. That conclusion holds from England to the East Asian growth area today, surely including the US, the leader in protectionism from its origins.
The agro-export model produces an “economic miracle” where GNP goes up while the population starves. Popular opposition develops, which you then suppress with torture.
The planners’ basic goals, repeated over and over again, were to prevent such “ultranationalist” regimes from taking power-or if they did take power, to remove them and install governments that favor private investment of domestic and foreign capital, production for export and the right to bring profits out of the country.
The US has been willing to tolerate social reform only when the rights of labor are suppressed and the climate for foreign investment is preserved. We’ve consistently opposed democracy if its results cannot be controlled. The problem with real democracies is that they’re likely to fall prey to the heresy that governments should respond to the needs of the people instead of those of US investers.
There used to be a colonial relationship between Western and Eastern Europe. Now, there’s a serious conflict over who’s going to win the race for robbery and exploitation. Is it going to be German-led Western Europe or Japan? There are a lot of resources to be taken and lots of cheap labor. But first we have to impose the capitalist model on them. We don’t accept it for ourselves-but for the Third World, we insist on it. If we can get them to accept that, they’ll be easily exploitable and will move toward a new role as a Brazil or Mexico.
Source: What Uncle Sam Really Wants, by Noam Chomsky, p. 71-72 , Jan 13, 1991
Diplomacy is a particularly unwelcome option. The US has very little popular support for its goals in the Third World. This isn’t surprising, since it’s trying to impose structure of domination and exploitation. A diplomatic settlement is bound to respond to the interests of the other participants, and that’s a problem when your positions aren’t popular.
Negotiations are something the US commonly tries to avoid. That has been true in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Central America.
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George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)