Chomsky helps us understand the world
Hegemony or Survival:
By Noam Chomsky
Allen & Unwin, 2003
From Green Left Weekly, March 10, 2004.
I am lucky enough to have met Noam Chomsky when he was in
In Hegemony or Survival, Chomsky takes apart the
Chomsky makes the choice clear to us: do we want live under the insane decisions of a powerful elite concerned with maintaining its own power? Or do we have a liveable earth and survive? Chomsky points out that there are two world superpowers, the
Chomsky also makes the case for the
Chomsky details how the US public were conned by Bush and his clique in Washington, and the
Chomsky’s tenacious research skills, and analysis of the words of corporate and imperial elites, are a hallmark of his scholarship demonstrated throughout the book.
Chomsky writes, “Some puzzled notice has been taken of the change in US policy with regard to post-war
Chomsky always includes detailed notes to his essays. For this book, he has expanded endnotes on the internet at
We landed in Timor and they certainly weren't white and certainly weren't Christian, but it didn't take that long to learn they had more humanity in their little fingers than we did in our whole bodies.
Cliff Morris, Australian Imperial Force,
I submit that it is high time that the question of
Gough Whitlam, former Australian Prime Minister 1972‑75, with a private petition to UN in 1982.
Noam Chomsky’s Australian Visit for
Noam Chomsky's press conference in
Noam Chomsky: The floor is yours.
Togs: I’ve got a question about the history of
Noam: We are going to be seeing an orgy of hypocrisy this year as the whole history of the Pacific War is completely rewritten and reshaped to fit later needs. It's fair to predict you're not going to read much this year about what United States-Japanese relations actually were up until
I'd be interested to see how much is publicised about
This went on almost up to
It was an attack by the Japanese on two military bases in colonies the US had recently stolen from their inhabitants, in the case of the Philippines in extraordinarily brutal fashion, killing hundreds of thousands people; in the case of Hawaii just by deceit and power play.
Attacks on military bases in colonies that have been stolen from their inhabitants doubtless are crimes, but in the annals of crime in this century, they don't rank very high.
Nor will you hear a lot about the decision of the British in 1932 to close off the empire, which included
Japan's crimes, which were vicious, didn't arouse much opposition in the West. The same was true in
The British were even worse. Lord Halifax went to
With regard to
The official Australian estimate is around 40,000 killed. Jim Dunn has looked into this intensively and estimates about 60,000 Timorese killed.
Most of them were killed after the Australians withdrew in 1943. At that point the Japanese really went wild and attacked what they called collaborators with the Australians, certainly tens of thousands of Timorese. You can decide how much that means to Australians. I would think it would mean something, and paying back this debt by supporting the Indonesian invasion is not one of the prettiest parts of modern history.
Question: Professor Chomsky what would you like
Noam: Well, start with narrow things. The narrowest thing it ought to is rescind this grotesque decision to sell rifles to
The next thing I think
Part of the original Australian reason for supporting the invasion, which was explained by ambassador Woolcott in a later leaked secret cable, was that you could probably make a better deal robbing Timorese of their oil with
Even the wording of the treaty is extremely offensive. It's as if
It seems to me
Question: What are your views on
In Bougainville there's another major atrocity going on in which
This is incidentally going on all over the region.
Question: What would you like
Start with narrow things. The narrowest thing it ought to do is rescind this grotesque decision to sell rifles to
Question: The argument's been if we don't sell them [
Noam: There's proof of it: when the
They'll happily sell arms to anybody. They moved in on a massive scale.
These things are largely symbolic. The fact that the
Question: The Wall Street Journal has come out in an editorial saying
Noam: The idea that one should oppose murder and aggression is not a radical position. As far as the mass media are concerned I think it illustrates the thing I've often said. The news part of the Wall Street Journal is some of the best news coverage in the world. The reason is one that I've talked about. Their constituency is people who matter. That's the business community, and the business community has to have a fairly realistic picture of what is happening in the world; otherwise they're in trouble.
So the news coverage in the WSJ and in the Financial Times often tends to be the best. The editorial stance of the WSJ is jingoist fanaticism; I usually read it for comic effect. That editorial stance of the WSJ in this I think reflects an opinion of corporate
The opinion of corporate
There is enough popular protest so they just don't want to be bothered. It's gravel in their shoes too. And their advice to
Question: What do you think of the democratic movement in
In the case of
But it is gradually seeping through, partly because the soldiers are coming back, families know somebody was killed, things drift out. There are some very courageous people -- George Aditjondro is the most well known -- who have been working on this for years and have been outspoken. It's not easy to be outspoken in
Several of the Indonesian student associations have come out with quite strong statements calling for
When people talk about supporting
You may have seen a letter that Jill Joliffe had in one of the Australian newspapers recently. She's an Australian journalist, who was recently expelled from
Question: Considering the large amounts of money that goes to the military obviously to help the situation in East Timor, do you think it is appropriate that countries like Australia and the US and the multilateral agency to put so much development money into Indonesia and also could you comment on your earlier remark that US aid is correlated with torture?
Noam: Well, I’ll start with the later if you like. There are some studies of this if you want to check. On Latin America, there is a study by the leading academic scholar on human rights in
He discovered what everyone should have known, that it was highly correlated with torture. As he put it, the more a country tortures its citzens greater the violation of human rights, the higher will be
Independent of need, it wasn’t that countries that torture are more needy. It went right through the Carter years. In the Reagan years it is not worth undertaking a study. It is kind of like showing that Stalin wasn’t democratic.
There is a broader study by a colleague of mine, Edward Herman, who is an economist with him I’ve written a lot. He did a global study in which he essentially the same correlation. We have it in a joint book. He actually did a more interesting study which explains what’s going on. It’s not that the United States like torture, they don’t care one way or another about torture. What he showed is
Improvements in the investment climate are measured by things like, the ability to repatriate profits, ease of access to resources, all sorts ot things and that is what really correlates with aid. Well, it happens that there is a correlation with improvement in the investment climate and torture. The best way to improve investment climate is to murder labour leaders, torture priests and that sort of thing. That sort of thing improves investment climate. So there is a secondary correlation between aid and torture, only it is not they like torture, it is essentially that torture is irrelevant. What they like is power and profit. One of the techniques of getting power and profit is torture, so aid correlates with torture and that is very standard and goes right up to the present. The leading recipient of
Just to give one example. So naturally they get most of the aid because the aid is military aid.
Now for going back to your first question the development aid for