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27 August 2008

Noam Chomsky Lectures on Modern-Day American Imperialism: Middle East and Beyond, Boston University Law School, April 2008

Click above; video is unembeddable. Some of the documents mentioned:

  • PPS/23 (Report of the Policy Planning Staff dated 2/24/48, by George Kennan: "Review of Current Trends[:] US Foreign Policy"). Note the critique of Chomsky's use of the document, and his responses to the critique -- and then read it and make up your own mind.
  • NSC 68 (National Security Council report dated 4/15/50, by Paul Nitze and others: "United States Objectives and Programs for National Security").
Blurbage:

Noam Chomsky, an emeritus professor of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a well-known political activist critical of U.S. foreign policy, traces modern-day American imperialism to its earliest roots, 25 years before the American Revolution. If it weren’t for British forces preventing America’s expansion, claims Chomsky, Canada wouldn’t exist today.

Chomsky says the current war in Iraq can be traced back to the U.S. invasion of Florida during Andrew Jackson’s administration, which was an “executive war in violation of the constitution, a precedent that has been followed ever since.”

He compares the United States to a Mafia “godfather,” crushing third world countries like disobedient shop owners who don’t pay their protection money so others will get the point. The United States, he says, has a reputation as “the most frightening and dangerous country in the world.”

Chomsky claims that those in power in Washington, in London, in editorial offices, and in universities are defying the world — the majority of the world’s people, including most of the U.S. population, are against the war in Iraq, agree with the Group of 77 at the United Nations, which approves of Iran’s right to enrich uranium for nuclear power, and support the rights of Palestinian peasants who were removed from their land by Israel.

But there is hope, and according to Chomsky, it lies with South America — whose countries are banding together to work against the oppressive forces of the United States by weakening the presence of American military and strengthening their own economies. The failed attempt of the United States to overturn the results of the recent democratic election in Bolivia, he says, is one example of this glimmer of hope.


April 24, 2008, 6 p.m.
School of Law Auditorium


Video length is 02:00:00.


About the speaker:
Noam Chomsky earned a Ph.D. in linguistics in 1955 at the University of Pennsylvania and came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology the same year. In 1961 he was appointed a full professor in the department of linguistics and philosophy and in 1976 an Institute Professor.

Chomsky has received honorary degrees from more than two dozen universities around the world. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Science, a Foreign Member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and a member of several other professional and learned societies in the United States and abroad. He has received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal, the Dorothy Eldridge Peacemaker Award, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science, the Adela Dwyer/St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award, and others.

He has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs, and U.S. foreign policy.

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