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Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy Paperback – Bargain Price, April 3, 2007

4 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Forget Iraq and Sudan--America is the foremost failed state, argues the latest polemic from America's most controversial Left intellectual. Chomsky (Imperial Ambitions) contends the U.S. government wallows in lawless military aggression (the Iraq war is merely the latest example); ignores public opinion on everything from global warming to social spending and foreign policy; and jeopardizes domestic security by under-funding homeland defense in favor of tax cuts for the rich and by provoking hatred and instability abroad that may lead to terrorist blowback or nuclear conflict. Ranging haphazardly from the Seminole War forward, Chomsky's jeremiad views American interventionism as a pageant of imperialist power-plays motivated by crass business interests. Disdaining euphemisms, he denounces American "terror" and "war crimes," castigates the public-bamboozling "government-media propaganda campaign" and floats comparisons to Mongols and Nazis. Chomsky's fans will love it, but even mainstream critics are catching up to the substance of his take on Bush Administration policies; meanwhile his uncompromising moral sensibility, icy logic and withering sarcasm remain in a class by themselves. Required reading for every thoughtful citizen.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Chomsky is a global phenomenon . . . perhaps the most widely read voice on
foreign policy on the planet.”—The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; 1st edition (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805082840
  • ASIN: B005K5EGF0
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,169,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. A member of the American Academy of Science, he has published widely in both linguistics and current affairs. His books include At War with Asia, Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle: The U. S., Israel and the Palestinians, Necessary Illusions, Hegemony or Survival, Deterring Democracy, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy and Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This first part is not a review of the book, but more a diatribe over something that bothers me about some of the reviews I have read on Amazon. I will give a brief review of my own afterwards.

I have read so many one and two star reviews of Chomsky's works that have absolutely nothing to do with the actual book being reviewed that it begs the question of whether or not the reviewer even read the book. Here is an example of this taken from a review by Mark bennet for this book, "[Chomsky] takes almost 700 pages to say close to nothing of use." Now, for me 320 pages do not qualify as "almost 700 pages". Seems like the kind of mistake made by someone unfamiliar with the actual work.

Another reads, "Chomsky and his ilk lick at the midsection of any machete wielding psycho with sufficient anti-American credentials." Wow, a very scathing dissection of the themes and conclusions of Chomsky's works from this reviewer. How could Chomsky write again after being discredited to this extent?

I could go and write reviews for books I have not read by Ann Coulter's or Sean Hannity's books that would even be more cogent than this slander, but I don't because that is intellectually dishonest. If I am going to review a book I will make sure to read it first. It's only common courtesy that every book reviewed should be read first, and I hope this practice becomes more common.

I apologize if I have simply wasted space here. Now for some brief thoughts of my own about this book.

I was skeptical coming into this book, but found the themes to be enlightening if not a little disconcerting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Within the 900+ non-fiction books about information, intelligence, emerging threats, and national security that I have reviewed for Amazon, I count many of Noam Chomsky's books. As with others, there is some repetition here, and he could have done a better job of reviewing the function and purpose of the state before labeling the U.S. a failed state. I will say, before my concluding comment, that all of my reading bears out Chomsky's inherent correctness.

Among the points that earned a note on my flyleaf:

* US began with the genocide of the Indians, moved on to slavery, and now condones genocide across Africa and elsewhere.

* Quotes CIA Bin Laden analyst with appreciation in noting that all the US has to do to stop the problems in the Middle East is wean itself from dictators and cheap oil, remove its forces from the Muslim lands, and stop predatory capitalism. Hmmmm. There just might be a moral point in there someplace!

* Chomsky asserts that history documents that preventive wars usually bring about the outcomes they ostensibly seek to stop, and does very very well in detailing how the US invasion allowed hundreds of missile and weapons sites to be looted, moving many of the components of weapons of mass destruction into unfriendly insurgent hands--precisely what we allegedly sought to prevent.

* The author recounts the varied facts that have emerged on how the US specifically sought regime change, the British (at least those with integrity like the Foreign Minister who quit) refused to go along with that, so Blair and Bush together concocted pretexts.

* Chomsky confirms in this book what I have seen myself, which is that the only part of the US Government that is "at war" is the U.S. Army and select portions of the U.S.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most people who see the danger and evil of the course that the United States has taken under Bush II imagine that it is an anomaly in United States history. With brutal efficiency and undeniable facts and logic, Chomsky's latest book destroys that illusion, and by so doing snuffs out the last faint glimmerings of hope that the trend might be easily reversed. It is concentrated reality in a single dimension. Don't read it if you are unwilling to have your world view changed.

If you are like me you will find Chomsky's message difficult to accept emotionally, but impossible to deny intellectually.
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Format: Hardcover
In this brilliant new book, Chomsky examines the US state and its credentials as a democracy. He concludes that it abuses its power and assaults democracy at home and abroad. He shows how it regards itself as `beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and hence free to carry out aggression and violence'.

He looks at `the increasing threat of destruction caused by US state power', when it opposes a Palestinian state, supports Israel's illegal occupation and settlements, illegally attacks Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, and threatens Iran and the DPRK.

The US state asserts that it alone has the right to attack whoever it wants. In response, the UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change concluded in 2004, "the risk to the global order and the norm of nonintervention on which it continues to be based is simply too great for the legality of unilateral preventive action, as distinct from collectively endorsed action, to be accepted."

The US state also insists that it alone has the right to develop nuclear weapons. So in November 2004, it cast the sole vote against the proposed Fission Material Cutoff Treaty. 147 states voted for it and two abstained, Israel and Britain. Blair's representative ludicrously claimed that the resolution "divided the international community at a time when progress should be a prime objective."

Chomsky quotes some surprising people who recognise that other nations have the right to develop nuclear power and nuclear deterrents. Henry Kissinger, when his friend the Shah was misruling Iran, said, the "introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran's economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals.
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