116 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2003
During the 1990s, quite a few Chomsky books were compilations of previously-published material. He built books out of transcripts of talks, long interviews, and articles from Z magazine. Those books are all very good, but many of them had a scattered feel to them. In "Hegemony or Survival," he returns to the days when he sits at the typewriter and pounds out a new book.
This time, Chomsky sums up over 30 years of research on US foreign policy. He uses the current war in Iraq and the history of our policy toward Cuba as his key cases. That's not to say he leaves out other countries. In fact, this book mentions one country after another in which the US government worked hard to overthrow democracy abroad while covering it up at home. But, by putting emphasis on Cuba and Iraq, Chomsky shows the consistency of US policy --- the methods, the tactics, the justifications, and the effects.
It's the wide range of information that makes the book so convincing. Chomsky doesn't write opinion pieces. He presents you with a flood of facts, fully documented, and allows those facts to convince you. As you read, you'll say "Wow. Is that really true?" and flip to the footnotes. You'll find credible sources every time. You'll shake your head, wondering how you could have missed such important information. At some point, you end up reading with a finger wedged in the footnote section, flipping back and forth and making mental notes to double-check some of those sources later.
If you haven't read Chomsky before, start with one of the better interview books such as "Understanding Power" and "Chronicles of Dissent." Then read this one. If you want to understand "Why do they hate us?" (and why that isn't even the right question to ask), Chomsky has the answers.
100 of 111 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2006
...about what our government has brazenly done in our name, without ever actually consulting with us or getting our consent based on the facts. I just finished reading this the day this became so talked about because of Chavez. I couldn't believe it. I don't care how this gets popular but it has to become generally understood: we are largely unwitting dupes of an agenda that is so cynically anti-human, anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic and anti-american (in the real sense of that buzzword)that I am filled with shame for what we stand for in the world (from THEIR point of view, not what we like to think).
But don't take my word for it (as Chomsky would say), learn the facts for yourself as he did: by going to the declassified original documents and little known articles. Chomsky is nothing if not a thorough and responsible academic mind who starts all his research with a healthy scepticism.
Yes he has a point of view and a philosophy, like everyone else. He is not some cookie cutter leftist, though, or radical extremist who enjoys finding critical things to say about his homeland. He just wants, as many naturally do, to have a society in which all people have the opportunity for living informed, creative lives with a big say in how government is run and organized.
He does an excellent job outlining the big and largely invisible agenda that actually manipulates our consent on things we would never agree to had we known the facts. The rise of multinational corporations to hegemonic power and the rich elites that both serve and comprise them, are the elephants in the room we can feel but dare not discuss or describe. If you think we live in a democracy, you are blind.
These are big statements. Please read this for yourself and see if alot of apparently unrelated things start making sense. It's not a conspiracy of a few "number ones"; more insidiously, it is a culture of dogged pursuit of wealth and self-aggrandizement for the few at the expense of everyone else. It is the world's biggest pyriamid scheme and we are all watching the house of cards before the fall. Time to change. Time to take responsibility rather than blaming others. This is a work of insightful courage.
815 of 960 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2004
I shall not repeat what several other reviewers have said, but here is a personal reactive view.
I have read a fair amount of modern history, and was only vaguely aware (like most Americans) of the many of Chomsky's facts and assertions. Some were so startling that I felt I needed to verify. After researching four and finding them unassailable, I stopped trying to fault the facts. The indictment of US foreign policy that Chomsky devolves from these facts is at such variance with our view of ourselves that one is inclined to look for an explanation. If the facts are not false, then perhaps the interpretation is the problem, so I examined the logic by re-reading the book with careful attention to the relationship between facts and conclusion. There are weaknesses in some places where an argument depends on "respected commentator" or some other unsupported assertion. However, even if one throws out all of the marginal cases, he is still left with a great deal for which to account--a paradigm changer for the honest and open minded, and something to be reviled and suppressed for those determined to believe that Americans are the good guys who go around the world altruistically stamping out evil.
Chomsky stops short of a monolithic conspiracy theory, but the pattern of behavior of the US over the last 60 years that is painted by this book is remarkably consistent and disturbing.
115 of 132 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2003
Noam Chomsky has done it again. With his latest book, "Hegemony or Survival, America's Quest for Global Dominance," Chomsky presents a thorough, meticulously-researched indictment of prevailing American foreign policy - a policy which, as Chomsky correctly observes, is sure to lead to disaster for not only the United States, but ultimately, the entire world. Chomsky vividly illustrates the great alarm that is now pervasive even among the American foreign policy establishment as it struggles to come to terms with an administration that has so recklessly endangered American national security through its single-minded focus on securing a global "Pax Americana." As far-fetched as these claims may sound to many, Chomsky's documentation is irrefutable, and his research impeccable. Chomsky provides an even-headed critique of our current course through a rational examination of the frightening consequences that are sure to follow.
While his detractors are sure to resort to their usual accusations of virulent, knee-jerk anti-Americanism, asking any of them to substantiate their utterly baseless (and woefully ignorant) allegations through actually refuting the vast amounts of factual evidence Chomsky cites in his endnotes will prove to be nothing more than an exercise in futility - Chomsky's analysis is formidable, and it rests on a remarkable synthesis of practically-undeniable evidence.
I'd recomend this book highly for anyone seeking to put the policies of the second Bush administration into a more fitting historical context. It is only through analyzing our current course in a post-September 11th world through this wider historical context that we find ourselves properly equipped to dissect the mindset of the current administration's foreign policy apparatus and the inevitable implications of its unabashed quest for global domination.
125 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2003
To read Chomsky's HEGEMONY OR SURVIVAL is to visit a world turned upside down. A world where the characterization by U.S. elites of the 90s as the "decade of humanitarian intervention" is sharply questioned, it's also a place where interventions in the name of the "war on terror" are shown to be just the latest manifestations of an expansionist U.S. administration determined to hold onto long-range strategic imperatives, to disable rival systems and people that threaten its imperial objectives, and to strictly enforce its true animating principle -- the pro-market, anti-human ethos of the neo-liberal economic system. In other words, it's not the fumigated middle-school version of US foreign policy offered to Americans on TV
Readers accustomed to the usual sycophantic justifications of U.S. foreign and policy may have a difficult time with Chomsky's remapping of recent political history. Those on the right will reject it as a Chomskyite confabulation. Moderates will wonder why he seems to hate America so much. Those on the left will be upset that the policies of Democrats are seen as little different from that of Republicans. Chomsky sees the two parties as nearly indistinguishable, calling them the two "business parties, one slightly less reactionary than the other." And here's Chomsky quoting Dewey on the narrow U.S. political spectrum.: "...John Dewey scarcely exaggerated when he described politics as 'the shadow cast on society by big business.'
One of his main themes is that the United States, like its imperial predecessor, Great Britain, employs an idealizing and utopian language (the language of democracy and freedom) to justify its opposition to and extirpation of any countervailing force, even those founded upon the democratic or populist impulse, e.g., Nicaragua, Guatemala. This is not, of course, an insight original to Chomsky. But what is so disorienting and unique about Chomsky's renarration of recent events is that he is exquisitely alive to the efforts of those in power to efface the historical record, to enforce forgetfulness and unknowing through a steady diet of fear and triumphalist propaganda. Reinscribing history, he quotes mainstream sources, official records, military and diplomatic experts, many of whom are unsympathetic to his point of view, and builds a compelling case to support his thesis that even the "exceptional" United States unexceptionally behaves like powerful states typically do: enhancing their power through violence, and legitimizing their policies through whatever discourses are available. And while its not original to Chomsky that absolute power corrupts absolutely, what is fine and bracing is the way he marshals legions of facts to show how those in power, unchecked in our "open society," move to stifle or subvert the will of its citizens in favor of the money power it truly serves.
One of the more memorable examples he cites in making this case is the special wrath of the present administration for "Old Europe" when it failed to march in lockstep into the war in Iraq. Chomsky notes that, in fact, the leaders of France and Germany by refusing to along were giving voice to and representing their citizens, great majorities of whom were against the war. He notes that the citizens of "New Europe" were even more opposed to the war than citizens of "Old Europe," and futher, notes that public opinion polls in South America showed more opposition than "Old Europe," too.
Chomsky does not simply offer a counternarrative of facts in his recovery of the historical record. He offers insightful interpretations of facts to attack that seemingly endless supply of elite apologists who offered cool intellectual frameworks for deciding whether the war in Iraq was "just or unjust," reminding us that their bloodless formulas fail to take into account the experience of people in the "New Europe" and South America who lived through other "just wars" and the installation of "democracy." He suggests that citizens of South America, are just a tad more gun shy than most of "Old Europe" after having experienced liberation at the hands of the United States in the form of secret terroristic training of death squads and the support of military dictators and anti-Castro insurgents during the Kennedy and subsequent administrations. And the citizens of Eastern Europe, having experienced the creative destruction of the free-market system under the Reagan-Bush I and Clinton regimes -- an exercise in freedom which has pauperized them and made them dependent upon the goodwill and largesse of the international bankers -- have seen first hand the discrepancy between the liberatory promise of Western democracy and reality of the neo-liberal economic system, a system which has served to mightily prosper the upper echelons of the ruling class
Chomsky does make the case he begins with: that humanity is now situated at the brink of biological destruction, and the survival of the species depends upon worldwide resistance to the U.S. regime. Concentrating on the murderous antics of nation states and their elites, he shows how the U.S. is creating enemies around the world, enemies who, through the example of North Korea, have come to see that states with nuclear weapons need not fear US invasion. He shows how our policies conjure new and more powerful enemies out of the ground, enemies who will perhaps help us achieve the nuclear Armageddon our leaders appear to so badly want for us.
Here's Chomsky at his best on the neo-liberal agenda: "We are instructed daily to be firm believers in neoclassical markets, in which isolated individuals are rational wealth maximizers. If distortions are eliminated, the market should respond perfectly to their 'votes,' expressed in dollars or some counterpart. The value of a person's interests is measured in the same way. In particular, the interests of those with no votes are valued at zero: future generations, for example. It is therefore rational to destroy the possiblity for decent survival for our grandchildren, if by so doing we can maximize our own 'wealth' -- which means a particular perception of self-interest constructed by vast industries devoted to implanting and reinforcing it.'
50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2006
Noam Chomsky's latest book, "Hegemony or Survival," presents a view of American foreign policy, which lies in stark contrast to that depicted by corporate media, popular pundits, and US heads of state. With the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has emerged as the preeminent superpower of the world and Chomsky dissects with meticulous research how the United States has chosen to leverage that position to pursue an "imperial grand strategy", which will ensure itself "unilateral world domination through absolute military superiority".
What sets Chomsky's work apart from so many others who write social and political theory today is that he is equally critical of the Democratic party as he is of the Republican party. Chomsky's theory portrays America's foreign policy as being consistent across partisan lines. Democrats and Republicans for that matter appear more as two wings of a capitalist, imperialist party than the two vastly different political ideologies that are presented in the popular media.
The real meat of Chomsky's work lies in the analysis produced from a re-examination of history. By examining key moments in America's history, Chomsky is able to elicit a more consistent and plausible set of motives for US foreign policy actions rather than the hyperbolic calls for democracy and totalitarian regime change that we have become so accustomed to hearing.
Questions immediately begin to rise to the surface while Chomsky exhumes the historical record and aligns it back into context. Was the United States really concerned with democracy when it supported a viscous proxy war in Nicaragua, even though their government had been democratically elected? Is the United States government hypocritical when it condemns state sponsored terrorism when it sponsored terrorism itself against such countries as Cuba and Nicaragua. And, how does the United States rationalize the School of the Americas, which has long been understood as a training ground for Latin American neo-fascist terrorists? Is the United States truly interested in peace in the Middle East when it denies the "Saudi Plan" set forth in early 2002, which would offer "full recognition and integration [of Israel] into the region in exchange for withdrawal to the 1967 borders?" Why did we go to war with Iraq when no imminent threat of WMD's could be found, no connection to Al Qaida could be proven, and multiple studies were produced by leading agencies suggesting that invading Iraq would only decrease domestic security?
The answers for Chomsky are surprisingly consistent with what he feels are a foreign policy guided by imperial global expansion and military dominance. Countries must be aligned with US interest in order to ensure capital penetration and corporate and military hegemony. If a country does not choose to align, then it will wind up a target of US backed aggression, or branded a terrorist state. In 1965,Indonesia expressed its intention to elder statesman Ellsworth Bunker that they wished to "'stand on their own two feet in developing their economy, free from foreign, especially Western influence'. A National Intelligence Estimate in September 1965 warned that if the efforts of the mass-based PKI 'to energize and unite the Indonesian nation ... succeeded, Indonesia would provide a powerful example for the underdeveloped world and hence a credit to communism and a setback for Western prestige." A US backed coup ensued, killing close to 1,000,000 people, and installed the brutal dictator General Suharto. This is the cost, Chomsky highlights, of not aligning with the "master" state.
If a country does choose to align, as is the case with countries like Israel and Turkey, they become client states and are protected under the aegis of the American military, and given monetary and military aid. Although Turkey is run by an iron fisted dictator with an abysmal human rights record, the US government makes concessions for Turkey's actions, as it is a client state and performs a strategic role in the interest of the American government.This notion of the client state is why popular solutions to the Middle East crisis like the "Saudi Plan" are not accepted.
Chomsky concludes by discerning "two trajectories in current history: one aiming toward hegemony, acting rationally within a lunatic doctrinal framework as it threatens survival; the other dedicated to the belief that 'another world is possible', in the words that animate the World Social Forum, challenging the reigning ideological system and seeking to create constructive alternatives of thought action and institutions." Chomsky does not foresee which trajectory will dominate, but feels strongly that because we live in a critical moment in US history, the course we choose is crucial as it is the survival of our own race that is at stake.
959 of 1,165 people found the following review helpful
Edit of 21 Dec 07 to restate importance of this work and add links.
UPDATED to comment on Hugo Chavez at UN.
Hugo Chavez and his Iranian counterpart, together with the leaders of Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia, among others, brought reality to America with the United Nations presentations. It is noteworthy that not a single member of the General Assembly disagreed with their harsh assessments of the Bush-Cheney regime. I reviewed this book before it was made popular by Chavez, and I will say just two things: 1) order it now, it is worth the wait; and 2) Bush-Cheney may not be interested in reality, but reality is assuredly interested in us. It's time the public realized that Chomsky, not Bush, is the real deal.
Yes, Chomsky tends to be repetitive and to rehash old stuff, so take away one-star. However, and I say this as the #1 Amazon reviewer of non-fiction about national security, to suggest that Chomsky is ever anything less than four stars is to betray one's ignorance and bias. He adds new material in this book, and perhaps even more importantly, he delivers this book at a time when America is faced with what may well be its sixth most important turning point in history (after independence, the civil war, two world wars, and the cold war). How America behaves in the 2004 election is going to determine whether the Republic deteriorates into a quasi-totalitarian and bunkered society with a lost middle class and a gated elite, or whether we restore the world's faith in American goodness, moral capitalism, and inclusive democracy.
Chomsky brilliantly brings forth a theme first articulated in recent times by Jonathan Schell (The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People) by pointing out that the *only* "superpower" capable of containing the neo-conservative, neo-totalitarian, neo-Nazi militarism and unilateralism of the current Bush Administration is "the planet's public."
Chomsky updates his work with both excellent and well-balanced footnotes and an orderly itemization of the arrogance, militarism, contempt for international law, arbitrary aggression, and--Bible thumpers take note--proven track record for supporting dictators, Israeli genocide against Palestinians, and US troop participation in--directly as well as indirectly--what will inevitably be judged by history to be a continuing pattern of war crimes.
Chomsky, past master of the topic of "manufacturing consent" now turns his attention to the manner in which the Bush Administration is attempting to establish "new norms" that, if permitted to stand, will reverse 50 years of human progress in seeking the legitimization of governance, respect for human rights, and collective decision-making and security.
He is especially strong on documenting the manner in which US aid grows in direct relation to the degree to which the recipient country is guilty of genocidal atrocities, with Colombia and Turkey being prime examples. The case can be made, and Chomsky makes it, that the US arms industry, and US policies on the selling and granting of arms world-wide, are in fact a direct US commitment to repression, genocide, and terrorism sponsored by one big state: the US. He is most interesting when he discusses the new US approach to repression, the privatization of actions against the underclasses of the world.
Morality plays big with Chomsky, who brings new ideas in with his discussion of moral asymmetry and the lack of moral integrity in US decision-making. Sadly, the US public is too busy trying to survive the abuses of the Bush-Cheney regime, and do not realize the crass immorality of all that is being done "in their name."
Chomsky reminds us that George Bush the Second pardoned a known international terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, because of his ties to the extremist Cuban-American community that his brother Jeb Bush is so dependent upon for support.
Over the course of the middle of the book Chomsky addresses the competing models for national development, with Cuba prominent as an alternative model that the US has sought to destroy, as the US worked very hard to destroy Catholic "liberation theology" because of its temerity in believing that the poor should be protected against repressive governments and their American corporate paymasters. Chomsky is correct, I believe, when he states and documents that the US model of capitalism has pathologically high rates of inequality and poverty (even CNN has noticed--as I waited for an airplane in Salt Lake City, a bastion of common sense, the lead story was the collapse of the US middle class).
Chomsky moves from his discussion of exceptions to US capitalism to a discussion of the importance of regional differentiation, and this is of course in direct competition with the US view that the world should be a homogenized generic variation of the US culture, with one big difference: 80% of the benefits for the US, while the rest of the world shares the left-overs.
Chomsky agrees with Dr. Col Max Manwaring and other mainstream strategists (see my review of The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century when he identifies the legitimacy of governments, and the sanctity of human and civil rights, as the two litmus tests for determining if balance and fairness exist in a society. By this measure, the US is now failing.
The book begins to conclude with a semantic discussion of terrorism, what is terror, who sponsors terror, and here Chomsky draws on both his linguistic and historical background to make the case that the US is the primary sponsor of terrorism in the world (something both the Indonesian and Malaysian leadership would tend to agree with), and he notes that the US, in a bi-partisan manner among the elite, has consistently been hypocritical about terrorism. Nelson Mandela, and his resistance party, were labeled terrorists by the US for many years.
Are we in a passing nightmare, or the beginning of a renaissance? The jury is still out. I personally believe that John McCain would have been a vastly superior president that this lightweight bully that we have now, with his out-of-control neo-conservatives, none of whom ever served in uniform and some of whom--as with Dick Cheney--were active draft dodgers. However, I also believe that both John McCain, and Dick Gephardt if he were to be elected, are too close to the "business as usual" crowd of beltway politicians capitalized by beltway bandits. In other words, Howard Dean would not have been possible without the excesses of George Bush Junior. God does indeed work in mysterious ways, and I pray that the American public will both read Chomsky, and understand that they represent the only super-power that can restore legitimacy, sanity, comity, and prosperity to the American Republic. Down with the carpetbaggers--El Pueblo Avansa--EPA!.
Recent books supporting the moral intelligence of Noam Chomsky:
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21stCentury
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit
Day of Reckoning: How Hubris, Ideology, and Greed Are Tearing America Apart
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2004
I understand that this isn't supposed to be a discussion board or opinion forum, but still I feel compelled to answer some of the negative comments below. I apologize to Amazon in advance for abusing the medium.
It seems the commonest criticism of Chomsky, apart from calling him bad names, is that he ignores what good the US can claim, like civil liberties and a high standard of living, while also ignoring the evils of others. But remember the subject here: US foreign policy. Domestic policy is emphatically distinct from the international arena. Ancient Athenian citizens, for example, enjoyed unprecedented political rights, but this did not preclude them from denying those rights to conquered subjects. Thus, while Chomsky has had good things to say about US domestic achievements--even, *gasp*, that America is 'the greatest country in the world'--such discussion is inappropriate to a foreign policy critique.
Furthermore, contrary to uninformed opinion, Chomsky does not claim that US foreign policy is categorically committed to evil; rather he subscribes to the uncontroversial thesis that the US, like all states, pursues its self-interest; and that this self-interest, like any state's, will primarily reflect the interests of those who wield most wealth and power. (If this isn't common sense, I don't know what is.) Sometimes the pursuit of self-interest results in good--like, arguably, the Marshall Plan, or the defeat of the Nazis--and oftentimes in bad.
As to why Chomsky doesn't direct more of his fire at criminals like prominent Communist leaders--well, why should he? The subject of the book, again, is *US* foreign policy. Suppose a Soviet dissident decided to write a piece critical of the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan--should he be obliged to criticize US involvement in Vietnam, or reach back to condemn Japanese atrocities in Manchuria...for 'fairness' and 'objectivity'? The idea is ludicrous on its face.
There's another good reason Chomsky's criticism is mostly reserved for US foreign policy; namely that, as a US citizen, he and the rest of us share responsibility for actions taken in our name. What good is it to recite the familiar litany of crimes committed by Pol Pot, Stalin, and the rest? Their crimes are not our responsibility--we could never vote them out--and everyone already knows about them as it is.
It has been alleged that Chomsky is an apologist or sympathizer for authoritarian regimes (as if that would automatically invalidate his arguments, anyway). I see no good reason to believe so. Yes, he has toured Cuba--just as he's toured Turkey, Israel, Brazil, and a thousand places besides. He frequently contributes to human rights organizations that regularly document and expose abuses by all authoritarian regimes, and he signs tons of petitions too. I've lately seen one circulating that condemns Castro's jailing of librarians.
The last charges worth addressing are that Chomsky's too black-and-white, lacking nuance, and that he doesn't offer a prescription for change. The first charge would certainly be true, if Chomsky were writing a history text. But he's not--he writes arguments, which necessarily omit unimportant information. (Incidentally, judging by his interviews, the man is clearly well-versed in the subtleties of geopolitics.) It is the job of the reader to educate himself: if you want a rounder picture of the topics Chomsky touches on, read other books to supplement him. As for the second charge...come on, the guy's not the Savior. If you want change, that's up to you.
91 of 109 people found the following review helpful
The basic theory of HEGEMONY OR SURVIVAL is found in its subtitle that the United States has and has had (back to at least JFK and perhaps the end of WW II) a goal of America's Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project). Noam Chomsky uses specific examples from the past four decades to defend his argument that owning the world and militarily space have been the real objectives of American foreign and domestic policy. Chomsky also parallels the American global empire building to that of the eighteenth and nineteenth century British Empire where the sun never set until 1942 in North Africa. He insists the current administration is willing to risk human survival to prove they are right. He succinctly and intelligently supports his thesis by tracking the U.S. government's aggressive pursuit of attaining "full spectrum dominance" at any cost.
This tome is extremely well written and worth reading as the historical based logic is quite easy to follow and seems so valid that the spin is the USA is the freedom providers and anyone opposing America is a vicious totalitarian. Chomsky's belief that a global empire must fail like the British did, but in this NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical WMDs) age will lead to an orb- wasteland is not as reliable of a conclusion as its defense seems more of a supposition. Still this is an eye opener that will receive praise from the left, condemnation from the right, sadly ignored from the middle, and never reach the global unaligned masses more interested in surviving leaders who know what is best for everyone.
91 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2005
It's taken me quite a while to reach the point where I could write this type of a review for Chomsky.
First let me say that Chomsky is still probably factually correct in close to one hundred percent of what he writes in this and any other book. He is unforgiving in his criticism of U.S. policy and the hypocrisy involved, regardless of whether it's aimed at a democrat or republican. He's incredibly well read and based on the facts he's right in almost every instance.
However, what I've slowly become aware of is that his books aren't very useful when trying to actually figure out what should be done. From a policy perspective, he adopts a strictly moralist based approach and is unwavering in it. He doesn't take into account that other states don't operate on this approach and even if the U.S. were to do so, we would be dealing with other states taking advantage of the fact that we weren't.
Factor in the point that easily half of this book (that was written after 9/11), is the same material from numerous previous books, with very little analysis of what 9/11 specifically meant. He just rehashed all the bad things the U.S. did for the past 50 years that has appeared in so many of his other books. Did the U.S. do all the things Chomsky mentioned? Probably. Was it "wrong" of the U.S. to do these things? That's up to you to decide. Does Chomsky mentioning all these things again in the same book with a new cover actually help us understand post 9/11? No. And it took me a while to realize this. This doesn't help in actually trying to make policy. Chomsky brings us right up to this point and then stops, leaving the reader with not much to go on.
I used to think that Chomsky was all a person had to read about foreign policy, but now that I'm to the point where I want figure out what to do about U.S. foreign policy, I've realized how little his books actually tell us. Chomsky is an important source for finding out what the U.S. has done that it isn't necessarily proud of, but I now know that that's not enough.