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Imperial Ambitions: Conversations with Noam Chomsky on the Post-9/11 World

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2008

    a local application of overarching historical themes

    This book is structured as a series of interviews with Noam Chomsky, conducted by David Barsamian from 2003 through 2005. Though the main focus of the book is the Iraq War, a larger theme in the book is American imperialism in US foreign policy throughout the history of the country 'this is why the book was published as part of the American Empire Project'. The text is historically accurate to an amazing extent. Though some of the assertions it makes are rather out of the ordinary, every statement is backed with numerous sources. The impartiality of the sources used is often discussed within the text itself. Nineteen pages in the back are dedicated solely to citations of sources used ¿ the statements in the book are evidently quite well backed. The author of the text seeks to dispel rumors 'also known as historical inaccuracies'. He strives to present facts in a full context, making apt comparisons both between time periods within the USA and between the USA and other countries. Perhaps the most stunning example of Chomsky¿s revealing of the true character behind the actions of government officials is his discussion of the following quotation from the Kissinger-Nixon transcripts: ¿Hit everything¿ Anything that flies on anything that moves¿. That was an order given by Kissinger to Pentagon regarding the bombing campaign in Cambodia during the Vietnam conflict. Unlike sources such as The American Pageant, Chomsky takes care to provide hard evidence for even the most seemingly subjective statements. For instance, The American Pageant presents Ronald Reagan as a president who was perhaps susceptible to a touch of corruption and incurred debts upon the country, but was nevertheless very well liked by the public. That sounds strange, but we take it for granted because it¿s in our textbook. Chomsky, however, looks at public opinion polls and points out that every single president following Reagan was more popular than Reagan, with the sole exception of George Bush II. That makes sense. Another theme explored at length in the book is class struggles and distribution of power within the society, tied in with a discussion of how free the ¿free press¿ of America really is. Chomsky analyzes unpublished American public opinion polls and illustrates an amazing discrepancy between public opinion and the stances of political parties, which are dominated by a wealthy few, and, according to Chomsky, are designed to keep the wealth with the wealthy and avoid alliances and political integration among the less fortunate. The readers of this book will undoubtedly gain understanding of common themes in American history such as imperialistic trends and the effect of American exceptionalism on policy. I rate this book a 5 and would definitely recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in history or modern politics, or somebody who simply would like to have a better understanding of American motives in politics today. The language is easily accessible starting from the high school reading level, and explanations are supplemented by easily comprehensible examples and historical analogies. This is an especially good read after completing a course on American history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2005

    Ideas Worthy of Reflective Thinking

    'Imperial Ambitions: Conversation on the Post 9/11 World' is a collection of interviews conducted by David Barsamian with Noam Chomsky. The interviews cover a multitude of important and at times complex topics that affect present and future societies. Chomsky and Barsamian ponder topics ranging from Nazi Germany to the war in Iraq, with special attention given to the various forms of propaganda used by governments to fulfill their objectives. Chomsky¿s thoughts on Social Security, Medicaid, health care, rogue nations, US nation building, education, activism, the economy, corporate greed . . . are all too engaging. According to Chomsky, there are few straightforward answers to today's complex issues facts are hidden behind a veil of secrecy and deception. Chomsky recommends that individuals become critical thinkers ¿ take nothing for granted. While readers may not fully agree with all of Chomsky¿s assessments or analysis of political and societal assertions and conclusions, Chomsky does give readers cause to reflect. His suggestions are crucially simple people must learn to use 'skeptical intelligence' and 'critical examination' on important issues. Chomsky contends that history has shown propaganda to be a powerful, yet an abused and/or misused tool of governments. . . . Much of what readers will get from 'Imperial Ambitions' is that fear is the fuel that drives the propaganda machine and that governments make use of propaganda to control public opinion. Chomsky posits that by using the concept of 'intellectual self defense' people can decode manipulated and surreptitious information disseminated by the government and the media. ¿Imperial Ambitions: Conversation on the Post 9/11 World¿ makes interesting reading. It is a first-hand introduction to Chomsky¿s philosophical views on a range of issues -- at times controversial, but always engaging.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2011

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    Posted September 8, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2009

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