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Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project)

Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance (The American Empire Project)

3.7 33
by Noam Chomsky, Brian Jones (Read by)

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The world’s foremost intellectual activist narrates his irrefutable analysis of America’s pursuit of total domination and the catastrophic consequences that are sure to follow

The United States is in the process of staking out not just the globe but the last unarmed spot in our neighborhood—the heavens—as a militarized sphere of


The world’s foremost intellectual activist narrates his irrefutable analysis of America’s pursuit of total domination and the catastrophic consequences that are sure to follow

The United States is in the process of staking out not just the globe but the last unarmed spot in our neighborhood—the heavens—as a militarized sphere of influence. Our earth and its skies are, for the Bush administration, the final frontiers of imperial control. In Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky investigates how we came to this moment, what kind of peril we find ourselves in, and why our rulers are willing to jeopardize the future of our species.

With the striking logic that is his trademark, Chomsky dissects America’s quest for global supremacy, tracking the U.S. government’s aggressive pursuit of policies intended to achieve “full spectrum dominance” at any cost. He lays out vividly how the various strands of policy cohere in a drive for hegemony that ultimately threatens our survival. In our era, he argues, empire is a recipe for an earthly wasteland.

Lucid, rigorous, and thoroughly documented, Hegemony or Survival promises to be Chomsky’s most urgent and sweeping work in years, certain to spark widespread debate.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
In this important addition to the literature of public policy, intellectual activist Noam Chomsky presents a scrupulously researched critique of America's "imperial grand strategy" -- a quest for dominance at any cost that not only has cast us in the role of a rogue superpower but also jeopardizes the very survival of humanity. Examining the roots of this post-WWII version of Manifest Destiny, Chomsky combs through half a century of American history for vivid examples of military aggression cloaked in the sheep's clothing of "self-defense" (Cuba, Vietnam), "preventive warfare" (Granada, Nicaragua), "humanitarian intervention" (Kosovo, East Timor), and "war on terrorism" (Iraq).

Chomsky argues that the Washington propaganda machine offers up a spin cycle of patriotic bromides designed to mask the true, self-serving motives of our government. With this as his foundation, he exposes the tradition of dominant elitism that has motivated American presidents from Roosevelt and Kennedy to Reagan and the Bushes. In case after case, he shows how policy makers have ignored public opinion and run roughshod over international law -- thereby perpetrating terrorist acts as ruthless as those they oppose. Chomsky uses the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a stunning example of how the grand imperial strategy has backfired. Far from eliminating the threat of terrorism, the war against Saddam Hussein has enhanced terrorist activity, as potential targets of U.S. aggression begin to see weapons of mass destruction as the only deterrent to American intervention. Clearly, Chomsky believes the stakes in this dangerous game of global hegemony have never been higher. Reading his thoroughly researched, copiously footnoted, and always engaging analysis, it is difficult not to agree. Anne Markowski

Publishers Weekly
In this highly readable, heavily footnoted critique of American foreign policy from the late 1950s to the present, Chomsky (whose 9-11 was a bestseller last year) argues that current U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Iraq are not a specific response to September 11, but simply the continuation of a consistent half-century of foreign policy-an "imperial grand strategy"-in which the United States has attempted to "maintain its hegemony through the threat or use of military force." Such an analysis is bound to be met with skepticism or antagonism in post-September 11 America, but Chomsky builds his arguments carefully, substantiates claims with appropriate documentation and answers expected counterclaims. Chomsky is also deeply critical of inconsistency in making the charge of "terrorism." Using the official U.S. legal code definition of terrorism, he argues that it is an exact description of U.S. foreign policy (especially regarding Cuba, Central America, Vietnam and much of the Middle East), although the term is rarely used in this way in the U.S. media, he notes, even when the World Court in 1986 condemned Washington for "unlawful use of force" ("international terrorism, in lay terms" Chomsky argues) in Nicaragua. Claiming that the U.S. is a rogue nation in its foreign policies and its "contempt for international law," Chomsky brings together many themes he has mined in the past, making this cogent and provocative book an important addition to an ongoing public discussion about U.S. policy. (Nov.) FYI: This is the first title in the new American Empire Project, which the publisher describes as "provocative and critical books that will focus on the increasingly imperial cast of America's government and policy." Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Chomsky bemoans America's carrying imperialist tendencies into space. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“If, for reasons of chance, or circumstance (or sloth), you have to pick just one book on the subject of the American Empire, I'd say pick this one. It's the Full Monty. It's Chomsky at his best. Hegemony or Survival is necessary reading.” —Arundhati Roy

“Reading Chomsky today is sobering and instructive.” —Samantha Power, The New York Times

“Highly readable...cogent and provocative.” —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Macmillan Audio
Publication date:
American Empire Project Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.78(d)

Read an Excerpt

We are entering a period of human history that may provide an answer to the question of whether there is intelligent life on earth, at least in the sense of "intelligence" that might be admired by a sensible extraterrestrial observer. The most hopeful prospect is that the question will not be answered: for any definitive response can only conclude that humans are a kind of "biological error," using their allotted 100,000 years—the life expectancy of a species—to destroy themselves and, in the process, much else. Humans have surely developed the capacity to do just that: our hypothetical extraterrestrial observer might argue that they have demonstrated that destructiveness throughout their history, and dramatically so in the past few hundred years—with an assault on biological diversity, on the environment that sustains life, and, with cold and calculated savagery, on each other as well.

Meet the Author

Noam Chomsky is the author of numerous bestselling political works, from American Power and the New Mandarins in the 1960s to 9-11 in 2001. A professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT, he is widely credited with having revolutionized modern linguistics. He lives outside Boston, Massachusetts.

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Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
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Elephent-FishEyes More than 1 year ago
Remember the theatrics of Hugo Chavez on the platte form of United Nations advising Americans to read or to reread Noam Chomsky.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that Chomsky's analysis of the events of our time is an essential part of understanding our current political situation. Without information by people like him, the ruling class would have us believe that it opporates upon the highest of moral doctrines while vainquishing evil forces and whatever other rhetoric seems applicable at the time. Excellent work from a true patriot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Chomsky's book is suprisingly (or, perhaps not) thin on hard information. It contains his usual sweeping criticisms of US policy without any substantial factual foundation. He cites rumour as fact, makes statements such as 'as everyone knows' in lieu of solid footnoting and generally relies on his reputation rather than his reporting to bolster the arguments he presents. The book is alarmist which may account for it's popularity but there's nothing really there save a badly presented opinion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is truly an eye opener; it is evidence that there is some conscious left in this world. MG Allam
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.

Harriet Klausner

StPeteBuzz More than 1 year ago
As a regular old American who has always been interested in politics, but never completely aligned with any political party, I've been amazed by certain statements I've heard from time to time from and about liberals. Lately I've been reading a large number of books considered to be the best from the most credible intellects. These books are considered to be the source in most political science and sociology degrees and advanced studies. I feel I'd glean a significant amount of enlightenment from these books, and I have. In my profession, we have normally looked to the Democrat Party for support of our unions and interests. Our unions and PAC's have always backed Democrat candidates for more than Republican candidates. At times the Democrat party has shown its appreciation with incredibly punishing actions. Until now I could not understand the almost general animosity the Democrat party displayed to America, our industries, and those of us who worked hard to succeed academically and professionally. After reading this book, their position is 100% understandable. The DNC does hate America and Americans. Chomsky attacks every American leader from JFK to G.W. Bush, and many from the founding of this country to the present. It is normally quite easy to follow as almost every problem on the face of the earth is caused by the American government, business, and people. I was really just amazed at the problems attributed to America. I have to say that Chomsky builds very viable cases for America causing all the earth's problems since taking over from the British. Think about it World War I, World War II, weather, natural catastrophes all America's fault. Having lived through most of this distorted history, I find it absolutely incredible that our academic geniuses take this stuff to not be dark comedy. In many instances we not only did not set up the problems but it would have been impossible for us to have any meaningful impact. Anyone who has worked with other governments in their countries understands they make the rules. Our government officials may take actions we may not like or understand but in other countries their officials not our officials control the sovereignty. To address all the inaccuracies in this book, would take a book. If you stop and think about it, I would think a prudent person would see the foolishness portrayed as incite, but more importantly you will understand why certain hard core "Socialist" and hard leftist hate "America", which includes you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
frightening, unnerving confirmation of all we may have suspected about the americas global policies. whichever party you support, however much you love or hate Bush, read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Noam Chomsky is standing atop our rooves shouting truths the whole world must hear, especially those in the US / North America who today are being subjected to a snow job of epic proportions and potentially terrifying consequences. This book is replete with details, an abundance of excellent sources, and such clarity it gets your adrenaline pumping! Chomsky is a nonpareil thinker and intellect who unabashedly speaks truth, aiding in creating a better world for all of us. WE must decide to care as much as he does and seek out and spread the truth in similar fashion: with tireless and dogged diligence, and always with compassion for all humanity. But in the meantime let us drink deeply of this refreshing and heady elixir of truth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is another great book by Noam Chomsky. He underscores America's Imperialistic tenets and how the United States is a global Hegemon, imposing 'democracy' via invading and occupying countries. If you love Chomsky this is a very good read, and suffice to say, very well written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, clarity gets you nowhere in this business. Perhaps he should write some mathematical proofs. That would be an example of a lasting contribution.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This brilliant study is based, like all Chomsky¿s writings, on a vast range of sources, including Pentagon, CIA and White House statements. He uses these to detail how the US ruling class seeks to rule the world. It seeks `full spectrum dominance¿, weapons in space, greater powers of attack through `ballistic missile defence¿, and the break-up of all international treaties and agreements that might limit its ambitions. Chomsky argues that the US ruling class threatens an earthly wasteland. He explains that the Republican-Labour doctrine of preventive war justifies all aggressions: Japan at Pearl Harbour and Hitler attacking the Soviet Union also claimed `anticipatory self-defence¿. He points out that the US and British states constantly use the Security Council to flout UN Resolutions; their record numbers of vetoes prove them to be its worst non-compliers. Chomsky reminds us that the old British Empire proclaimed the right to `humanitarian intervention¿. Liberals like John Stuart Mill defended this, writing shameful apologetics for the imperial crimes of aggression against India and China, and for France¿s atrocities in Algeria, `exterminating the indigenous population¿, as its War Minister urged. The liberal David Lloyd George praised the British government¿s sabotage of Disarmament Conferences by `reserving the right to bomb niggers¿. Now Blair¿s adviser Robert Cooper writes, ¿the need ¿ for colonisation is as great as it ever was in the 19th century.¿ Chomsky notes that today¿s imperialists commit war crimes too: President Clinton flew Al Qa¿ida terrorists from Afghanistan to fight for the US side in Bosnia. Labour imperialists backed the Kosovo Liberation Army terrorists, even though Defence Minister George Robertson admitted, ¿the KLA was responsible for more deaths in Kosovo than the Serbian authorities had been.¿ The same forces drive empires past and present: John Maynard Keynes explained, ¿the democratic experiment in self-government was endangered by the threat of global financial market forces.¿ So now the European Union uses Eastern Europe to ¿hammer away at high wages and corporate taxes, short working hours, labor immobility, and luxurious social programmes¿, as the business press boasts. In sum, this extraordinarily well-informed survey shows how capitalism endangers us all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a painful rhetorical rant, made worse in the audio version by the monotone machine gun delivery of Brian Jones. A better read is 'Bush At War' by Bob Woodward who digs deep and fleshes out his ideas. Michael Moore is also infinitely better at this kind of thing. Outrage and wicked sarcasm would definitely pick up this monotonous diatribe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Incredible book. Everybody should read it. I have always suspected the government was up to no good, but Mr. Chomsky has a great way of exposing the lies. Easy to read, this book should be on the shelves of every American, wheter you are a Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading this book is a must for anyone who depends on the 'journalistic integrity' of what is reported in the U.S. press. Chomsky is at his best and most understandable for the casual Chomsky reader. For me at least, there was a surprize ending. I approached the title and reading thinking that we, the U.S.,were in a position of having to choose between hegemony and survival. Nothing could be further from the truth. The recurrent and consistant theme of imperialism as practiced by both political parties and driven by corporate america will surely hasten the demise of the things we value most about being Americans. If this book adds focus to one single idea; it is that America is no longer her people, but a handful of 'instituitions' bent on maximizing their own prestige, profit, and power. There is no human, environmental, or ethical price too great, in the minds of these instituiton, to achieve that status. We as americans are not immune from but culpable for the actions of these institutions. This is probably one of the ten best books I've ever read. Thank you Noam Chomsky
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even the title shows the author's failure too see the world as it is. There CAN NOT be survival without hegemony! His grasp of international relations is excetory.