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The Big Answer


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Who Rules the World?

a book by Noam Chomsky

(our site's book review)

The U.S.'s Imperial Power Seekers Seem to Be in Love with War and Killing

The world’s leading intellectual offers a probing examination of the waning American Century, the nature of U.S. policies post-9/11, and the perils of valuing power above democracy and human rights. "Chomsky is a global phenomenon. . . . He may be the most widely read American voice on foreign policy on the planet."—The New York Times Book Review

In an incisive, thorough analysis of the current international situation, Noam Chomsky argues—a bit repetitively—that the United States, through its military-first policies and its unstinting devotion to maintaining a world-spanning empire, is both risking catastrophe and wrecking the global commons. Drawing on a wide range of examples, from the expanding drone assassination program to the threat of nuclear warfare, as well as the flashpoints of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Israel/Palestine, he offers unexpected and nuanced insights into the workings of imperial power on our increasingly chaotic planet. The book sees two principal threats, nuclear war and global warming, and many subthreats.

A Predator Drone—one of the murder toys of the USA (United Slaughterers and Assassins)
A Predator Drone—one of the murder toys of the USA (United Slaughterers and Assassins)

The U.S.'s Abandonment of Democracy

In the process, Chomsky provides a brilliant anatomy of just how U.S. elites have grown ever more insulated from any democratic constraints on their power. While the broader population is lulled into apathy (diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable), the corporations and the rich have increasingly been allowed to do as they please. (E.g., the banks can experiment with the bond markets while they scam the unwary with subprime loan scams and when their stupidity and irresponsibility leads to a crash that costs us citizens trillions of dollars, Obama rewards them for their foolishness with a trillion dollar bailout paid for by the same poor slobs—us—that got screwed by the crash, while bankers and traders drive home in Rolls-Royces with fat bonuses in their pockets and every entity that was "too big to fail" didn't while every entity that was "too small to count"—us again—got screwed and the so-called leaders that were supposed to represent the people and watch out for us failed us utterly and made no serious effort to make sure this horridly unethical disaster didn't happen again and again and again. Oh well, at least we live in a Democracy, right? You already know the answer, but in case you are unsure, see Democracy—an American Delusion.)

Neocon nutjobs tell us that dumping our Bill of Rights and our Constitution was a prerequisite for our safety, which no intelligent citizen could possibly buy
Neocon nutjobs tell us that dumping our Bill of Rights and our Constitution was a prerequisite for our safety, which no intelligent citizen could possibly buy


The rich are shaking down the poor in a massive transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1%
The rich are shaking down the poor in a massive transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1%

Fierce, unsparing, and meticulously documented, Who Rules the World? delivers the indispensable understanding of the central conflicts and dangers of our time—an understanding that we have come to expect from Noam Chomsky. See Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire, Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World, and Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance.


The U.S.'s One-Size-Fits-All Solution to Everything: the Sledgehammer

One reviewer says it best: "Anyone with two working eyes or who isn't living in a cave will recognize the sorry state of affairs the world has been brought to by successive crews of madmen in Washington whose knee-jerk response to every dilemma is to take a sledgehammer to the problem." (Or said crews of madmen borrow more money from China to reward the Corporatocracy with for robbing us, lying to us, deceiving us, and just generally because we all know the oligarchs deserve it as a reward for plunging the country into hopeless debt as this pushes the neocons to start a very profitable World War III.)

Violence is the U.S.'s only answer to anything—if Uncle Sam's foot itched, HE'D SHOOT IT!
Violence is the U.S.'s only answer to anything—if Uncle Sam's foot itched, HE'D SHOOT IT!

Our Citizens Think the U.S.'s Military Actions Are Done Out of Benevolence!

Our Vietnam and Iraq wars were much more about imperialism than democratization, but most of us drank the Kool-Aid
Our Vietnam and Iraq wars were much more about imperialism than democratization, but most of us drank the Kool-Aid

The book asks the question: What motivates us as societies and individuals to abuse people and the environment? Chomsky examines all the aggressions, crimes, and terror that American leaders (pushed by the shadow government) commit against the world and even our own citizens. This shadow government has gone too far. They are a threat to the existence of the entire world. "America must be reined in," says Chomsky. Americans tend to ease any qualms about U.S. military supremacy with self-assurances about U.S. benevolence, but Noam Chomsky is at his best in putting those platitudes to rest, seeing under the surface an America of hypocrisy and self-interest. It turns out that politically correct terms like democratization are euphemisms for exploitation and plunder, words to tell the cover story with. "In brief, the Global War on Terror sledgehammer strategy has spread jihadi terror from a tiny corner of Afghanistan to much of the world, from Africa through the Levant and South Asia to Southeast Asia. It has also incited attacks in Europe and the United States. The invasion of Iraq made a substantial contribution to this process, much as intelligence agencies had predicted." (Source: Noam Chomsky: America has made the world a more dangerous place)

U.S. neocons' imperialism and warmongering is out of control yet the Congress tasked with stopping such abuses is mute—something smells rotten in Washington!
U.S. neocons' imperialism and warmongering is out of control yet the Congress tasked with stopping such abuses is mute—something smells rotten in Washington! The game is rigged. Bailouts? The biggest companies got help while the little guy got the finger.


The biggest companies got help while the little guy got the finger
The biggest companies got help while the little guy got the finger


Letting neocons run the decisions in Washington is like letting a fox guard a henhouse
Letting neocons run the decisions in Washington is like letting a fox guard a henhouse

Terrorism is in the eyes of the beholder, with each state putting such labels on hostile actions of other states but not their own. So what, then, are fair and appropriate international norms and standards? "Chomsky does nothing to contribute to what those [international norms and] standards might be, lapsing into denunciatory language about drone attacks being 'the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times.' He describes 'assassination' in violation of 'the presumption of innocence' without addressing the obvious retort—that combatants in war can be targeted . . ." (Source: The New York Review of Books, Kenneth Roth, A Case Against America)

The U.S. military bullies dropping a little 'democracy' on Middle Eastern citizens
The U.S. military bullies dropping a little 'democracy' on Middle Eastern citizens


Bush and Obama love playing God, swatting to death anyone they don't like the looks of and making the U.S. look like the Great Satan the Islamics see us as
Bush and Obama love playing God, swatting to death anyone they don't like the looks of and making the U.S. look like the Great Satan the Islamics see us as

But regardless of definitions, it is a fact that in the 21st century like in the 20th, U.S. warmongers have responded with violence and terror and killing whenever they were displeased with another country, rarely seeking a peaceful settlement when violence via military means is so much more profitable and satisfying.

The world over people are asking themselves: Is the USA fighting terrorists or being terrorists?
The world over people are asking themselves: Is the USA fighting terrorists or being terrorists?

Uncle Sam Is the Focus of an Intervention

We need all the leaders of all countries of the world to hold an intervention. The intervention leader was talking: "We're here to help you, Uncle Sam, with your addiction to violence and terror and killing. We're going to go around the room now and each leader will tell you how your addiction has affected their country. Once everyone has spoken, it will be your turn. You can tell us if you just hate humanity, or just yourself, or maybe both. You can answer if you meant to hurt us and kill us and plunge us into debt and ruin our environments and our governments or if it was somehow a vast misunderstanding. Did you read too many neocon books or get influenced by too many neocon warmongers or are you having a stroke and need hospitalization—since your personality seems vastly different than it was back in 1776? Could this be because of brain damage due to the stroke? Please let us know how you feel—why act like a madman? We could all get along if you'd give us a chance! You do realize that YOU are the one that started all the terrorism in the world that is now coming back toward you as payback, right? Whatever has happened to you, man? During WWII you seemed heroic and like you wanted to save us from Hitler. And yet these days you seem like you're trying to be Hitler yourself, setting up an empire all over the world—the same as Hitler's Third Reich tried to do. What gives, man? Are you sick—do you need therapy—what? Anyway, we've all chipped in and we are paying to send you to an Anger Management Seminar. Please be prompt as they don't like waiting. Someone might make a cynical comment to you, and that might make you do what you always do: start shooting. Let's try really hard to avoid such things, okay? Thank you for listening, dude." But there were loud snores—Uncle Sam had fallen fast asleep.

We need all the leaders of all countries of the world to hold an intervention. 'We're here to help you, U.S., with your addiction to violence and terror and killing.'
We need all the leaders of all countries of the world to hold an intervention. 'We're here to help you, U.S., with your addiction to violence and terror and killing.'

Uncle Sam Is the New Member in an Anger Management Seminar

Later . . . at an Anger Management Seminar: "Okay, we're here at the Anger Management Seminar. I'm introducing a new member—Uncle Sam. My GOODness you look angry! Did someone crap in your cornflakes or what? Anyway, we're all here to learn the principles of anger management. How do you manage anger, Uncle Sam?" asks the leader.

"I just kill someone!" says Uncle Sam.

"No, I mean when you get angry, how do you avoid lashing out and hitting someone?" asks the leader.

"I don't hit. I kill. Hitting is for pussies!" says Uncle Sam.

"But that's crazy," says the leader.

"I didn't say I'm not crazy—what I said is that when I'm mad, you better watch out, because I will kill you at the drop of a hat!" says Uncle Sam.

A guy who'd been holding his hat was so shocked he dropped it on the floor. Uncle Sam pulled out a gun and shot him between the eyes—he was dead. "Any of you other smartasses want a piece of me?" asks Uncle Sam.

Everyone screamed and ran shrieking from the Seminar, with a hail of bullets behind them. "Damn, anger management is fun—I'm glad I came!" says Uncle Sam.

'How do you manage anger, Uncle Sam?' asks the leader. 'I just kill someone!' says Uncle Sam.'
"How do you manage anger, Uncle Sam?" asks the leader. "I just kill someone!" says Uncle Sam.


The U.S. is as addicted to violence as a drug addict is addicted to drugs
The U.S. is as addicted to violence as a drug addict is addicted to drugs

The Global War on Terror 2.0

9/11 terrorist attack
9/11 terrorist attack

There was a Global War on Terror that George W. Bush declared in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attack. To be more accurate, re-declared. The Global War on Terror had already been announced by the Reagan administration once it took office, with Reagan's inflamed rhetoric about a “plague spread by depraved opponents of civilization itself.” (Reagan neglected to mention that the U.S. shadow government was responsible for more terror in the world than the terrorists, so does this mean that Reagan opposes civilization, or that he simply was unaware what the shadow government was up to?) The original Global War on Terror has been quietly removed from history so it never hit the news or the history books in the USA due to censorship of the mainstream media and textbook companies by the shadow government. The Global War on Terror turned out to be a war OF terror by Reagan-supported Contras. This war OF terror very quickly turned into a murderous and destructive war of terrorism afflicting Central America, southern Africa, and the Middle East, with grim repercussions to the present, even leading to condemnation of the United States by the World Court (which Washington dismissed, basically giving the court the finger). In any event, "it is not the right story for history," says Chomsky, so it is gone, replaced by U.S. propaganda in news reports and history books alike.

Africa
Africa


The only certain, irrefutable, perpetual and insidious bias in reporting comes from the neocon elites themselves, which make an all-out effort to stay covert and invisible to the unsuspecting citizen
The only certain, irrefutable, perpetual and insidious bias in reporting comes from the neocon elites themselves, which make an all-out effort to stay covert and invisible to the unsuspecting citizen

U.S. intervention in Libya, according to Chomsky, multiplied the number of casualties by ten and left the country in ruins and "provided the Islamic State with a base that it can use to spread terror beyond."

The unprovoked invasion of Iraq by the U.S. also generated millions of refugees, largely destroyed the country, and instigated a sectarian conflict that is now tearing apart Iraq and the entire region via ISIS and al-Qaeda. It is an astonishing fact about our intellectual and moral culture that in "informed" and "enlightened" circles it [the invasion of Iraq] can be called, blandly, “the liberation of Iraq.” The U.S.-UK invasion, utterly without credible pretext, is the major crime of the twenty-first century in Chomsky's opinion, and we cannot find grounds to disagree. The invasion led to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people to satisfy the bloodlust of a "born-again" pseudo-Christian neocon named Dubya and his warmonger sidekick Cheney.


The Great Satan

Radical fundamentalist Muslims in the Mideast have been calling the U.S. The Great Satan for decades (since we deposed their leader Mohammad Mosaddegh and inserted the pro-Western Shah). The 1953 Iranian coup d'état, known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup, was an action of the CIA, which they admitted in 2013, lying about it until then. The Iranian Revolution (also known as the Islamic Revolution or the 1979 Revolution) refers to events involving the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was supported by the United States. The Pahlavi dynasty was eventually replaced with a National republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution, supported by various leftist and Islamic organizations and Iranian student movements. The Iranians had had more than enough Western interference and were happy to get out from under the thumb of the U.S. infidels.

The Great Satan—it is damn hard to deny it since the U.S. has gone out of its way to confirm it for decades!
The Great Satan—it is damn hard to deny it since the U.S. has gone out of its way to confirm it for decades!

But think about it for a minute: they accused the U.S. of being The Great Satan and the U.S. has proven them right time and time again. We deposed a leader and stuck in a pro-Western dictator. Later we armed Iraq against them and incited violence. Then we invaded and wrecked Afghanistan and took control of its drug exports. Then we invaded and wrecked Iraq and took control of its oil. We interfered with Syria and Ukraine and so mucked up foreign policy actions that ISIS was born—complements of the worst president in U.S. history, Obama. How in the world could the people of the Mideast—and the rest of the world—NOT consider the U.S. The Great Satan given the amazing list of evil, murderous actions they were—and are—responsible for?!


The U.S., Talking the Talk but Not Walking the Walk

Chomsky positions himself not with his peers in service to the state, in both word and deed, but rather with those committed to a higher set of values, “the causes of freedom, justice, mercy, and peace,” which his peers pay lip service to, but then go right back to honoring, in word and in deed, the shadow government's warped, propaganda-led perspective, especially regarding U.S. foreign policy and military policy matters. (E.g., the neocon leaders of the U.S. placing their own interests and security over the people’s welfare.) Supporting the causes of freedom, justice, mercy, and peace can lose one friends as well as jeopardize one's employment. So supporting the causes of freedom, justice, mercy, and peace is done emotionally when one thinks good thoughts at church, but done much less when confronting the harsh realities of public life. These values seem unrealistic to most people—but only because these people have let our leaders' corruption rub off on them.