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Econ Crisis Will Not End US Hegemony (Chomsky Interview)

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo http://tinyurl.com/45j8zf Chomsky: Econ crisis will not end US hegemony Fri, 10
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 11, 2008
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      http://tinyurl.com/45j8zf
      Chomsky: Econ crisis will not end US hegemony
      Fri, 10 Oct 2008 13:16:51 GMT
      By Afshin Rattansi
      Press TV, Tehran

      The following is Press TV's exclusive full-length interview with
      American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author and MIT
      professor Avram Noam Chomsky:

      Press TV: Noam Chomsky, obviously the markets are all down; in your
      propaganda model, you lay great store by the commercial interests in the
      media, I guess the media has been saying that there was not a grave
      economic problem in the system, but if the markets are collapsing,
      presumably down to advertising, will we expect a better corporate media?

      Chomsky: I don't see any reason to expect that the structure of the
      media, their institutional structure remains unchanged.

      In fact, apart from investment banks, the general institutional
      structure of the state capitalist system remains the same. There may be
      some modifications, I mean obviously, the media cannot overlook the
      financial crises; it is indeed very serious. No one doubts that.

      So yes, they recognize it, but in fact it was predictable and predicted.
      Also the reasons for it were understood long ago and they have barely
      been given expression in the media, or for that matter by most
      economists, although some knew and wrote about it.

      Press TV: But independent media -- often independent media that
      certainly promoted your work -- predicted all of this, and predicted a
      market collapse. Do you think investors are beginning to realize though,
      that cooperate media is not trustworthy? Also, unemployment rates
      certainly seem to be going up in the United States and look set to be
      going up. Can we expect a shift in attitudes in the United States?

      Chomsky: Well, popular attitudes in the United States are highly
      negative toward the media, and in fact toward all institutions, so this
      doesn't get reported, but editors know the polls pretty well.

      About 80 percent of the population says that the country is run by a
      'few big interests looking out for themselves' meaning corporations and
      not for the people.

      About 95 percent of the population objects to the fact that the
      government does not pay any attention to public opinion.

      I don't remember the exact numbers on the media, but the negative
      attitudes are very high. In fact, they are very high for just about
      every institution. We read about George Bush's historically low
      popularity rating, in fact very low, but the fact is congress is even
      more unpopular.

      Press TV: We've had politicians in Europe and Russia talking about the
      end of US hegemony. Even if the US cannot pay its bills it still has the
      largest military on earth. You have written about the power of that
      military. Doesn't that military in itself confer power?

      Chomsky: Oh sure, and I don't agree with the conclusions about loss of
      US hegemony. I mean, first of all this financial crisis is very likely
      going to hit Europe even harder than the United States. Several European
      countries have already declared official recession, which the US has not.

      Banks are collapsing rapidly in Europe. The immediate problem, not the
      deep problem, the immediate one is toxic assets and mortgage-based
      securities.

      We do not have the details, it's all not very transparent, but the
      general estimate is that about half of them are held in European banks.
      One country, Iceland, is practically on the verge of declaring
      bankruptcy because of its enormous exposure to the tides of financial
      globalization.

      Press TV: What about supranational institutions, the Security Council
      and the international courts? It seems that we see a waning of some US
      power ... Beijing and Moscow vetoing decisions of the Security Council
      certainly on Iran, and the decision by the General Assembly to refer the
      recognition of Kosovo.

      Chomsky: We saw that, but that is normal. Since you brought up the
      media, it's interesting to see the reporting of it.

      The vote, which I think, was 77 to 6 or something like that was reported
      that there was a division in the vote and that it was polarized, but
      what was not reported was that joining the United States, were Albania
      the Marshal Islands, and I think probably Israel, practically nobody.

      But that is normal, for example on the embargo against Cuba, the regular
      votes in the UN year after year, are on order 180 to 4 or something like
      that, with the US supported only by Israel and a few Pacific Islands.
      That doesn't usually get reported. And that's actually nothing new.

      As far as the Security Council is concerned, what is not too well-known
      and you do not get the reports, is that since the United Nations pretty
      much fell out of control by the 1960s as a result of decolonization and
      the recovery of other industrial countries; since the mid 60s, the
      United States is far in the lead in vetoing Security Council resolutions.

      Britain is second, and no one else is even close, so we do not see
      anything new in terms of US isolation in international institutions.

      The US is also the only country right now that has rejected an official
      world court decision. It had been joined earlier by Albania and Libya,
      but they have since accepted them. So this isolation is consistent. As
      for US hegemony, it is based on objective factors.

      One is what you mentioned, the military view, the US military is
      approximately at the scale of the rest of the world combined, and far
      ahead technologically.

      But it's also a very rich country with plenty of resources and it is
      homogenous unlike Europe. Europe is roughly on the same scale
      economically but it is not homogenous. You could see that in the
      reactions to the financial crises, in the United States they're uniform
      taken by the federal government and in Europe they are national and not
      consistent.

      For about 35 years it has become clear. I've written about it and so
      have others, that the world is becoming more diverse. It is becoming
      what has been called tri-polar, with three major economic centers and
      only one military center.

      The economic centers are North America based in the US, Western Europe
      based mainly in Germany and France and the northeast Asia based in
      Japan, increasingly China and South Korea is a major industrial power
      ... these three centers differ substantially in their characteristics.
      And to some extent, in my opinion, the Asian center is increasing in its
      role in world affairs and we can see it in this crisis.

      --
      Dan Clore

      My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      http://tinyurl.com/2gcoqt
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      Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
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      Professor: Why, no one.
      Skipper: No one?
      Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
      -- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"
    • Kevin Carson
      ... I think he s missing the point. It s not a matter of the relative economic setbacks of the U.S. compared to Europe and Asia. It s a matter of the
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 13, 2008
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        On 10/11/08, Dan Clore <clore@...> wrote:

        > http://tinyurl.com/45j8zf
        > Chomsky: Econ crisis will not end US hegemony

        > Chomsky: Oh sure, and I don't agree with the conclusions about loss of
        > US hegemony. I mean, first of all this financial crisis is very likely
        > going to hit Europe even harder than the United States. Several European
        > countries have already declared official recession, which the US has not.

        I think he's missing the point. It's not a matter of the relative
        economic setbacks of the U.S. compared to Europe and Asia. It's a
        matter of the absolute constraints on American resources. Chomsky's
        right that the crisis is hitting everyone. It's affecting the
        resources of the state in every part of the world. Which means that
        it's making a model of global hegemony based on aircraft carrier
        groups less viable for anyone. But that's a bit like saying the law
        prohibits everyone from sleeping under bridges or stealing bread. The
        U.S. is the only country that currently pursues that model, so
        economic crises that constrain the ability of *any* country to do so
        will in practice affect the U.S. disproportionately. The good part is
        that the resource constraints will prevent any other would-be hegemon
        from taking America's place.

        --
        Kevin Carson
        Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism
        http://mutualist.blogspot.com
        Studies in Mutualist Political Economy
        http://www.mutualist.org/id47.html
        Anarchist Organization Theory Project
        http://mutualist.blogspot.com/2005/12/studies-in-anarchist-theory-of.html
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