Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ali/Chomsky: US Interventionism, Then & Now

Series: Unwelcome Guests
#553 - US Interventionism, Then & Now
Featured Speakers/Commentators: Tariq Ali, Noam Chomsky program link
Date Recorded: 2011-05-28

Summary: This week we hear a pair of perspectives from earlier this month on US foreign policy, both from seasoned critics of the US Imperial Strategy. Firstly, Tariq Ali reviews the historical record, from the genocidal expansionism of US colonists up this month's exploits in Libya. Secondly, Noam Chomsky speaksin Syracuse, NY on "What Drives US Foreign Policy & What We Can Do To Change It".

Credits: Thanks to Radio New Zealand from the Tariq Ali recording.

Notes: Our first hour this week begins with Tariq Ali challenging the establishment's view of the early US as an essentially beneficent state which extended its territorial dominion almost by accident over established societies and cultures such as the Native Americans and the Mexicans. He looks at the how ending slavery was used as a convenient cover for imperialist expansionism.

He outlines the rise and rise of USA as an imperial power, as WW1 saw the collapse of the European empires, and WW2 marked the eclipse of the European empires by USA and heralded the formal independence of the African and Asian colonies. Considering the ideological conflict of the cold war, he notes Karl Polyani's Great Transformation and reflects that the financial 'crisis' vindicates its central point that the 'free market' is so destructive to societies and cultures as to be untenable. He concludes his speech with some reflections on the hypocrisy of the recent attack by US lead forces on Libya.

At the end of our first hour, and the remainder of the show, we hear Noam Chomsky speaking on 2011-05-11 at Nottingham High School, Syracuse NY on the topic of "What Drives US Foreign Policy and what we can do to change it". Chomsky looks at what really drives US foreign policy, exposing the hypocrisy of talk about humanitarianism and the quest for 'security'. As he notes, the US and UK leaders who attacked Iraq knew that it posed no military or terrorist threat to US, but that it would after being attacked. What is referred to as 'national security' is in fact the security of the hyperrich, the financial elite who control US.

Continuing in our second hour, Chomsky continues his analysis of where power resides in US, noting how obvious evidence such as the bailouts and the economic motives behind the invasion of Iraq are omitted by commercially motivated media. He draws several threads together, paying tribute to the courage of the Arab people, who are threatening to impose democracy on nations in which US foreign policy goal has been the maintenance of dictatorships.

Chomsky deconstructs frequently used foreign policy concepts such as 'stability', by examining their use in context. China, he suggests, is the real threat to the US, because they can't be intimidated. On the subject of what we can do to prevent such aggressive US foreign policy, he considers the US domestic political situation. His conclusion is that US citizens should take courage from the success of Egyptians and Tunisians in standing up to brutal oppression and take matters into their own hands.

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