Interview: Noam Chomsky on the Crisis Engulfing the West

Prof. Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist and activist. (photo: Va Shiva)
Prof. Noam Chomsky, linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist and activist. (photo: Va Shiva)

By Afshin Rattansi, RT

30 August 15

This excerpt is from an extended interview with Noam Chomsky by Afshin Rattansi for the RT show Going Underground. It has been transcribed by RSN – JA/RSN

fshin Rattansi goes underground with Noam Chomsky on the crisis engulfing the West. From drone strikes in Yemen to potential conflict with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, he looks at the ‘disaster’ of neoliberalism. With left-wing movements resisting the US hegemony from South America to Europe, could the dominance of the US on the global stage be coming to an end? And with the IMF arguably suppressing democracy in Greece after their election, we take a look at the sway they hold over the UK.

Afshin Rattansi: Demonstrations in London by Global Justice Now against the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP today may not garner much mainstream media attention but its probable that many of the activists are protesting with being inspired by the work of our next guest, Professor Noam Chomsky is the most cited living academic in the world and he joins me now from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Welcome Noam to Going Underground. The UN Secretary General is saying he wants an immediate ceasefire in Yemen. There was a drone strike from the Obama administration Tuesday and thousands are dead and wounded. What lies behind the Obama strategy in Yemen?

Noam Chomsky: Well there are two main prongs to the current Obama strategy. They happen to be in conflict, which causes some problems in Washington. One is the drone campaign. Yemen has been the main target of the global assassination campaign. The most extraordinary global terrorism campaign in history. It is officially aimed at the … as in this last strike … it is aimed at people who are suspected of potentially being a danger to the United States. That’s a pretty extreme form of terrorism. But it’s accepted in the West. And Yemen has been the main target. Of course it’s also a terror generating campaign, as is understood at the highest level. When you say attack a village and murder somebody who you’re aiming at and maybe a couple of other people who are standing around, that does tend to elicit a call for revenge. And it has undoubtedly, it’s not even questionable, increased what we call ‘terrorism.’ So it’s a terrorism campaign, an incredible one. And also increasing terror as we can see.

The other prong is support for Saudi invasion, the bombing, the blockade, which has barred food and other supplies by air or by sea, direct bombing attacks also killing people regularly. These two things happen to be somewhat in conflict because the U.S. is supporting the Saudi attack and the Saudi attack, exported by the United States is offering a space for the operations of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the main source of what we call terror. So for example, the New York Times has an article on how Al Qaeda is expanding in Yemen, conquering new banks, cites, so on, because of the space that is left open by the war against the Houthi, the Saudi war who were the main enemy of Al Qaeda and are now engaged in a war basically with Saudi Arabia and now the United States. So these two elements of policy, both of them extremely harmful to Yemen, are also somewhat in conflict, which creates a problem for planners in Washington.

For full interview, watch video above


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