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CHOMSKY’S POLITICAL VIEWS

Chomsky occupies a secure place in intellectual history for his contributions to


linguistic analysis. Indeed, just as there is pre- and post-Einstein physics. There is also a pre-
and post-Chomsky linguistics.

During the Vietnam War, Chomsky’s political protests consumed as much of his
attention as his research into linguistics. He traveled to Southeast Asia and reported on the
cruel acts and lies of the US government and the press involved. His passionate defense of
the victims led him to issue sweeping accusations against his country’s foreign policies all
around the world. He argued the two super powers needed each other as a means of
disguising their real reasons for the arms race. The Soviets suppressed internal resistance
by keeping people fearful of the United States, while the US used fear of the Soviets to
justify building up the necessary means to repress and exploit Third World societies.
Although he criticized both sides, he leveled his most biting attacks against his own
country.

In 1970s and ‘80s, Chomsky focused on US misdeeds in Central America and


especially in the Middle East. His analysis of the Gulf War was probably the clearest among
the many critical observers of American policies. He has consistently defended the
Palestinians against the human rights violations imposed by the Israeli government-abuses
that Chomsky says would have stopped long ago if the US had not overlooked them.

Chomsky traced the history of American policies, by suggesting that the US had
long hoped to extend the Monroe Doctrine1 to the Middle East, which it recognized as the
“most strategically important area in the world-a big source of strategic power and one of
the greatest imperial prizes in world history.”

The British had controlled the region through a three tier system, and the Americans
adopted their system. They left the oil under the management of dependent local family
dictatorships, who did what they were told. They ensured that the profits flowed primarily
to the US and Britain, who determined the appropriate price range.

Chomsky said that the Arab aspect is weak. That means that they have to be protected
from a regional enemy, namely the regional population, which is ‘backward’ and
‘uncivilized’ and does not comprehend why the richest economic prize in the world must
benefit the western investors. Accordingly, it is necessary to establish a second level of
control-what the Nixon administration called ‘local cops on the beat’. That was Iran under
the Shah, Turkey, Pakistan and Israel.

U.S. foreign policy statement: the political principle, as stated by President James Monroe in 1823, that Europe
should no longer involve itself in the American continent by exerting influence.
The policy was part of the U.S. recognition of the independence of several Latin American countries.

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1
And the third level of control was the US, and British muscle in the background, if needed.
American dominance in the region was guarded by two local ‘cops on the beat’-Israel on
the Mediterranean, Iran on the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. Chomsky said that after the
fall of Shah, Israel and Saudi Arabia cooperated to sell US military equipment to elements
of the Iranian army. The reason, as they publicly explained, was to stimulate a military
action to restore the old order. That is the classic technique for overthrowing civilian
governments.

After a diplomatic activity, a basic agreement was reached at the UN Security


Council with Resolution242. It calls for full peace between Israel and the Arab states in
return for full withdrawal from the occupied territories. That was indeed official US policy,
repeated under the Nixon administration in 1969 -- Full peace in return for full withdrawal.
Well, at the time Israel refused withdrawal and the Arabs refused full peace, so there was a
block to progress.

That block to progress was broken in February1971. Chomsky states that at that
time, President Sadat of Egypt agreed to the official American Policy. He offered his full
peace treaty in terms of UN 242, in return for full withdrawal and only withdrawal from the
Sinai. The United States had to make a decision. Was it going to go along with its own
official policy and support Egypt against Israel, or was it going to shift policy? There was an
internal debate over it.

In the mid-1970s, Chomsky continued, the international consensus shifted to a non-


rejectionist position: a two state settlement that would recognize the national rights of
both groups. In 1976, a resolution came to the Security Council calling for a full political
settlement in terms of UN.242, and for a Palestinian state to be created in the West Bank
and the Gaza Strip, for which Israel was to withdraw. The US vetoed that resolution then
and again in 1980. In every session of the General Assembly, there are votes on a similar
resolution, and the numbers run something like 150 to 2.

In 1992, Peter Wintonick and Mark Achbar made a famous documentary film about
Chomsky called Manufacturing Consent-a little borrowed directly from one of the activist
intellectual’s well-known books about the self-censorship of the press in free societies. In
his first interview for Vision TV, Barrie Zwicker asked Chomsky to explain his assertion that
the news media are ‘profoundly reactionary’. What it foll0wed was a free-ranging
discussion of the press in free and totalitarian society, especially with respect to the
holocaust. And the third level of control was the US, and British muscle in the background,
if needed. American dominance in the region was guarded by two local ‘cops on the beat’-
Israel on the Mediterranean, Iran on the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. Chomsky said that
after the fall of Shah, Israel and Saudi Arabia cooperated to sell US military equipment to
elements of the Iranian army. The reason, as they publicly explained, was to stimulate a
military action to restore the old order. That is the classic technique for overthrowing
civilian governments. Written and Composed By

Prof. A. R. Somroo

M.A. English, M.A. Education

Cell: 03339971417