By any standard, Chomsky’s many works exposing the lies and deception of American imperial myths are inescapable reading for serious students of U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. In this essay we shall consider why his writings do not come in for scrutiny from academic scholars even as they attract a vast readership in the general public.
Noam Chomsky: The Most Widely Read Dissident Voice on U.S. Foreign Policy
by Gilbert Doctorow, Ph.D.
By any standard, Chomsky’s many works exposing the lies and deception of American imperial myths are inescapable reading for serious students of U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War period. Captions on the cover of his recent books show that even media which feel the lash of his whip freely acknowledge his cult status. The New York Times says of him: “Chomsky is a global phenomenon…perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet.” The Observer calls him “the world’s greatest public intellectual.” And The Guardian characterizes Chomsky as “a towering intellect.”
Professor emeritus in MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, aged 81, Noam Chomsky has been a major contributor to the discourse on U.S. foreign policy ever since the 1960s when he became actively involved in the antiwar movement. The list of his of articles and books published year after year since then up to the present day shows remarkable political commitment as well as the uninterrupted accumulation of factual evidence to support his beliefs.
In this essay we shall examine three of his books published within the post-Cold War period. My resumé of what these books are about will be brief, because, in effect, Chomsky’s books are a continuum. Each new volume may be called a later edition of the foregoing work rather than a self-standing new monograph. By constantly repeating himself and reusing much of the same documentary material, Chomsky’s writings are immediately identifiable.
The books under examination here are:
Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (2003)
Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy (2006)
Interventions (2007 expanded edition)
© Gilbert Doctorow, 2010
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For the full analysis, see the author’s 2010 book Great Post-Cold War American Thinkers on International Relations. G. Doctorow was a 2010-2011 Visiting Scholar of the Harriman Institute of Columbia University. He is today (2013) an occasional lecturer at St. Petersburg State University and a Research Fellow of the American University in Moscow. His latest work, published in April 2013, is Stepping Out of Line: Collected (Non-conformist) Essays on Russian-American Relations, 2008-12. Both works are available from amazon.com and amazon websites worldwide in paperback and e-book editions. They are also on sale at Barnes & Noble and other leading bookstores.