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Chomsky: Nuclear Exchange Inevitable

DaPhatConductor

TRIBE Promoter
World in peril, Chomsky tells overflow crowd

By Brian Liberatore
Press & Sun-Bulletin

03/05/06 "Press & Sun-Bulletin " -- --There are dire consequences to the current direction of the U.S. foreign policy, said Noam Chomsky in a speech Saturday at Binghamton University. Among those consequences, he said, is a nuclear Armageddon.

"Under the current U.S. policies, a nuclear exchange is inevitable," the 77-year-old MIT professor said in his presentation, "Imminent Crises: Paths Toward Solutions." He spoke to an over-capacity crowd in BU's Osterhout Concert Theater.

Chomsky cited nuclear proliferation and environmental collapse as the two greatest crises that "literally threaten survival."

Since the 1960s Chomsky, a widely acclaimed professor of linguistics, has crusaded against political contradiction, nuclear proliferation and Israel's treatment of Palestinians. Regarded by many as the greatest intellectual alive today and dismissed by others as a radical, Chomsky has voiced harsh criticism against the foreign policy of the United States since World War II.

About 1,500 people crammed into the main theater, while a television broadcast the speech to a room of about 500 next door. Ushers were forced to turn hundreds of people away as the building filled beyond its capacity.

Asked whether he had anticipated the number of people, the building's operations director, Darryl Wood, responded, "Not this many, no."

Inside the theater, Chomsky delivered an account of the world's ills. He addressed the history of the Iraq conflict, the unrest it has fostered, and Iran's intentions for nuclear armament - a path, he said, that is directly tied to U.S. aggression in the Middle East. Chomsky outlined a course of action. "All of this is under our control if we're not willing to observe passively and obediently," he said. "Take democracy seriously."

Peter Klotz drove two hours from Siena College in Loudonville to see the professor. "He knows what he's talking about," Klotz said. "His ideas are certainly not new, but he presents things in a very concise manner."

John Hamilton, who drove from Ithaca to see Chomsky, stood up to ask a question during the question-and-answer period following Chomsky's speech. "My question is, what do you find hopeful?" Hamilton said.

"I think one should be very optimistic for the reasons I just mentioned," Chomsky said. "The large majority of the population already agrees with the things activists are committed to. All we have to do is organize people who are convinced."

© 2006 Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
 
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docta seuss

TRIBE Member
DaPhatConductor said:
Chomsky cited nuclear proliferation and environmental collapse as the two greatest crises that "literally threaten survival."
in other words, assholes are the greatest threat to our survival.
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Ditto Much said:
actually I'm with him on this, Chomsky always reads like he is paid by the word.

That's the most insightful, intellectual criticism of Chomsky I think I've ever heard!
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
atbell said:
I think that's the first time I have heard Chomsky described as concise.

You couldn't resist this one..

~atp~ said:
That's the most insightful, intellectual criticism of Chomsky I think I've ever heard!

I wasn't trying to be, I was agreeing with atbell. Chomsky is wordy and as far from being concise as I can imagine. I've always found him to be tangental and over descriptive and thus not concise.

But this really wasn't a stab at the man you worship and prey to brother.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
I can understand Chomsky's frustration that American foreign and environmental policies are not going his way, but telling people the world will end if they don't take action? Especially using words like "inevitable?" That's pretty weak coming from a man who is regarded (by some) as the greatest intellectual alive.
 

xopus

TRIBE Member
adrian, has it ever crossed your mind that maybe if we keep going in the direction we're going in, it is inevitable? I think Chomsky is right on the money with these remarks. It's people like you that are doing everything they can to lessen the validity of comments like this that are helping contribute to these problems at hand. If we ignore the issues, they are certainly not going to get any better. Take you head out of the sand and look at what is actually going on in the world. We're fucked, and Chomsky knows this. Don't dismiss his comments as him being frustrated that policies arent going his way, i think the issue at hand is a lot less petty then that.
 

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
i agree with his statements wholeheartedly,

what exactly are people's issue with his claim that US agression in the Mid-east is leading us down the inevitable path to nuclear or large scale conflict?

im in such fear of what could happen in the next few years im even investing more in gold becuase it raises in value during times of geo-political crisis.

put your money where your mouths are.
 
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Colm

TRIBE Member
Strange. I don't consider Chomsky the 'world's greatest intellectual' or a radical, so where does that leave me?

xopus/judge wopner - I'd criticize Chomsky for stating the blatantly obvious, and as usual, not offering any tangible solutions. Nuclear proliferation & environmental degradation have been regarded globally as the two biggest threats to human survival for over 60 & 40 years repectively. And 'take democracy seriously' is hardly what anyone ought to consider an idea, when its source is an MIT-professor (even if you are professor from an obscure American college).
 

dig this

TRIBE Member
DaPhatConductor said:
"I think one should be very optimistic for the reasons I just mentioned," Chomsky said. "The large majority of the population already agrees with the things activists are committed to. All we have to do is organize people who are convinced."

This is the most fucked up part of this, cause it's entirely true. Most of the population wants peace and is willing to forego certain priviliges for it (i.e. cheap gas just to be obvious.) But everybody has the mentality of "what can I as an individual do?".... The most frustrating thing is that if our world goes down in nuclear holocaust, it'll be because the majority of our population is just too passive to do anything about it. In the end we have no one else to blame but ourselves.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
xopus said:
adrian, has it ever crossed your mind that maybe if we keep going in the direction we're going in, it is inevitable? I think Chomsky is right on the money with these remarks. It's people like you that are doing everything they can to lessen the validity of comments like this that are helping contribute to these problems at hand.
Perhaps "people like me" see the irony in Chomsky's use of fear (in this case, the most extreme form of fear -- global armageddon) to further his political causes when he accuses his opponents of the very same tactic.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
xopus said:
so is nuclear war something that we shouldnt fear then?


Honestly on my list its hard to get much lower than nuclear war. Not only am I of the opinion that it simply won't happen I think the threats have been vastly exagerated.

But thats just me.

AdRiaN said:
Perhaps "people like me" see the irony in Chomsky's use of fear (in this case, the most extreme form of fear -- global armageddon) to further his political causes when he accuses his opponents of the very same tactic.

I'm with you on this, however lets face it regardless of its the pot calling the kettle black or vice versa it really changes nothing.
 
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man_slut

TRIBE Member
Not to steal from this thread but I just read an interview with Noam regarding Latin America... Here's a snipit and link if you wish to read the rest:

"What's happening is something completely new in the history of the hemisphere."

Noam Chomsky on the Hopeful Signs Across Latin America
By BERNIE DWYER

This interview by Bernie Dwyer took place on February 8, 2006 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge prior to a screening of the Irish/Cuban documentary "Mission Against Terror" about the five Cuban political prisoners*incarcerated in the US for taking action in Miami, USA to protect their country, Cuba, against terrorism.

Bernie Dwyer: I am reminded of a great Irish song called "The West's Awake" written by Thomas Davis in remembrance of the Fenian Uprising of 1798. It is about the west of Ireland asleep under British rule for hundreds of years and how it awoke from its slumbers and rose up against the oppressor. Could we now begin to hope that the South is awake?

Noam Chomsky: What's happening is something completely new in the history of the hemisphere. Since the Spanish conquest the countries of Latin America have been pretty much separated from one another and oriented toward the imperial power. There are also very sharp splits between the tiny wealthy elite and the huge suffering population. The elites sent their capital, took their trips, had their second homes, sent their children to study in whatever European country their country was closely connected with. I mean, even their transportation systems were oriented toward the outside for export of resources and so on.

For the first time, they are beginning to integrate and in quite a few different ways. Venezuela and Cuba is one case. MERCOSUR, [the trading association now including many Latin American countries] which is still not functioning very much, is another case. Venezuela, of course, just joined MERCOSUR, which is a big step forward for it and it was greatly welcomed by the presidents of Argentina, Brazil.

For the first time the Indian population is becoming politically quite active. They just won an election in Bolivia which is pretty remarkable. There is a huge Indian population in Ecuador, even in Peru, and some of them are calling for an Indian nation. Now they want to control their own resources. In fact, many don't even want their resources developed. Many don't see any particular point in having their culture and lifestyle destroyed so that people can sit in traffic jams in New York.

Furthermore, they are beginning to throw out the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In the past, the US could prevent unwelcome developments such as independence in Latin America, by violence; supporting military coups, subversion, invasion and so on. That doesn't work so well any more. The last time they tried in 2002 in Venezuela, the US had to back down because of enormous protests from Latin America, and of course the coup was overthrown from within. That's very new.

If the United States loses the economic weapons of control, it is very much weakened. Argentina is just essentially ridding itself of the IMF, as they say. They are paying off the debts to the IMF. The IMF rules that they followed had totally disastrous effects. They are being helped in that by Venezuela, which is buying up part of the Argentine debt.

Bolivia will probably do the same. Bolivia's had 25 years of rigorous adherence to IMF rules. Per capita income now is less than it was 25 years ago. They want to get rid of it. The other countries are doing the same. The IMF is essentially the US Treasury Department. It is the economic weapon that's alongside the military weapon for maintaining control. That's being dismantled.

All of this is happening against the background of very substantial popular movements, which, to the extent that they existed in the past, were crushed by violence, state terror, Operation Condor, one monstrosity after another. That weapon is no longer available.

Furthermore, there is South-South integration going on, so Brazil, and South Africa and India are establishing relations.

And again, the forces below the surface in pressing all of this are international popular organizations of a kind that never existed before; the ones that meet annually in the world social forums. By now several world social forums have spawned lots of regional ones; there's one right here in Boston and many other places. These are very powerful mass movements of a kind without any precedent in history: the first real internationals. Everyone's always talked about internationals on the left but there's never been one. This is the beginning of one.

These developments are extremely significant. For US planners, they are a nightmare. I mean, the Monroe Doctrine is about 180 years old now, and the US wasn't powerful enough to implement it until after the 2nd World War, except for the nearby region.

After the 2nd World War it was able to kick out the British and the French and implement it, but now it is collapsing. These countries are also diversifying their international relations including commercial relations. So there's a lot of export to China, and accepting of investment from China. That's particularly true of Venezuela, but also the other big exporters like Brazil and Chile. And China is eager to gain access to other resources of Latin America.

MORE...
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
Colm said:
Strange. I don't consider Chomsky the 'world's greatest intellectual' or a radical, so where does that leave me?

xopus/judge wopner - I'd criticize Chomsky for stating the blatantly obvious, and as usual, not offering any tangible solutions. Nuclear proliferation & environmental degradation have been regarded globally as the two biggest threats to human survival for over 60 & 40 years repectively. And 'take democracy seriously' is hardly what anyone ought to consider an idea, when its source is an MIT-professor (even if you are professor from an obscure American college).

Nicely put. Chomsky is (if I remember correctly) a linguist by training, is it any wonder that a linguist is able to rally legions of fans behind him through speeches and writing? That doesn't make him the "world's greatest intellectual", it doesn't even make him an intellectual, it makes him persuasive. If he were more of an intellectual he might offer some tangible solutions.

From what I have seen of Chomsky's writing / movies he seems to embody some of the best and the worst of left wing thinking in North America. He is good about brining issues of importance to the forefront while ensuring that they are well researched and clearly defined.

The problems I have seen with his work are not that he is a radical, I think he is far from that, it is more in the vain of popular appeal. His methods of communication alienate most of the population as he writes to much for the "average" person to read and he comes across as arrogant. The worst part is, as Colm points out, he offers few solutions ever. I have run into that argument many times when talking to conservative acquaintances, they always say "at least they [the bush admin for example] are doing something."
 

Onthereals

TRIBE Member
atbell said:
Nicely put. Chomsky is (if I remember correctly) a linguist by training, is it any wonder that a linguist is able to rally legions of fans behind him through speeches and writing? That doesn't make him the "world's greatest intellectual", it doesn't even make him an intellectual, it makes him persuasive. If he were more of an intellectual he might offer some tangible solutions.

From what I have seen of Chomsky's writing / movies he seems to embody some of the best and the worst of left wing thinking in North America. He is good about brining issues of importance to the forefront while ensuring that they are well researched and clearly defined.

The problems I have seen with his work are not that he is a radical, I think he is far from that, it is more in the vain of popular appeal. His methods of communication alienate most of the population as he writes to much for the "average" person to read and he comes across as arrogant. The worst part is, as Colm points out, he offers few solutions ever. I have run into that argument many times when talking to conservative acquaintances, they always say "at least they [the bush admin for example] are doing something."

Your argument is weak. You are trying to say that because he is a linguist, it his way with words that is charming people into listening to him, more than the content that he talks about. Are you serious? If Chomsky wanted to display his ease of language, he could have spent his whole life writing epic novels. You are dismissing him being an intellectual because he happened to study linguistics? Uhh because he can talk and write well it must mean he is trying to persuade people? That is ridiculus.

Uhh I think its the other way around, when most intellectuals write for the tiny academic base who can understand the language they use are the ones who come off as being arrogant, or elitist. Again, weak argument.

But the worst one of all is when people say that he does not provide any solutions! I dont understand why people think that there needs to be a step-by-step plan written out in order for people to think there is a plan. The solution that he keeps on saying is that people need to become more politically aware, more active, and exercise their right in democracy. The next article mentioned in this thread about latin america displays the solutions he is talking about, popular movements, less apathy. I guess that isnt your cup of tea for a solution so you continue to think there isnt any. And that is the most retarded thing to say that 'at least the bush administation is doing something' YES it is because they are in POWER. They have the ABILITY to impose their will becuase they are in the position to. Chomsky would never be elected to a position of power like that, because his ideology goes against all those who currently hold power, (ie CEO and corporate interests) so of course it would never happen. He is in a limited position to do anything you retards expect to do, because he cant, and there is vested interest by others so that he cant.

So cut the man some slack, and stop nit-picking about how he delivers the message, and actually discuss the issues he is talking about.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
I'm amazed at how cliche this entire thread really is. There are valid criticisms of Chomsky, none of which have been presented here.
 
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AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
~atp~ said:
I'm amazed at how cliche this entire thread really is. There are valid criticisms of Chomsky, none of which have been presented here.
Telling people they do not understand Chomsky is a cliche.
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
AdRiaN said:
Telling people they do not understand Chomsky is a cliche.

Your retort has no substance. My remark about this thread is motivated by the observation that most superficial criticisms of Chomsky are an attempt at discrediting his character, his writing style, his academic background, but never the content of his writing. atbell's remark on "providing solutions" is an unfounded statement that can, in fact, be easily refuted.


By the way, I never said "people do not understand Chomsky".
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
AdRiaN said:
Perhaps "people like me" see the irony in Chomsky's use of fear (in this case, the most extreme form of fear -- global armageddon) to further his political causes when he accuses his opponents of the very same tactic.

The difference being one side is for more warfare and the other for peace.
 
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