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Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for…

Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance (2003)

by Noam Chomsky

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2,578183,705 (3.93)21
In this book Noam Chomsky offers an analysis of America's pursuit of total domination and the catastrophic consequences that follow. The United States is in the process of staking out not just the globe but the last unarmed spot in our neighborhood-the heavens-as a militarized sphere of influence. Our earth and its skies are, for the Bush administration, the final frontiers of imperial control. In Hegemony or survival, Noam Chomsky investigates how we came to this moment, what kind of peril we find ourselves in, and why our rulers are willing to jeopardize the future of our species. Chomsky dissects America's quest for global supremacy, tracking the U.S. government's aggressive pursuit of policies intended to achieve "full spectrum dominance" at any cost. He lays out how the various strands of policy-the militarization of space, the ballistic-missile defense program, unilateralism, the dismantling of international agreements, and the response to the Iraqi crisis-cohere in a drive for hegemony that ultimately threatens our survival. In our era, he argues, empire is a recipe for an earthly wasteland.… (more)
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The title refers to Chomsky's belief that the world has two mutually exclusive options: American global hegemony, or the survival of the human race. The premise is interesting, but gets bogged down in the academic intelligentsia style of writing--it's off putting and not conducive to casual reading for big picture understanding. Maybe if it weren't an audio book, one could read and skim without assault. Long parenthetical phrases and big words sag the story. This, from a linguistics professor/professional. The book was written in 2004 and the liberal, left leaning, academic author bashes Bush (W) right off and doesn't stop there. Seems like every body who ever drove the beltway is at fault. Multiple case studies are used to defend the points he's making; they get old after awhile. Liking a book of this type usually depends upon where you stand politically but I couldn't get past the writing style and tone. I'll not read another Chomsky book. ( )
1 vote buffalogr | Dec 19, 2015 |
Noam Chomsky, a well-known left-wing academic, writes here about globalization’s political impact as a main point of the U.S. foreign policy. Political economics is very sensitive subject, but Chomsky in this book attacks as he argues that U.S. foreign policy has been imperialist and heavy handed since World War I. He speaks of that in the invasion of Iraq, and elsewhere, the U.S. disregarded the U.N. as well as public opinion at home and abroad. Chomsky makes important points, but I feel he would have a larger and politically more diverse audience if he developed a more detailed andd less harsh sounding writing style, provided more background on some events he covers, particularly America’s political and military interventions. He is provocative, harsh and very negative about the U.S. even calling us a “terrorist state.” For me despite beliefs very different from my own this book helped me to gain more and a better insight into our country’s politics ( )
  Elliot1822 | May 2, 2013 |
i do love chomsky but i have to admit that i got through this because of pure determination and wanted to finish it for finishing its' sake. it was very good- i just don't want to pretend that i breezed through. it took a lot of me reminding myself that i had a goal of completing it. ha ha! but i swear, it was worth it. ( )
  julierh | Apr 7, 2013 |
One of the more rational, clear-headed thinkers out there. Chomsky's book is well-thought out and, in my opinion, fairly uncontroversial - just because you might not agree with him doesn't make him wrong - everything he says is backed up with real evidence, and he's pretty good about showing the evidence in the other direction, too. A must-read.

Noam Chomsky was one of those authors who would show up from time to time on my undergraduate mass communications degree reading lists. Though a linguist and philosophy professor at MIT, he has written many works that also lie firmly in political science and media studies. At the time, however, I remember dreading the Chomsky readings. However, I have grown to truly appreciate much of his work, mostly because I have learned more since then and am now more ready to understand and engage with his work.*

In this book, Chomsky outlines the tactic of 'full spectrum dominance' pursued by the American government in its international relations since at least the end of WWII. From the Bay of Pigs, through Nicaragua, Cuba, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and, most recently (at least at the time the book was written, in 2003), Iraq, the U.S. has followed policies and practices geared toward global control, a new kind of colonialism. At the same time, it has fairly consistently worked to undermine certain principles of international law, and refused to recognize many instruments of international justice, such as the World Court and the International Criminal Tribunal.

I'm going to leave the review at that, closing off with a blurb from author Arundhati Roy on the book, because she says it better than I could:

'If, for reasons of chance, or circumstance, (or sloth), you have to pick just one book on the subject of the American Empire, pick this one. It's the Full Monty. It's Chomsky at his best. Hegemony or Survival is necessary reading.'

For more on this topic, see the American Empire Project.

* Sometimes I feel that university is wasted on 17-21 year old students. Better we all go at 32, no? ( )
1 vote pixxiefish | Apr 26, 2009 |
This was very enlightening. I truly appreciate the writings of Chomsky. ( )
  SFlores | Jan 23, 2009 |
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His work is dense and filled with non sequiturs (here he seeks to use the Cuban missile crisis to explain the Iraq war, which is a little like using the first Moon landing to explain the dotcom boom). He claims to confront the comfortable with uncomfortable facts they don't want to face. Yet his audience is primarily a comfortable Western audience.
added by mikeg2 | editThe Guardian, Nick Cohen (Dec 14, 2003)
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