Friday, February 24, 2012

Noam Chomsky: Decline of U.S. empire in perspective



Noam Chomsky writes in Al Jazeera of the decline of U.S. imperial power. Chomsky notes that the U.S. decline is relative rather than absolute. Certainly the U.S. still is by the far the greatest military power in the World and still the most powerful economy as well.

However, as Chomsky sees it power is becoming more widely distributed than it was. Chomsky notes for example how South American countries have in many instances esablished a certain independence from the U.S. Many have no U.S. military bases and have also escaped dependence on IMF loans. A new organisation has been formed CELAC that includes all Northern and Southern America countries except the U.S. and Canada.

The U.S. is having trouble controlling MENA (Middle East/ North Africa) countries as well. The Arab Spring threatened long time allies in countries such as Egyp. However the situation for the U.S. is not that dire. Saudi Arabia and the UAE members including Bahrain remain allies. In Libya western powers again have considerable influence having helped rebels oust Gadaffi. However Chomsky argues that the U.S. fears authentic democracy in Arab countries because public opinion is opposed to U.S. positions especially with respect to Israel. Chomsky notes that PalestinePalestine is an excellent example of U.S. fear of democracy.

In January 2006 an election in Palestine that was regarded as free and fair by western monitors resulted in the wrong result as Hamas won. The Palestinians faced harsh penalties for voting the wrong way.
The U.S. supports democracy but only if the democratic results fit in with the aims and objectives of the U.S. This Chomsky notes was the conclusion of the Reaganite scholar Thomas Carothers after studying U.S. democracy promotion. NOTE: Sometimes however the result is not under the complete control of the U.S. as for example in Iraq where the Shia majority were able to gain power due to changes in the Iraq voting system.

Chomsky spends a considerable time discussing the Israel Palestine situation. I am not sure how all of this relates to the decline of the U.S. empire although Chomsky shows how ludicrous it is to think that the U.S. could be an honest broker in negotiations betwee Israel and Palestine. For much more see the full article. Chomsky notes of course that other centers of power are developing in China and India. The U.S. is orienting policy in part to try and contain China's developing clout in Southe-East Asia.

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