Hopes and prospects (Noam Chomsky) [2010]

Hopes and prospects SE15 (7)

Läst på planet hem från Seoul. Boken fick mig att öppna ögonen för import substitution industrialization (vilket fantastiskt, självförklarande begrepp).

Boken är precis vad Pilger skriver: ”a bonfire of myths and lies”. Den inledande texten (Year 514) är en betraktelse av kolonialismens svallvågor i t.ex. Haiti och Bangladesh – två länder som var framgångssagor innan de ”konkurrensutsattes” och ”strukturanpassades”. Det är också en blick in i imperiets hjärta; behandlingen av Amerikas ursprungsbefolkning – folkmord upphöjd till civilisatorisk gospel. Demokratin och neoliberalismens motsatsförhållande utforskas på djupet. Det är välbekanta teman, men boken är en av de absolut bästa och inspirerade jag läst av honom. Chomsky rör sig flinkt mellan länder, konflikter och synbart orelaterade historiska händelser knyts samman och jämförs, varigenom dubbelmoralen i den gängse beskrivningen blottas. Hela världen angår honom, eftersom den angår oss alla.

Haiti Feb 2004 – Dec 2005 (Aristide störtad i statskupp): enligt artikel i Lancet mördas 8 000, våldtäkter skjuter i höjden, de skyldiga främst polis, FN-trupper, endast fåtal Aristide-vänliga trupper.

”frihandelsavtal”: ”investor rights, not trade”

Citerar kejsare Hirohito:

”…we declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to ensure Japan’s self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from Our thought either to infi-inge upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.” 

There was a revealing illustration a few days after the Palestinian elections of January 2006. The New York Times published a review of a collection of Osama bin Laden’s pronouncements. The reviewer, constitutional lawyer Noah Feldman, described Osama’s descent to greater and greater evil over the years, finally reaching the absolute lower depths, when ”he put forth the perverse claim that since the United States is a democracy, all citizens bear responsibility for its government’s actions, and civilians are therefore fair targets.” Ultimate evil—and quite acceptable practice, as the Times reported two days later, when the United States and Israel announced that all Palestinians bear responsibility for the government they had just elected, so that they are all fair targets for terror and economic strangulation. Like Cubans. 

We should not, however, underestimate the element of genuine fear, which is deeply rooted in American culture. The basic theme was expressed plaintively by President Lyndon Johnson, speaking to troops in Asia. ”There are 3 billion people in the world and we have only 200 million of them,” he warned. ”We are outnumbered 15 to 1. If might did make right they would sweep över the United States and take what we have. We have what they want.”  

The hazards of what is now called ”neoliberalism” were recognized quite early. One prominent example is Adam Smith. The term ”invisible hand” appears only once in his classic Wealth of Nations. His primary concern was England. He warned that if English merchants and manufacturers were free to import, export, and invest abroad, they would profit while English society would be harmed. But that is unlikely to happen, he argued. The reason is that English capitalists would prefer to invest and purchase in the home country, so as if by an ”invisible hand,” England would be spared the ravages of economic liberalism.

Om privat kontra statsunderstödd innovation (med tanke på att i princip alla tekniska landvinningar vi åtnjuter har sitt ursprung i statlig/militär grundforskning):

Of the examples that Greenspan gives, the only one that does not come directly from the state sector is transistors. They were developed in a private laboratory, the Bell Telephone Laboratories, which also made major contributions to science over a broad range. But the role of markets in transistor development was slight. The parent corporation AT&T had a government-guaranteed monopoly on telephone service…

Om handel:

In the old Soviet Union, if parts were produced in Leningrad, sent to Poland for assembly, and sold in Moscow, borders would have been crossed, but it was not called ”trade” in Western commentary: rather, interactions within a command economy And the same is true when GM produces parts in Indiana, sends them to Mexico for assembly, and sells the cars in New York. Since corporations are largely unaccountable to the public, the scale of suche ”trade” is unknown, but it is generally estimated at about 40 percent of trade…

Om Camelot-gänget; JFK:

It soon turned out that everyone had always been a strong opponent of the war (in deep silence). The Kennedy memoirists sharply revised their accounts to fit the new requirement that JFK was a secret dove…

STRATCOM-rapport (”madman theory”, Nixon’s maxim):

Furthermore, ”it hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed.” The ”national persona we project ”should make clear ”that the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked” and that ”some elements may appear to be potentially ‘out of control.'” 

NPT = Non-Proliferation Treaty:

The words of the NPT are quite clear: ”Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes… 

Afghanistan under sovjetisk ockupation: analfabetism sjönk från 98% till 75%, kvinnor och män lika rätt juridiskt.

Om ”skuld”:

The My Lai massacre is an example. It was a mere footnote to the vastly greater atrocities of the post-Tet pacification programs, ignored while indignation focused on this single crime. Watergate was doubtless criminal, but the furor over it displaced incomparably worse crimes at home and abroad—the FBI-organized assassination of Black organizer Fred Hampton as part of the infamous COINTELPRO repression, or the bombing of Cambodia, to mention two egregious examples… Torture is hideous enough; the invasion of Iraq is a far worse crime. Quite commonly, selective attention to atrocities has this unfortunate fimction. 

Fröet till Ukraina-konflikten 2014-idag:

As the Soviet Union collapsed, Gorbachev made an astonishing concession: he permitted a unified Germany to join a hostile military alliance run by the global superpower, though Germany alone had almost destroyed Russia twice in the century. There was a quid pro quo, recently clarified. It had been thought that Bush I and his secretary of state James Baker promised not to expand NATO to the East, but in the first careful study of the original documents, Mark Kramer, apparently seeking to refute charges of U.S. duplicity, in fact shows that it went far beyond what had been assumed. It turns out that Bush-Baker promised that NATO would not even fully extend to East Germany (GDR). They told Gorbachev that ”no NATO forces would ever be deployed on the territory of the former GDR…” 

  • eviscerate = remove internal organs
  • enunciate = clearly express, clarify
  • boilerplate = ”standardformulering”
  • tarry = söla, dröja
  • denouement = upplösning av ett drama
  • perfidious = svekfull, gemen (perfidy = svek)
  • asinine = foolish
  • miscreant = heretical
  • vitiate = corrupt, render ineffective, blemish
  • stalwart = loyal


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