We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
title

Chomsky's Challenge to American Power

A Guide for the Critical Reader

Anthony F. Greco

Publication Year: 2014

Noam Chomsky is a pioneering scholar in the field of linguistics, but he is better known as a public intellectual: an iconoclastic, radical critic of US politics and foreign policy. Chomsky's Challenge examines most of the major subjects Chomsky has dealt with in his nearly half century of intellectual activism--the Vietnam War, America's broader international role (especially its interventions in the Third World), the structure of power in American politics, the role of the media and of intellectuals in forming public opinion, and American foreign policy in the post-Cold War world.


Chomsky is as controversial as he is influential. Admirers see him as a courageous teller of unpleasant truths about political power and those who wield it in the United States. Critics view him as a propagandist and ideologue who sees only black and white where there are multiple shades of gray. While Chomsky's fans tend to view him uncritically, his critics often don't take him seriously. Unlike any previous work, this book takes Chomsky seriously while treating him critically. The author gives Chomsky credit for valuable contributions to our understanding of the contemporary political world, but spares no criticism of the serious deficiencies he sees in Chomsky's political analyses.

Published by: Vanderbilt University Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (429.8 KB)
pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF (412.0 KB)
pp. vii-viii

read more

Preface and Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF (439.2 KB)
pp. ix-xii

Professor Noam Chomsky is a giant in the field of linguistics. This book is not about Chomsky the linguist. It is about Noam Chomsky the thinker-activist whose searing critiques of American foreign policy and politics have earned him a reputation as one of the world’s leading public intellectuals. I am interested in exploring and evaluating Chomsky’s writings on politics—“politics” understood...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (438.6 KB)
pp. 1-4

It started with the Vietnam War. Long before the fateful escalation of the war in the mid-1960s, Noam Chomsky had won recognition as a seminal figure in the field of linguistics, but was little known outside that field. He was certainly not known as a commentator on politics. That is not to say that Chomsky was apolitical. As a child growing up in the Great Depression in Philadelphia he had...

read more

1. Vietnam

pdf iconDownload PDF (649.3 KB)
pp. 5-52

A survey of 110 leading American intellectuals in the early 1970s ranked Noam Chomsky by far the most influential intellectual critic of America’s war in Vietnam. 1 Chomsky’s case against the war was essentially a moral indictment of US policy: it challenged the official justifications American leaders advanced for war and emphasized the devastating impact of US intervention on the people of Vietnam....

read more

2. Cold War Empire

pdf iconDownload PDF (645.9 KB)
pp. 53-98

Critics and supporters of America’s role in Indochina have widely agreed that the Vietnam War was not an aberration. The US commitment to war in Indochina was a natural and logical consequence—though perhaps not an inevitable one—of basic assumptions and strategies that had underpinned American foreign policy since at least the end of World War II. This is certainly Chomsky’s view, but ...

read more

3. Domestic Power and Global Purpose

pdf iconDownload PDF (538.3 KB)
pp. 99-120

Why did America build its Cold War empire? Statesmen, political scientists, and pundits often speak in terms of “national interests” that a nation’s leaders seek to defend as they chart their country’s course in international affairs. Chomsky, instead, firmly rejects the very idea that there can be “national interests” presumably shared by all of the people of a country. It is a “mystification,” he writes, to...

read more

4. Ideology, Illusion, and the Media

pdf iconDownload PDF (601.9 KB)
pp. 121-159

As Chomsky sees it, the need to “shape the prevailing ideology” is the natural consequence of the combination of elite dominance and procedural democracy that exists in the United States and most advanced countries.1 In the United States, according to Chomsky, “perhaps more than anywhere else in the world,...

read more

5. America in the Post-Cold War World

pdf iconDownload PDF (645.8 KB)
pp. 160-206

The Cold War came to an end around 1990: America’s Soviet adversary first freed its empire and then essentially dissolved itself. The threat of international Communism—the dominant theme of American foreign policy practically since the end of World War II—had collapsed. This transformation in the international political scene might presumably have spurred dramatic changes in US foreign...

read more

Summary and Conclusions

pdf iconDownload PDF (521.9 KB)
pp. 207-230

It should be clear by now that I believe Noam Chomsky has been right about a great many important issues during the course of his long career as a public intellectual. He was right to condemn America’s war in Vietnam not merely as a disastrous mistake but as a moral catastrophe: it was a war that inflicted massive violence on a noncombatant population the United States claimed to be...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF (546.6 KB)
pp. 231-250

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF (466.7 KB)
pp. 251-260


E-ISBN-13: 9780826519498
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826519474
Print-ISBN-10: 0826519474

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2014

Research Areas

Recommend

Subject Headings

  • United States -- Foreign relations.
  • Hegemony -- United States.
  • Chomsky, Noam.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access