Hegemony or Survival : America's Quest for Global Dominance

by Noam Chomsky

Hardcover, 2003




New York Metropolitan Books 2003


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)

Media reviews

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
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audience is primarily a comfortable Western audience.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member bloom
Noam Chomsky provides yet another sweeping political indictment of the United States, and this time he places the human species entire as potential victims of far-right elite power. This volume is extraordinarily broad and far-reaching. Chomsky discusses the Bush doctrine, Iraq, the Middle East,
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Globalization, the Cold War, and Nuclear proliferation to name justa few. His scholarship is praiseworthy, although he continues to overstretch himself. On the issue of the FRY, Chomsky continues to make false assumptions about the appropriate response to Serbian aggression. He is not an expert on this issue, and relies almost entirely on leftist publications, though his section on Israel-Palestine is evidence of his continued mastery of the topic.

A few points to raise: Chomsky occasionally applies passing references to well established systems of thinking without quoting directly. For example, in discussing Clinton's unilateral bombing of the al-Shifa plant in Sudan in 1998, he refers to "the Hegelian doctrine that Africans are `mere things', whose lives have `no value.'" (pg. 207). No direct reference to Hegel is provided. Additionally Chomsky claims on page 100 that "the figure of $17 billion is the amount that Iraq has paid to people and companies [...]", without a citation. Chomsky also quotes Paul Wolfowitz to the fact that he was "praising the monstrous Suharto and supporting the brutal and corrupt Marcos" (pg. 114), without proper citation. One last scholarly issue, on page 233, Chomsky writes that "Washington had argued that `access to American bio-defense installations' might reveal military secrets" but he refers to the Judith Miller in the footnote (see #35 pg. 266), who later of course turned out to be a rubbish journalist.

Never the less, Chomsky's belief that the forces of U.S. power are a threat to the survival of the human race are legitimate and worth taking seriously. His knowledge of politics is undeniably intimidating, yet I disagree with his incessant employment of the term "truism" (see esp. chapter 8 `Terrorism and Justice, pgs. 187- 216), there are no "truisms" in human affairs. No matter how scrupulously one arranges facts, facts are all they remain, not "truisms." Even the most reputable journalists, scholars, and human rights organizations are incapable of reporting the facts truthfully and correctly.
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LibraryThing member buffalogr
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member urhockey22
Outstanding book. It is not a light read, but it is powerful and insightful.
LibraryThing member Bookalicious
I've always been one to question Noam Chomsky's positions on issues, and at times have even felt his proclivity for citing himself in support of an argument to be a bit questionable from a scholarly perspective. But that being said, this is an excellent read. Despite what one may think of this
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author's point of view there is much to be considered within this book.

Chomsky supports his arguments and delivers them in a concise way that puts into context so much of recent histories worst attrocities. I recomend this book highly for any one who is ready to see what has been well hidden by a very tight knit group of commercial interests and elitists who do not have the needs of humanity at heart.
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LibraryThing member Angelic55blonde
This is a great book and a must read, especially in this particular global situation. Noam Chomsky tells it like it is and you don't have to agree with it but you have to admit that he does back up what he is saying with research and facts. I personally agree with most of what he says but even if
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you aren't particularly a fan of his, you should still read this book because of what he has to say. It's interesting and important.
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LibraryThing member beeaz
Great read, contemporary insight from one of the most prolific thinkers of our times and a stern warning about the probable outcomes of emerging patterns in geo-politics
LibraryThing member luvdancr
while Chomsky tends to ramble about all that he is knowledgeable about, I found that this book really had a wealth of thought provoking ideas, but were sometimes lost in the words. I get a little bored reading it at times, but it's well worth the read.
LibraryThing member Elliot1822
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
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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
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