Noam Chomsky. 2004. Hegemony or Survival. Australia. Penguin Books. 301 pages, ISBN: 978-0I4I-03734-9. A$9.95rrp

Either you are with us or against us”

Noam Chomsky has written one of the boldest pieces in the form of Hegemony or Survival.  It aims to dissect the grand strategy of Imperialism of United States since the beginning of 20th Century. The very word hegemony implies dominance of one country over the other making the book a national bestseller for its unapologetic tone and sharp critique of the America’s foreign Policy.

Chomsky has covered major political turmoil unfolding in America’s history post World War II.  He investigates with his sheer logical assertions about the world being Unipolar in the pursuit of hegemonic dominance of a single country that eventually destabilizes the world with such uneven power concentration. He aims to reveal the hidden fault lines in democratic policies of United States particularly in relation to Middle East, whether it was Iran, Iraq, Turkey or Israel.

Chomsky meticulously documented United States’ Unilateralism, a neocolonial world with major focus on Bush’s era and the rise of global terrorism post 9/11 that ultimately threatens the existence or survival of human species. He raises serious issues from Weapon of Mass Destruction to Nuclear warfare, militarization to political pressure on one country by the other. Chomsky mentions the diplomatic ties of modern world that is self-centered and to a very extent motivated by personal gains.

Hegemony or Survival convincingly analyzes the hidden agenda behind the display of power and its disastrous consequences. Orwellian in character, it portrays a ‘big brother’ image of US that pursues a continuous surveillance of the world all over. The book also raises questions over the functioning of International bodies like UN that are shown almost irrelevant, particularly in relation to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The demand for regional stability at the cost of its devastation is central to the book. Chomsky repeatedly focuses on the International Organizations in relation to a few dominant countries.

The book is divided in nine chapters traces the major events that have completely shaken the world as well as America’s responsibility that the established foreign powers are “in the hands of the good but a few”, evolved from Wilsonian Idealism. Chomsky has extensively researched that reflects in his powerful phrases in the book, referred from different newspaper articles, journals, interviews and TV shows. He revisits history to know the present and future. The sole aim of the book is to introspect into the democratic ideals of America that seem threatened in pursuit of global hegemony. The case of Iraq, after 9/11, was resonated as the next most threatening power to the United States that must be stopped at all cost. The Bush-Blair coalition reiterated their plans to stabilize the world and fight against the terrorism by protecting it from Saddam Hussian- the dictator, who “is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons in order to dominate, intimidate or attack.” Chomsky mentions strong political reactions all over the world in response to US’ rejection of UN charter, violating international laws, the resolutions and that it holds power to do as it wills. However, the invasion of Iraq in order to defend itself and the world from Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program legitimized the operation carried out, even though no such weapon development program was carried out in Iraq. The book further focuses on the allies of United States like Israel that was politically backed as well as militarily supported in the Middle East to serve as an all-weather partner. Chomsky also exposes the atrocities done by Muslim countries in the region, like Turkey on its Kurdish population and even the tyranny of Iraqi regime. The series of events and its outcomes are very well analyzed that compels us to think about the security of our civilization.

Hegemony or Survival ends with a note on the democratic culture that must be safeguarded at all cost. It talks about larger problems looming all over the world in pursuit of power, dominance and authority that eventually threatens the very existence of human kind. The world is equipped with dangerous weapons that can easily put an end to the very existence of society. The book is leftist but one cannot ignore the facts presented by Noam Chomsky that has been documented by the world, not his personal ideological assertions. In short, he appeals that a collective resolution to protect the ideals of a free world must be undertaken by every country and particularly by the flag bearers of Democracy.

Talha Mujibi is a Post Graduate Student, Jamia Millia Islamia.


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