Monday, June 16, 2008

Brazen imperialism in the Middle East

The following is Press TV's exclusive full-length interview with American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author and MIT professor Avram Noam Chomsky:

Press TV: How do you characterize this so-called security treaty between Washington and Baghdad?

Chomsky: The security arrangement was in fact declared last November. There was a declaration from the White House, presumably a Bush-Maliki declaration, but had nothing to do with the Congress or Parliament or any other official institution. It called for an indefinite long-term US military presence in Iraq and that could include the huge air bases that are now being built around Iraq. The US is building what's called an embassy but it's unlike any embassy in the world. Its essentially a city inside a city. These are all declared intentions to retain a permanent dominant presence in Iraq.

The declaration also, a little to my surprise, had a rather brazen statement about exploiting the resources of Iraq. It said that the economy of Iraq, which means its oil resources, must be open to foreign investment, privileging American investors. That's pretty brazen. Now that's brazen imperialism saying we invaded you so that we can control your country; and so that our corporations can have privileged access to your resources.

It was not at all clear that any Iraqi was ever going to accept this and in the steps that had followed as there was an attempt to sort of formulate it, more precisely, there have been predictably increasing objections.....

Press TV: Professor Chomsky, of course, one country that is being blamed by Washington is Iran and what's on a lot of minds in the Middle East is this drumbeat of war as it were. Do you think the United States wants military action and will there be military action against Iran? And how do you characterize the IAEA's nuclear negotiation process?

Chomsky: It is interesting, the way everything is blamed on Iran. And that's a rather striking reflection of how deep-seated the imperial mentality is in the West, so for example when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is asked by the press: is there a solution to the problem in Iraq, and she says yes a simple solution - foreign forces should be withdrawn and foreign arms should be withdrawn, referring of course to Iran -, people don't laugh and collapse in ridicule.

I mean, of course, there are foreign forces and foreign arms in Iraq, but not Iranian. They are American, but those are not considered foreign forces.

In the Western conception, US and, indeed, much of the West, if our forces are anywhere, they are indigenous. They are not foreign because fundamentally there is a tacit assumption that we own the world, so our forces are not foreign - they are indigenous.

We talk about Iranian interference: it's like talking about Allied interference in Nazi occupied Vichy France; it doesn't make any sense, but the mentality accepts it......."

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