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NOW on the News with Maria Hinojosa

Noam Chomsky on America's Foreign Policy

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This week, listen to Maria Hinojosa's conversation with esteemed intellectual Noam Chomsky, as he questions both Clinton and Bush, and shares how he believes opportunities for peace are being squandered.

Interview Highlights:

Noam Chomsky
Professor Noam Chomsky [read bio]
  • "Why is there a prolonged applause [when Hugo Chavez spoke at the U.N. last week]? Maybe it's because of the substance of what he said ... that the U.S. is a leading threat to peace in the world. That's not controversial."

  • There was a false claim [by US media], it turns out, that [Chavez] thought I had died; in fact he was referring to John Kenneth Galbraith.

  • "Even in Europe, which is where there is the largest support for the U.S., that the U.S. leads by far, among the population, as a threat to world peace. Far beyond Iran."

  • "For the last year, the Republican administration has been shooting itself in the foot ... The Democrats have not gained from this ... What that illustrates is that there is no functioning opposition party. People don't know what the Democrats proposals are."

  • "The worst way to deal with it [terrorism] is to give gifts to Osama bin Laden ... Bush is Osama bin Laden's best ally, because the reactions are violence."

  • "The tiny clique in Washington that is barely holding on to power might actually attack Iran ... will we allow them to drive to a war that could have tremendous consequences, it could blow up the region."

  • "Clinton himself acted in ways which increased the threat of terror."

  • "We are in an extremely dangerous situation ... in fact literal threats to survival ... but on the other hand there is every reason for optimism."

About Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is the Institute Professor Emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He developed a theory of transformational grammar that revolutionized the scientific study of language. Chomsky is widely known for his political activism, and for his criticism of the foreign policy of the United States and other governments. His controversial bestseller 9-11, published in 2002, is an analysis of the World Trade Center attack that, while denouncing the atrocity of the event, traces its origins to the actions and power of the United States.

Below is his official biography:

Noam Chomsky was born on December 7, 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His undergraduate and graduate years were spent at the University of Pennsylvania where he received his PhD in linguistics in 1955.

During the years 1951 to 1955, Chomsky was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard University Society of Fellows. While a Junior Fellow he completed his doctoral dissertation entitled, "Transformational Analysis." The major theoretical viewpoints of the dissertation appeared in the monograph Syntactic Structure, which was published in 1957. This formed part of a more extensive work, The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory, circulated in mimeograph in 1955 and published in 1975.

Chomsky joined the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1955 and in 1961 was appointed full professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics (now the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.) From 1966 to 1976 he held the Ferrari P. Ward Professorship of Modern Languages and Linguistics. In 1976 he was appointed Institute Professor.

During the years 1958 to 1959 Chomsky was in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, NJ. In the spring of 1969 he delivered the John Locke Lectures at Oxford; in January 1970 he delivered the Bertrand Russell Memorial Lecture at Cambridge University; in 1972, the Nehru Memorial Lecture in New Delhi, and in 1977, the Huizinga Lecture in Leiden, among many others.

Professor Chomsky has received honorary degrees from Bologna University, Ljubljana University, University of Florence, University of Athens, University of London, University of Chicago, Loyola University of Chicago, Swarthmore College, Delhi University, Bard College, University of Massachusetts, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Amherst College, Cambridge University, University of Buenos Aires, McGill University, Universitat Rovira I Virgili, Tarragona, Columbia University, University of Connecticut, Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, Harvard University, University of Calcutta, Universidad Nacional del Comahur (Argentina), Universidad Nacional De Colombia, Free University of Brussels, and Central Connecticut State University. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Science, and a Foreign Member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In addition, he is a member of other professional and learned societies in the United States and abroad, and is a recipient of the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal, the Dorothy Eldridge Peacemaker Award, the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science, The Adela Dwyer/St. Thomas of Villanova Peace Award, and others.

Chomsky has written and lectured widely on linguistics, philosophy, intellectual history, contemporary issues, international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. His works include: Aspects of the Theory of Syntax; Cartesian Linguistics; Sound Pattern of English (with Morris Halle); Language and Mind; American Power and the New Mandarins; At War with Asia; For Reasons of State; Peace in the Middle East?; Reflections on Language; The Political Economy of Human Rights, Vol. I and II (with E.S. Herman); Rules and Representations; Lectures on Government and Binding; Towards a New Cold War; Radical Priorities; Fateful Triangle; Knowledge of Language; Turning the Tide; Pirates and Emperors; On Power and Ideology; Language and Problems of Knowledge; The Culture of Terrorism; Manufacturing Consent (with E.S. Herman); Necessary Illusions; Deterring Democracy; Year 501; Rethinking Camelot: JFK, the Vietnam War and US Political Culture; Letters from Lexington; World Orders, Old and New; The Minimalist Program; Powers and Prospects; The Common Good; Profit Over People; The New Military Humanism; New Horizons in the Study of Language and Mind; Rogue States; A New Generation Draws the Line; 9-11; Understanding Power; On Nature and Language; Pirates and Emperors, Old and New; Chomsky on Democracy and Education; Middle East Illusions; Hegemony or Survival; and Imperial Ambitions.

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