Book Review: Who Rules the World is A Must Read About American Power

Book Review: Who Rules the World is A Must Read About American Power

The new book by Noam Chomsky is a must read about the American empire and how it rules the world today in comparison to years past.

Chomsky is considered one of the leading intellectuals of the United States, yet he is practically censored by the mainstream media for his views which some consider are too radical and critical of the US system.

For example, the New York Times has called Chomsky one of our greatest thinkers, yet they rarely if ever publish his articles. Even though Chomsky is beloved throughout the world, has written over 100 books and is considered the father of modern linguistics, the ruling class, if you will, would be better served to keep his voice muted.

The question I had before I opened his new book entitled Who Rules the World, published by Metropolitan Books and already available to check out in the Chicago Public Library, was what more could this writer of politics, linguistics, and the media have to say. But what is amazing about this humble MIT professor is that you learn something new and scratch your head in wonder after each interview he gives to independent journalists. His ever-flowing current of facts – mostly critical of American foreign policy – gives activists, political opponents and leftists the fuel to keep fighting for human rights and justice across the globe.

Chomsky’s book is important because he poses the question that is on many minds – is America still the No. 1 Superpower or is China or some combination of other powerful countries ready to surpass the American Fighting Machine.

“(American) power has been diminishing since it reached a historically unprecedented peak in 1945,” Chomsky writes in his introduction. “And with the inevitable decline, Washington’s power is to some extent shared within the ‘de facto world government’ of the ‘masters of the universe,’ to borrow the terms of the business press.’

At the end of World War II, the U.S. had half the world’s wealth and unmatched security, Chomsky writes. By 1970, the U.S. share of the world wealth had declined to about 25 percent. The industrial world became tripolar – the U.S., Europe and Asia.

But Chomsky throws cold water on the notion that China or any others are in line to soon overtake the U.S. and rule the world.

“The commonly drawn corollary – that power will shift to China or India – is highly dubious. They are poor countries with severe internal problems. The world is surely becoming more diverse, but despite American’s decline, in the foreseeable future there is no competitor for global hegemonic power.”

Chomsky is an icon in American history. Chomsky’s revolutionary work in linguistics centered on syntactic structures – humans are distinguished from other animals by their ability to use syntax to make meaning with words in a sentence.

According to his page on Wikipedia, Chomsky identifies as an anarcho-syndicalist or libertarian socialist, but he views these positions not as precise political theories but as ideals which he thinks best meet the needs of humans: liberty, community and freedom of association. Chomsky developed his dislike of capitalism and the selfish pursuit of material advancement at a time when he also developed a disdain for authoritarian attempts to establish a socialist society, as represented by the Marxist-Leninist policies of the Soviet Union.

President Richard Nixon put Chomsky on an enemies list because of his activism against the Vietnam War, and the CIA monitored for years the mild-mannered professor who was voted the world’s leading public intellectual in 2005.

The New York Review of Books slammed Chomsky’s latest writing, saying his book “is so partisan that it leaves the reader convinced not of his insights but of the need to hear the other side.”

Remember the New York Times helped promote the Iraq War and other disastrous foreign endeavors that Chomsky critiques with a smooth magnifying glass.

He writes that the cost of the Bush-Obama wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now estimated to run as high as $4.4 trillion, the 2011 U.S. military budget almost matches the rest of the world combined and “the deficit crisis has largely been manufactured as a weapon to destroy hated social programs on which a large part of the population relies.”

*This is the first of a two-part series of our review of Chomsky’s ‘Who Rules the World’. Next week we’ll examine his critique of US foreign policy.

By Jim Vail