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Author Topic: Chomsky's 'Failed States'
Babbler # 5468

posted 02 November 2006 12:54 AM      Profile for sgm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Having seen the Rabble ad for Chomsky's book 'Failed States,' I humbly offer babblers my take on the book, which can be found here.

I think this more or less sums things up:

Terming states "rogue" or "failed" is controversial, not only because of the imprecision of the definitions but also because of who gets to apply the labels and why: not surprisingly, many in the world's less powerful nations question the right of the powerful states to label them "failed" or "rogue" as a preliminary to unilateral military intervention.

But Chomsky's radical strategy in this book goes beyond such critical questioning, as he carefully observes the domestic and foreign policy record of his own country, the United States, to see whether it does not come uncomfortably close to meeting the definition of a "failed state" itself. Shocking as it seems at first to consider the global superpower as belonging to the same category as impoverished Haiti, Chomsky meticulously documents numerous instances in which the current U.S. administration and its allied elites have proven unable or unwilling to defend the security of Americans at home or abroad; have exempted the U.S. from international norms like the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention; and have failed to promote meaningful democracy both domestically and internationally. Not surprisingly, Chomsky foresees grim consequences if this policy of "state failure" is not reversed.

I would be interested in hearing what others who've read the book have to say.

(Apologies for the self-promotion, btw.)

From: I have welcomed the dawn from the fields of Saskatchewan | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 560

posted 02 November 2006 04:43 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Aw, your post wasn't self-promotion. Great discussion topic. BTW, to do a little cross-promotion of my own - "Failed States" is one of the gifts you can get at the Sponsor level for signing up as a member of rabble. In case anyone's interested. (I'm up to my eyeballs in rabble membership gifts, so it immediately came to mind when I saw this thread.)

I would really like to read the book now that I've read your post. I didn't know what it was about before I read your blurb here, sgm. Sounds like it would be worth buying and putting on my (ever expanding) list of books that I should read. If I do, I'll come back and write something in this thread.

Has it been out in hardcover for a while? We're on back-order for it for the end of November, but I'm not sure whether we're getting hardcover or softcover.

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 12603

posted 02 November 2006 08:25 AM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was reading the hardcover copy at the folk festival... So it's been out since atleast June.

Don't expect to go through this book quickly... Chomsky makes for quite heavy reading and I needed to put it down between chapters just to let what I read sink in. Heh, mind you it's not as rough as his universal grammar readings.

As far as the book goes... Chomsky possesses a rare mind that can step back and see the big picture... Errr, make that the huge picture. It's a detatchment from any value system and see thigns as they are, and then express himself exceedingly eloquently.

I'll give your review a read and comment a bit more SGM

From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 7039

posted 02 November 2006 11:02 AM      Profile for VanLuke     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Of all the books I read by Chomsky I found this one the hardest to read. I too had to "step back" at times and think about what it is he's saying.

His 2006 AI Lecture covers some of the same ground. Here's the link for the time challenged babblers. (You can cook while you're listening to Noam)

Second Part:
Third Part:
Q&A 1:
Q&A 2:
Noam Chomsky in conversation with Eamon Dunphy:

[ 02 November 2006: Message edited by: VanLuke ]

From: Vancouver BC | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 7039

posted 02 November 2006 11:56 AM      Profile for VanLuke     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The text of the AI Lecture can be found here:

From: Vancouver BC | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
Babbler # 4117

posted 02 November 2006 05:09 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Isn't Noam simply going over old ground? Hasn't the American left been saying that the U.S. is a rogue state for years?
From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged

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