The United States has repeatedly asserted its right to intervene against "failed states" around the globe. In this much anticipated sequel to his international bestseller Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky turns the tables, charging the United States with being a "failed state," and thus a danger to its own people and the world.
"Failed states," Chomsky writes, are those "that do not protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction, that regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and that suffer from a 'democratic deficit,' having democratic forms but with limited substance." Exploring recent U.S. foreign and domestic policies, Chomsky assesses Washington's escalation of the nuclear risk; the dangerous consequences of the occupation of Iraq; and America's self-exemption from international law. He also examines an American electoral system that frustrates genuine political alternatives, thus impeding any meaningful democracy.
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The selection of issues that should rank high on the agenda of concern for human welfare and rights is, naturally, a subjective matter. But there are a few choices that seem unavoidable, because they bear so directly on the prospects for decent survival. Among them are at least these three: nuclear war, environmental disaster, and the fact that the government of the world's leading power is acting in ways that increase the likelihood of these catastrophes. It is important to stress the government, because the population, not surprisingly, does not agree. That brings up a fourth
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