The September 11, 2001 attacks gave way to numerous publications criticizing the policy of the American empire. The work Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky is one among others that throw light on the United States’ foreign policy problems.
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The author of the book claims that the United States’ present domination of the world will lead to the overall destruction of the human race. To prove his point Noam Chomsky analyzes the intentions of the US foreign policy starting from George Washington and going up to George W. Bush. Chomsky is concerned with such issues of the American foreign policy history as the involvement of the United States in Central Asia, the conflict between Russia and the US, the alignment of Israel with the US and the like. The author studies the history of the US decision-making, evaluates the leadership abilities of the US politicians and tries to implement this knowledge in order to understand the US foreign policy.
Though a large amount of information about the actions of the American Government throughout its history is worked through and the reader’s knowledge on the twentieth-century administrations is enhanced, the author fails to deconstruct the American hegemony and seems just to whine about it in his work.
Being typical in its content the book under consideration does not provide the reader with the necessary evidences of the author’s argument. The tone of the book is rather sarcastic which does not contribute to its sound objective.
The reader can easily understand that the materials the author resorts to are not that reliable as one might want them to be. Mostly, Chomsky makes use of the newspaper sources and does not go so far as to conduct an analysis of them. The thing is that the materials the author uses present a one-sided view on the problem without giving a proper consideration of the opposing opinion. A mere scholarly critique of foreign policy of the American administration which is not based on the archival research does not seem to be sufficient to prove the author’s point. The author’s reliance on his previous works is not always successful; moreover, not all of the sources used are referenced by Chomsky.
One more problem of the Hegemony or Survival is that the author does not sound logical in his arguments: one idea suddenly flows into another without any link that helps the reader understand the message. The only lubricant that Chomsky uses is sarcastic notes about this or that event or action and it is not enough to give a comprehensive analysis of the problem discussed.
But the main drawback of the book is rooted in the very position of the author concerning the US politicians who make the world’s history. Chomsky underestimates the policymakers’ intelligence and diligence, his criticism and biased attitude towards the American politicians makes the reader hesitate about the credibility of the author.
We are inclined to believe that Chomsky sounds too vague and apocalyptical in his research. Realizing that every person has the right to express his or her position we want this position be more adequate than the one presented in the book we have discussed above.
- Armbrust, Carol. “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.”The Antioch Review 2005: 594+.
- Chomsky, Noam. Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2003.
- Hoadley, Stephen. “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.” New Zealand International Review (2004): 29+.
- Matthews, Eliza. “Noam Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance.” Journal of Australian Studies (2004).
- Pal, Amitabh. “Empire Unbound.” The Progressive 2004: 40+.