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Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy [Paperback]

Noam Chomsky
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 3 2007 American Empire Project
"It's hard to imagine any American reading this book and not seeing his country in a new, and deeply troubling, light."--The New York Times Book Review

The United States has repeatedly asserted its right to intervene militarily against "failed states" around the globe. In this much-anticipated follow-up to his international bestseller Hegemony or Survival, Noam Chomsky turns the tables, showing how the United States itself shares features with other failed states--suffering from a severe "democratic deficit," eschewing domestic and international law, and adopting policies that increasingly endanger its own citizens and the world. Exploring the latest developments in U.S. foreign and domestic policy, Chomsky reveals Washington's plans to further militarize the planet, greatly increasing the risks of nuclear war. He also assesses the dangerous consequences of the occupation of Iraq; documents Washington's self-exemption from international norms, including the Geneva conventions and the Kyoto Protocol; and examines how the U.S. electoral system is designed to eliminate genuine political alternatives, impeding any meaningful democracy.

Forceful, lucid, and meticulously documented, Failed States offers a comprehensive analysis of a global superpower that has long claimed the right to reshape other nations while its own democratic institutions are in severe crisis. Systematically dismantling the United States' pretense of being the world's arbiter of democracy, Failed States is Chomsky's most focused--and urgent--critique to date.

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Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy + How the World Works + Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Forget Iraq and Sudan--America is the foremost failed state, argues the latest polemic from America's most controversial Left intellectual. Chomsky (Imperial Ambitions) contends the U.S. government wallows in lawless military aggression (the Iraq war is merely the latest example); ignores public opinion on everything from global warming to social spending and foreign policy; and jeopardizes domestic security by under-funding homeland defense in favor of tax cuts for the rich and by provoking hatred and instability abroad that may lead to terrorist blowback or nuclear conflict. Ranging haphazardly from the Seminole War forward, Chomsky's jeremiad views American interventionism as a pageant of imperialist power-plays motivated by crass business interests. Disdaining euphemisms, he denounces American "terror" and "war crimes," castigates the public-bamboozling "government-media propaganda campaign" and floats comparisons to Mongols and Nazis. Chomsky's fans will love it, but even mainstream critics are catching up to the substance of his take on Bush Administration policies; meanwhile his uncompromising moral sensibility, icy logic and withering sarcasm remain in a class by themselves. Required reading for every thoughtful citizen.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Chomsky is a global phenomenon . . . perhaps the most widely read voice on
foreign policy on the planet.”—The New York Times Book Review

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Half a century ago, in July 1955, Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein issued an extraordinary appeal to the people of the world, asking them "to set aside" the strong feelings they have about many issues and to consider themselves "only as members of a biological species which has had a remarkable history, and whose disappearance none of us can desire." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
YR's review is not a review. It's an attack.
It's a "We must be right we're the US" diatribe.
It shouldn't be published as a review.
The fact that there are a lot of YR's in the U.S. is really frightening.
There is only one country in the world capable of destroying the world and only one country in the world who has no conscience about doing that as long as there's a dollar in it.
Thank God there are Noam Chomsky's who have not yet been silenced by the imperialistic thugs that Americans elect.
Noam Chomsky gives me some hope - As a Canadian, We are often confused when we are criticized for having so little military by the only country on earth that we would ever need to defend ourselves from.
It's unfair and perhaps naive but to me Chomsky is like the canary in the coal mine. If the US ever silences him it will be time to fill the basement with weaponry and prepare for the invasion.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!! Sept. 24 2006
One of Chomsky's best books ever! If you seek the real truth about what's going on in the world around us you have to read this book. A definite must have!!
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A chilling vision of American Imperialism June 30 2006
I hate flying. I have to say that this was one of those books I just happened to pick up in an airport during a lay-over, to help take my mind off it. It worked. Noam Chomsky's often stark and brutal disection of the rampant desire and virtually boundless need for the United States' policymakers to wage a seemingly endless war AGAINST democracy, frankly scares me. If you enjoy the idea that 'democracy promotion' is an job best left to the U.S. government, don't read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Steady Drumbeat of Deceit May 10 2014
By Troy Parfitt TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Failed States calls into question much of what I learned about US history in university and quite a bit of what I’ve read in the news since. It argues, convincingly, with mountains of evidence, that the United States government repeatedly sabotages democracy in the name of democracy - almost everywhere.To this end, Chomsky is relentless, but so very compelling. He starts with ideas of social equality, fairness, fundamental decency, and other common, normal tenets involving basic morality, and goes on to illustrate how Washington (along with London) and its client states (e.g. Israel) care little about decency, morality, etc. and how it repeatedly works to screw this world up. The existence of anti-American extremism in certain parts of the world, and more thoughtful forms of dissent, seem entirely natural given the United States’s recurrent brutality and disdain for fundamental fairness, human rights, etc. I’ve read about Chomsky’s contributions to linguistics (i.e. universal grammar) and have listened to him YouTube a lot, but reading him talk about politics was impressive. It was also distressing and depressing. How messed up is this world? Even more than you think. Still, I think everyone should read this book. I can’t recommend it enough. I will read Chomsky again. Failed States is dark but brilliant.

Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
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5.0 out of 5 stars Optimus "Chomsky" Prime Dec 17 2013
By James 'error' Campbell TOP 1000 REVIEWER
'Failed States' provides annotation to reality. While it is difficult at times to take face value in some of Chomksy's strongest arguments, a brief confirmation is easily applied from the periphery academic record. Things are, summarily, exactly as Chomsky describes. I am generally perpetually in awe of Chomsky's capacity as a human, academic and scholar. I wouldn't consider it an overstatement to place him as a modern day Socrates in his effect, wise beyond his years and timeless. In today's world, Chomsky remains as one of the last of a small handful of men who I respect with all of my mind, he is old-school, a dieing breed.

'Failed States' provides direct and furious substantiation to the function of the United States of America in the late 20th and early 21st century, through the eyes of the non-aligned. In the fabric of this work, a thorough and spectacular illumination of what is being conducted by the 'free world' is propagated. For many, these words correlate to disturb and infuriate, as quite critically, a very bleak picture is amounted by its revelation. To a very inverted standard, Chomsky actually provides optimism at the end of the book (in the afterwards), which fully inspires its participants who read it, to follow through to the end in what is right.

This book is presented in conjunction with "Hegemony or Survival" (which can be purchased on this site or at other bookstores), I would suggest reading both, starting with Hegemony or Survival. To those who read this book, welcome to the real world. I am here every step of the way walking beside you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Jan. 7 2008
As always, Chomsky presents inescapable facts. His detractors are almost certainly people who haven't even read his books and/or who have an agenda. Read George Tenet's book "In the eye of the storm" after you read Chomsky and you'll see how incredibly accurate Chomsky is in his view of the world. No agendas, no bias, no spin. Merely facts. Chomsky should be taught in every school in the world.
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