Renowned linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky spoke at DU on Thursday night about the current uprisings in the Arabic world and the affect of the U.S. government’s foreign policy on that region of the world.
The MIT professor traced the uprisings to 1958, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House and an anti-American sentiment entitled, “campaign of hatred” ran wild in the Arab world following a rebellion in Iraq.
According to Chomsky, that rebellion is the origin of our modern day oil conflict, which still plagues the region.
“The perception in the Arab World [back then]was that the U.S. supported dictatorships, and that was more or less accurate,” said Chomsky.
Chomsky noted that United States foreign policy controllers have been using propaganda since the 1950s to hide that stigma, manipulating the American opinion with foiled slogans such as former President George W. Bush’s, “They hate our freedom” rally cry in 2001.
“They don’t hate our freedom, they hate our policies,” said Chomsky. “The reality [of U.S. policy]is that we hate their freedom, and try to stop it. If you go back in history, there are many examples of this.”
During the Bush regime and long before that, Chomsky said that the main concern of the country’s leaders was a potential uprising in Iraq, stemming from a Shiite alliance that wanted to take control of the country’s oil.
While the Iraqi situation challenged western dominance, the U.S. paired with its “main ally” Saudi Arabia, the most radical of all Islamic countries, in an attempt to create a barrier for the growing secular nationalism ideology taking over the region, said Chomsky.
Chomsky used U.S. support of the dictatorship regime in Saudi Arabia as an example of U.S. foreign policy supporting the wrong side of the issue.
As for the Libyan conflict, Chomsky foresees it ending in a stalemate, which could only further instigate hostilities in the region.
Chomsky discussed the current politics surrounding the Libyan foreign policy decisions, summarizing that the imperial triumvirate—the U.S., England and France—were simply sticking by their traditional policies of getting involved in a situation that didn’t necessarily call for their aid.
Although the U.S. has “backed off” from the situation, Chomsky was apprehensive to believe the country still didn’t have a huge stake in the future of Libya, especially with the oil-rich country still holding untapped areas.
“The oil is right in the middle of the conflict, it is the heart of the conflict, and everybody is going after a very rich prize,” said Chomsky. “The crucial question remains, what happens to the oil if there’s a stalemate?”
Chomsky urged the crowd to make a stand against the flawed system, noting, “public opinion can affect [foreign]policy,” and hinting that the country did not necessarily need to reenter the situation even though history says it will.