No Change Coming With Obama
The following is a Press TV interview with respected American author, political analyst and world-renowned linguist, Professor Noam Chomsky.
January 24, 2009 -- Press TV: Professor Chomsky, we better start with
Chomsky: Well, it was pretty clear that Obama would accept the Bush doctrine that the
There has been for example a great deal of chaos and fighting in Bajaur province, which is a adjacent to Afghanistan and tribal leaders- others there- have traced it to the bombing of a madrassa school which killed 80 to 95 people, which I don't think was even reported in the United states, it was reported in the Pakistani press of course.
The author of the article reporting it, a well-known nuclear physicist, Pervez Hoodbhoy pointed out at the time that this kind of massacre will of course engender terror and reactions, which will even threaten the state of
The first message of the Pakistani government to General [David] Petraeus, the American General when he took command of the region was that they did not want any more bombings in
Actually, the first message to the new Obama administration by President [Hamid] Karzai of Afghanistan was the same, that he wanted no more bombings. He also said that he wants a timetable for the withdrawal of the foreign troops, US and other troops, from
Press TV: And these three foreign envoys, well the third one has not been announced yet perhaps, but some people are expressing optimism about George Mitchell's position as
Richard Holbrooke, which [we] have looked at. We have talked to the former Bosnian foreign minister here, who seemed to imply that he may even have had a role in the say so for the Srebrenica massacre, and of course, Dennis Ross is being talked about as an envoy for
Chomsky: Well Holbrooke has a pretty awful record, not so much
George Mitchell is, of the various appointments that have been made, he is the most decent let's say. He has a pretty decent record. He achieved something in
The objective was that the British would put an end to the resort to violence in response to IRA terror and would attend to the legitimate grievances that were the source of the terror. He did manage that,
But there is no such outcome sketched in the
In fact, President Obama just had a press conference, which was quite interesting in that respect. He praised the parabolic peace initiative, the Saudi initiative endorsed by the Arab League, and said it had constructive elements. It called for the normalization of relation with
But that is a gross falsification of the Arab League initiative. The Arab League initiative called for accepting a two-state settlement on the international border, which has been a long-standing international consensus and said if that can be achieved then Arab states can normalize relations with
Well, Obama skipped the first part, the crucial part, the core of the resolution, because that imposes an obligation on the
So when he skips that it is purposeful. That entails that the
Press TV: Is there a contradiction in that George Mitchell of course did speak to members of the Sinn Féin, their military wing of course of the IRA.
At the same time, well on this channel [Press TV] we have been covering the Gaza conflict, its headquarters were bombed, and now we are being told that Israeli soldiers will not give their names, and the names of people are not being released for fear of prosecution.
And yet, some were saying that Obama did say that the border should be opened. Should we see any change in policy there?
Chomsky: He did say that, but he did not mention the fact that it was in the context of a lot other demands. And
It means Palestinians will have to be punished for voting in a free election, the way the US did not want them to, and he endorsed the Condoleezza Rice-Tzipi Livni agreement to close the Egyptian-Gaza order, which is quite an act of imperial arrogance.
It is not their border, and in fact,
In fact, right in the middle of the
Actually there were very little reporting, very few inquiries. The Pentagon responded in an interesting way. They said, well this material won't be used for the attack on Gaza, in fact they knew that Israel had plans to stop the attack right before the inauguration, so that Obama would not have to say anything about it.
But the Pentagon said that this material is being used for pre-positioning for US forces. In other words, this has been going for a long time, but this is extending and reinforcing the role of
Press TV: Robert Gates and Admiral [Mike] Mullen have been talking about the 16-month timeline for withdrawal from
Chomsky: What happened in
What has happened is that there was a remarkable campaign of non-violent resistance in
Then they went on from there to force the
Of course there is a question of whether the
In the case of
There is no indication that he is willing to take the steps, say, that the American population wants. An overwhelming majority of the American population for years has been in favor, has agreed with the Non-Aligned Movement, that Iran should have the rights granted to the signers of the non-proliferation treaty, in fact to develop nuclear energy.
It should not have the right to develop nuclear weapons, and more interestingly about the same percentages, about 75 to 80%, call for the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone in the region, which would include Iran, Israel, and any US forces deployment there, within all kinds of verifications and so on.
That could eliminate probably one of the major sources of the conflict. There is no indication that the Obama administration has any thought of doing anything about this.
Press TV: Just finally Professor Chomsky, the
Chomsky: Nobody really knows. I mean, what is happening with the economy is not well understood. It is based on extremely opaque financial manipulations, which are quite hard to decode. I mean, the general process is understood, but whether the $800 billion, or probably larger government stimulus, will overcome this crisis, is not known.
The first $350 billion have already been spent- that is the so-called part bailout but that went into the pockets of banks. They were supposed to start lending freely, but they just decided not to do it. They would rather enrich themselves, restore their own capital, and take over other banks- mergers and acquisition and so on.
Whether the next stimulus will have an effect depends very much on how it is handled, whether it is monitored, so that it is used for constructive purposes. [It relies] also on factors that are just not known, like how deep this crisis is going to be.
It is a worldwide crisis and it is very serious. It is suddenly striking that the ways that Western countries are approaching the crisis is exactly the same as the model that they enforce on the
That is exactly the opposite of how the