Let Darkness be Defeated by Science - Noam Chomsky @ULB 16 Mar 2011

Random notes from the great man's speech - not the opinion of this humble blogger!:

The Standard Western Policy relative to Dictators in a crisis:
  1. Sustain
  2. Hide them away somewhere safe
  3. Declare support for Democracy
  4. Re-instate same regime.
This procedure is moderated depending on the level of Western Motivation: the more oil in the country and the more obedient the dictator, the higher the motivation.

The West is the USA and anyone else who wants to come along.

Prior to WWII, FDR said, "control of the energy reserves of the mid-east = control the world."
During the war, the War/peace program assumed Germany would win. US aimed at controlling Western Hemisphere. After Stalingrad, the plan changed.  The "Grand Area" grew and US planned for total world dominance.

After the war, the plan was implemented. But it was feared that Europe follow its own path, so NATO was created to keep Europe in the Grand Area. In 1989, the declared enemy of NATO, the USSR, ceased to exist so NATO should also have ceased. Instead, it grew into eastern Europe, despite promises to the contrary. It had to protect the pipelines and tanker routes, as a good global intervention force...

US military kept NATO to use against the rising technological sophistication of the 3rd world.

Tunisia and Egypt
  • names changed
  • regimes remain
  • internal barriers to democracy remain, e.g. Military control Egypt
  • External barriers to democracy:
    • West cannot tollerate democracy in Arab world
    • 90% of Egytians see the US as their biggest threat,
    • 80% see Israel as the biggest
    • 10% see Iran
    • 80% of Egypt think their regime would be safer if Iran had nuclear weapons.
  • conclusion: if there were democracy in Egypt, i.e. if public opinion lead to policy, then the US would be out of the region.
  • conclusion: US suppports democracy only when it fits with US economic interests. There is a contempt of democracy by the US intellectual community.
Wikileaks cables said:
  • "Arab dictators support the US."
  • "There is a perception in the Arab world that the US supports cruel dictators for energy resources. This is correct and the right thing to do."
 The 3rd world doesn't hate US Freedoms; it hates US policies.

Adam Smith's advice in 1890's is the same as the World Bank's today, "3rd world countries should stick to primary products and import technology from the 1st world." The colonies had no choice. Today, development of technology is warped into piracy.

The Iranian Threat, according to the pentagon:
  1. not a military threat: low military budget and defence oriented
  2. potential sovereign actions, i.e. could protect against US attack
  3. seeking to expand influence in the region
Expanding Influence = "destabilize region"
US Invasion = "stabilize region"

FDR policy: No sovereignty if it conflicts with US desires.
  • US+Europe are alone in opposing Iran; non-aligned countries support Iran.
  • Brazil and Turkey: threatened by Oabama for their support of Iran
  • china now investing in Iran, against US desires; US warned China that it should respect "its international responsiblities" (i.e. US policies) - China's military budget is increasing and may ultimately prevent US navy from operating near the Chinese coast.
  • Danger of the Iran nuclear program: Obama proposes nuc-free mid-east, but not applicable to Isreal...
So the Grand Area doctrine continues but the US is losing its capacity to implement it. At the end of WWII, the US represented 1/2 the world's wealth. In the 1970's, only 1/4.
  • US econmy has changed
  • radical concentration of the wealth in 1% of the population
  • same concentration of political power
  • creates a vicious cycle: power->laws->power...
  • change of election finance laws lead elections to become a marketing campaign.
  • frustration of US population increasing as economical/political power decreases
  • Crises are worse and worse...
    • bailout by taxpayer
    • unemployment approaching depression levels
    • banks give huges bonuses to managers
    • blame immigrants for crisis, but who are they? The people fleeing from the US supported dictators...
    • whites are becoming a minority...
    • Today racism in Europe is worse than in the US
    • ultra right wing parties in W. Europe: expelling roms from France; Hungary 75% right wing, people preferred the communist regime; Austria, Germany...
Externality of the problem: i.e. to be ignored because it is out of scope
  •  risks don't count because of assured taxpayer bailout
  • destruction of the environment is "a necessity" in business thinking; 
  • known but ignored
  • compress/cut funding of the protection of the environment
  • not funny when this happens in the worlds biggest superpower
  • market freedom is like a religion
  • as long as the public is appeased, it goes on...


Hors Piste aux 2 Alpes - 6-11 mars 2011

Stage hors piste sous la direction d'Etienne Drumain de l'ESF des 2 Alpes 
Des pentes raides et des virages incroyables!
Merci pour l'honneur!