Cover image for Hegemony or survival : America's quest for global dominance
Hegemony or survival : America's quest for global dominance
Chomsky, Noam.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Metropolitan Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
278 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E902 .C47 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E902 .C47 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E902 .C47 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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From the world's foremost intellectual activist, an irrefutable analysis of America's pursuit of total domination and the catastrophic consequences that are sure to follow

The United States is in the process of staking out not just the globe but the last unarmed spot in our neighborhood-the heavens-as a militarized sphere of influence. Our earth and its skies are, for the Bush administration, the final frontiers of imperial control. In Hegemony or Survival , Noam Chomsky investigates how we came to this moment, what kind of peril we find ourselves in, and why our rulers are willing to jeopardize the future of our species.

With the striking logic that is his trademark, Chomsky dissects America's quest for global supremacy, tracking the U.S. government's aggressive pursuit of policies intended to achieve "full spectrum dominance" at any cost. He lays out vividly how the various strands of policy-the militarization of space, the ballistic-missile defense program, unilateralism, the dismantling of international agreements, and the response to the Iraqi crisis-cohere in a drive for hegemony that ultimately threatens our survival. In our era, he argues, empire is a recipe for an earthly wasteland.

Lucid, rigorous, and thoroughly documented, Hegemony or Survival promises to be Chomsky's most urgent and sweeping work in years, certain to spark widespread debate.

Author Notes

Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1928. Son of a Russian emigrant who was a Hebrew scholar, Chomsky was exposed at a young age to the study of language and principles of grammar. During the 1940s, he began developing socialist political leanings through his encounters with the New York Jewish intellectual community.

Chomsky received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. He conducted much of his research at Harvard University. In 1955, he began teaching at MIT, eventually holding the Ferrari P. Ward Chair of Modern Language and Linguistics.

Today Chomsky is highly regarded as both one of America's most prominent linguists and most notorious social critics and political activists. His academic reputation began with the publication of Syntactic Structures in 1957. Within a decade, he became known as an outspoken intellectual opponent of the Vietnam War.

Chomsky has written many books on the links between language, human creativity, and intelligence, including Language and Mind (1967) and Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin, and Use (1985). He also has written dozens of political analyses, including Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Chronicles of Dissent (1992), and The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (1993).

(Bowker Author Biography) Noam Chomsky, professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the author of more than 80 books. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Intellectual activist Chomsky takes aim at the Bush administration's policy of preemptive force against terrorism and sees it as part of a U.S. bent toward hegemony. Citing examples of similarly aggressive policies from previous administrations, Chomsky posits that the U.S. has been heading in this direction for generations. As the world's lone superpower and with the justification of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. has accelerated the troubling trend, with disastrous implications for foreign and domestic policy. Drawing parallels with nineteenth-century Britain, Chomsky examines the current U.S. world posture and growing willingness to act unilaterally. The country's sense of its role in world history and its noble ideals--not to mention its military might--have given rise to the notion that its motives and actions are not to be questioned at home or abroad. Chomsky offers a cautionary look at where we may be headed as a nation and the growing threats to world peace and personal freedom. --Vanessa Bush Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this highly readable, heavily footnoted critique of American foreign policy from the late 1950s to the present, Chomsky (whose 9-11 was a bestseller last year) argues that current U.S. policies in Afghanistan and Iraq are not a specific response to September 11, but simply the continuation of a consistent half-century of foreign policy-an "imperial grand strategy"-in which the United States has attempted to "maintain its hegemony through the threat or use of military force." Such an analysis is bound to be met with skepticism or antagonism in post-September 11 America, but Chomsky builds his arguments carefully, substantiates claims with appropriate documentation and answers expected counterclaims. Chomsky is also deeply critical of inconsistency in making the charge of "terrorism." Using the official U.S. legal code definition of terrorism, he argues that it is an exact description of U.S. foreign policy (especially regarding Cuba, Central America, Vietnam and much of the Middle East), although the term is rarely used in this way in the U.S. media, he notes, even when the World Court in 1986 condemned Washington for "unlawful use of force" ("international terrorism, in lay terms" Chomsky argues) in Nicaragua. Claiming that the U.S. is a rogue nation in its foreign policies and its "contempt for international law," Chomsky brings together many themes he has mined in the past, making this cogent and provocative book an important addition to an ongoing public discussion about U.S. policy. (Nov.) FYI: This is the first title in the new American Empire Project, which the publisher describes as "provocative and critical books that will focus on the increasingly imperial cast of America's government and policy." (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Chomsky bemoans America's carrying imperialist tendencies into space. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



We are entering a period of human history that may provide an answer to the question of whether there is intelligent life on earth, at least in the sense of "intelligence" that might be admired by a sensible extraterrestrial observer. The most hopeful prospect is that the question will not be answered: for any definitive response can only conclude that humans are a kind of "biological error," using their allotted 100,000 years--the life expectancy of a species--to destroy themselves and, in the process, much else. Humans have surely developed the capacity to do just that: our hypothetical extraterrestrial observer might argue that they have demonstrated that destructiveness throughout their history, and dramatically so in the past few hundred years--with an assault on biological diversity, on the environment that sustains life, and, with cold and calculated savagery, on each other as well. Excerpted from Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Full Spectrum Dominance by Noam Chomsky All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1. Priorities and Prospectsp. 1
2. Imperial Grand Strategyp. 11
3. The New Era of Enlightenmentp. 51
4. Dangerous Timesp. 73
5. The Iraq Connectionp. 109
6. Dilemmas of Dominancep. 145
7. Cauldron of Animositiesp. 157
8. Terrorism and Justice: Some Useful Truismsp. 187
9. A Passing Nightmare?p. 217
Notesp. 239
Indexp. 267