Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs

Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs

Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs

Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs


Described in a 1998 profile in the New York Times as "an exploder of received truths", Noam Chomsky is the world's most informed, controversial, and articulate opponent of political hypocrisy and abuse of power. Rogue States is the latest result of his tireless efforts to measure the world's superpowers by their own professed standards and to hold them responsible for the indefensible actions they commit in the name of democracy and human rights.

The United States and its allies come in for particular scrutiny for their numerous recent violations of the very international laws they claim to uphold, making them the real "rogue states" in the world today. In analyzing the recent war over Kosovo with Yugoslavia, Chomsky challenges the legal and humanitarian arguments in favor of NATO's aggression, instead calling attention to the West's failure to support democratic movements in the region. Chomsky also turns his penetrating gaze toward U.S. involvement in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Central America, relying on both historical context and recently released government documents to trace the paths of self-interest and domination that fueled these violent regional conflicts. Throughout, Chomsky reveals the United States' increasingly open dismissal of the United Nations and international legal precedent in justifying its motives and actions. As his analysis of U.S. statecraft reveals, the rule of law has been reduced to a mere nuisance. Characteristically incisive, provocative, and rousing, Chomsky leaves no bomb-shell unexploded in his evaluation of the West's shameless reliance on the rule of force today.


It is not easy to write with feigned calm and dispassion about the events that have been unfolding in East Timor. Horror and shame are compounded by the fact that the crimes are so familiar and could so easily have been terminated. That has been true ever since Indonesia invaded in December 1975, relying on us diplomatic support and arms--used illegally, but with secret authorization, and even new arms shipments sent under the cover of an official "embargo." There has been no need to threaten bombing or even sanctions. It would have sufficed for the us and its allies to withdraw their active participation, and to inform their close associates in the Indonesian military command that the atrocities must be terminated and the territory granted the right of self-determination that has been upheld by the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. We cannot undo the past, but we should at least be willing to recognize what we have done, and to face the moral responsibility of saving the remnants and providing ample reparations, a pathetic gesture of compensation for terrible crimes.

The latest chapter in this painful story of betrayal and complicity opened right after the referendum of August 30, 1999, when the population voted overwhelmingly for independence. At once, atrocities mounted sharply, organized and directed by the Indonesian military (TNI). the un Mission (UNAMET) gave its appraisal on September 11:

The evidence for a direct link between the militia and the military is beyond any dispute and has been overwhelmingly documented by unamet over the last four months. But the scale and thoroughness of the destruction of East Timor in the past week has demonstrated a new level of open participation of the military in the implementation of what was previously a more veiled operation.

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