Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chomsky on Reagan

Noam Chomsky is interviewed by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez about various things (including the Wisconsin protests) here. I don't have the time (or patience at the moment, quite frankly) to read the thing word for word, but I scrolled down through it and slowed down when I got to what Chomsky calls the "deification" of Ronald Reagan. Here's Chomsky on Reagan's actions abroad:

I won’t even talk about his international behavior. I mean, it was just abominable. I mean, if we gained our optimism by killing hundreds of thousands of people in Central America and destroying any hope for democracy and freedom and supporting South Africa while it killed about a million-and-a-half people in neighboring countries, and on and on, if that’s the way we get back our optimism, we’re in bad trouble.

This is dramatically put, but it's not wrong. Reagan did support the apartheid regime in South Africa. See here.

Of course, before some readers take severe umbrage let me acknowledge that there were other aspects to the Reagan foreign policy that Chomsky does not mention here. Reagan did reach agreement with Gorbachev in 1987 to remove intermediate-range nuclear missiles from Europe. Reagan did give his so-called "Ivan and Anya speech" (Google it) in 1984 in which he talked about the danger of nuclear war, and he did take certain steps on arms control. (Don't forget the Stars Wars boondoggle, however.) But on balance, Reagan's foreign policy was not something to cheer about, and that's putting it mildly. (His other policies were bad, too.)

No comments: