Noam Chomsky: The Arab world has harbored fantasies about the supernatural power of the United States

Mohammed Attar Interviews Noam Chomsky at the website of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung:

Your discourse unambiguously states that America and Israel have no desire to see the regime fall and that their actions are determined by the “better the devil you know” principle. How do you explain a counter-discourse, promulgated by analysts and intellectuals, especially among Leftist circles in Europe the US and the Arab world, which is based on the supposition of an American/Israeli/imperialist plot? For some people, the revolution in Syria has been a conspiracy from the outset. For others it was hijacked by the conspiracy.

Chomsky1For a long time, the Arab world and other places beside have played host to stories and illusions about the supernatural power of the United States, which controls everything through complex conspiracies and plots. In this worldview, everything that takes place can be explained in terms of imperialist conspiracies. This is an error. Without a doubt, the UnitedStates are still a great power and capable of influencing events, but they are not always able to manipulate them by means of complex conspiracies: this really is beyond their capacities. Of course the Americans do sometimes try to do this, but they fail, too. What happened in Syria is not outside our understanding: it began as a popular and democratic protest movement demanding democratic reforms, but instead of responding to it in a constructive, positive manner, Assad reacted with violent repression. The usual outcome of such a course of action is either a successful crushing of the protests or otherwise, to see them evolve and militarize, and this is what took place in Syria. When a protest movement enters this phase we see new dynamics at play: usually, the rise of the most extremist and brutal elements to the front ranks.

More here. [Thanks to Omar Ali.]