Deterring Democracy | Noam Chomsky

Summary of: Deterring Democracy
By: Noam Chomsky


In ‘Deterring Democracy’, Noam Chomsky exposes an uncomfortable truth behind the glossy facade of American democracy. By examining historical and current events, Chomsky reveals that the United States is not the beacon of democracy it claims to be, but rather a global force working against it. Delve into this book summary and uncover the fallacies behind the American empire’s so-called commitment to democracy both domestically and internationally. Understand how the U.S. uses its military power to ruthlessly override sovereign nations’ rights, from Nicaragua to the Philippines, all in the name of freedom and democracy.

Illusion of American Democracy

The United States’ image as a democracy is a false reality that masks its true intentions, exposing a danger to democracy both domestically and internationally. The U.S. is unchallenged as the leading military power, but its economic might has declined drastically. The potential consequences resulting from exploiting their advantage ruthlessly are grave. The U.S. government has hidden their real agenda from the public both domestically and internationally throughout its history. Even if it takes decades or generations, historians have always eventually uncovered the truth. The citizens must be genuinely involved in the management of their public affairs for society to be democratic.

The Two Sides of the Cold War

The Cold War was not only a confrontation between two superpowers, as conventional understanding would have it. The less orthodox perception argues that much of what the United States did in the name of “national security,” or fighting the Cold War, was actually done in the name of its own interests worldwide. The United States has proudly promoted itself as the defender of freedom and the supporter of “the God-given rights of the individual” since its inception. However, it has illustrated those virtues in the most ludicrous manner. Despite its continuing legacy of human slavery, genocidal assaults, and various other atrocities, the US has ironically taken the moral high ground as a superpower in the Cold War.

Challenging the Myth of Democracy

The US claims to support democracy globally, but it may not always serve its financial interests. Democracy means little room for US economic intervention, which is crucial for US-based businesses outside the country. In the US, although the illusion of a fully functioning democracy persists, there is no independent media or political organization that might offer the people means to gain information. A government that is driven underground by the domestic enemy turns to clandestine terror and submersion. To gain approval, the government uses propaganda.

The Soviet Hobgoblin

The Cold War served as an excuse for the US government to justify any technological, political, or economic advances or interventions in foreign countries. The Soviet Union played a significant role in American politics during this time, serving as an imaginary enemy that domestic and international elites used to keep the population in a state of alarm. However, the Soviet threat was not entirely imaginary, as the Soviet Union was a major power that expanded its control over Eastern Europe, backed military actions in the Middle East, and threatened to expand further into Western Europe. Using the Soviet threat as an excuse for American interventions became a commonplace tactic, even in countries like Greece, Guatemala, Nicaragua, or Grenada, which posed no real threat to US survival. Despite the apparent decline in US interventions with the end of the Cold War, American elites remain reluctant to abandon the Soviet hobgoblin entirely.

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