Deterring Democracy

This rich, dense, and thought-provoking polemic about the shifting influence of global power-brokers tackles a wide range of major issues and peripheral themes. Among them are the interplay of individual freedom and governmental control, the prospects facing American leadership and the politically involved segments of the population in the changing world order, and the impact of political and public policy on democracy.

These issues ar raised as the author examines the tripolar power structure—created by the United States, the Soviet Union, and Japan—which emerged after the 1970’s, replacing previous U.S. global dominance. (Recent events in the former Soviet Union have altered this picture, but much of Chomsky’s analysis remains relevant.) Despite this change, America insists on remaining the preeminent world power (as measured by military might), and this, Chomsky warns, will exact a fatal price because the country no longer has the economic resources to sustain such a military.

One consequence, increasing domestic economic difficulty and the tendency to rely on force rather than diplomacy in international disputes, has become a chilling reality, as witnessed in the current recession, the recent Gulf War, and persistent use of the military in Central American policy.

In contrast, Chomsky points to Japan and Germany’s application of their natural resources and political power to social ideals and identifies them as “great workshops” for democracy.

From the facts and fancy surrounding the Cold War and the problems of population control to the complexity of global sociopolitics and America’s political agenda in the decade of the 1990’s, Chomsky masterfully explores the most germane issues, no matter how complex, and does so in a way that is eminently readable and understandable. In DETERRING DEMOCRACY, Chomsky once again proves he is truly an original thinker and a lucid writer.