cover image The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power

The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power

Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad. New Press, $24.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-62097-760-6

Linguist Chomsky (The Responsibility of Intellectuals) and historian Prashad (The Darker Nations) take a blistering tour of U.S. foreign policy failures. In a series of edited conversations, the authors contend that U.S.-led military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya not only failed to achieve their objectives, but unleashed “chaos” and “needless suffering” on civilians. They trace the roots of these debacles to America’s “Godfather attitude,” which “expanded geometrically” after the collapse of the Soviet Union left the U.S. without a rival superpower. Claiming that the CIA was more responsible for 9/11 than the Taliban, Chomsky and Prashad classify the invasion of Afghanistan as an “illegitimate aggression.” Elsewhere, they delve into the Reagan administration’s strong support for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran; explain how the NATO bombing of Libya in 2011 undermined promising peace negotiations led by the African Union; and predict that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will bring Russia and China closer together and significantly set back efforts to mitigate climate change. Though the conversations tend to ramble, Chomsky and Prashad have a firm command of their subject matter and make incisive connections between seemingly disparate events. The result is a fierce and well-informed condemnation of U.S. imperialism. (Aug.)