What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World

Noam Chomsky, interviewed by David Barsamian

Linguist Noam Chomsky fights power by breaking down weak arguments and questioning assumed logic, which is precisely why this book doesn’t quite work. The interview format prevents Chomsky from thoroughly developing his thinking, and David Barsamian doesn’t challenge him to support all his claims. Chomsky does, however, back up his main assertion: The United States operates on the presupposition that it owns the world, unconstrained by international law, with a democratic philosophy of “what we say goes.” He explores U.S. relations with South America and the Middle East, and discusses the Iraq war and confrontations with North Korea. When it comes to U.S. global domination, the book’s most poignant statement is that of a quoted French revolutionary: “The great are only great because we are on our knees.”