Noam Chomsky: How Close the World Is to Nuclear War
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As the Russians began to grind down the German armies after Stalingrad, they recognized that Germany was weakened—at first, they thought that Germany would emerge from the war as a major power. So the Grand Area planning was extended to as much of Eurasia as possible, including at least Western Europe, which is the industrial-commercial center of the region. That’s the Grand Area, and within that area, there can be no exercise of sovereignty. Of course, they can’t carry it off.
For example, China is too big to push around and they’re exercising their sovereignty. Iran is trying, it’s small enough so you can push them around—they think so. Even Latin America is getting out of control. Brazil was not following orders. And, in fact, a lot of South America isn’t, and the whole thing is causing a lot of desperation in Washington. You can see it if you look at the official pronouncements. China is not paying attention to US sanctions on Iran. US sanctions on Iran have absolutely no legitimacy. It’s just that people are afraid of the United States. And Europe more or less goes along with them, but China doesn’t. They disregard them. They observe the UN sanctions, which have formal legitimacy but are toothless, so they’re happy to observe them. The major effect of the UN sanctions is to keep Western competitors out of Iran, so they can move in and do what they feel like. The US is pretty upset about it. In fact, the State Department issued some very interesting statements, interesting because of their desperate tone. They warned China that, this is almost a quote, “if you want to be accepted into the international community, you have to meet your international responsibilities, and the international responsibilities are to follow our orders.” You can see both the desperation in US planning circles and you can kind of imagine the reaction of the Chinese foreign office, they’re probably laughing, you know, why should they follow US orders? They’ll do what they like.
They’re trying to recover their position as a major world power. For a long time they were the major world power before what they call the “century of humiliation.” They are now coming back to a three-thousand-year tradition of being the center of the world and dismissing the barbarians. So, okay, “we’ll just go back to that and the US can’t do anything about it,” which is causing enormous frustration. That’s why they get terribly upset when China doesn’t observe US sanctions on Iran. By now it’s not China and Iran that are isolated on Iran sanctions; it’s the United States that’s isolated. The nonaligned countries—118 countries, most of the world—have always supported Iran’s right to enrich uranium, still do. Turkey recently constructed a pipeline to Iran, so has Pakistan. Turkey’s trade with Iran has been going way up, they’re planning to triple it the next few years. In the Arab world, public opinion is so outraged at the United States that a real majority now favors Iran developing nuclear weapons, not just nuclear energy. The US doesn’t take that too seriously, they figure that dictatorships can control the populations. But when Turkey’s involved or, certainly, when China’s involved, it becomes a threat. That’s why you get these desperate tones. Apart from Europe, almost nobody’s accepting US orders on this. Brazil’s probably the most important country in the South. Not long ago, Brazil and Turkey made a deal with Iran for enriching a large part of the uranium; the US quickly shot that down. They don’t want it, but the world is just hard to control. The Grand Area planning was okay at the end of the Second World War when the US was overwhelmingly dominant, but it has been kind of fractured ever since—and during the last few years, considerably. And I think this is related to the proliferation issues. The US is strongly supporting India and Israel, and the reason is they’ve now turned India into a close strategic ally—Israel always was. India, on the other hand, is playing it pretty cool. They’re also improving their relations with China.