Noam Chomsky: American Foreign Policy Has a Long, Ugly History of Election-Rigging

After Donald Trump's vertigo-inducing election to the presidency, many members of the liberal media establishment have been quick to finger Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin for infiltrating our democratic institutions. Noam Chomsky believes the rest of the world must be "astonished" if not "collapsing in laughter."

Since the end of the second World War, America has had its thumb on the scales of elections across the planet, from South Korea and Indochina to Greece and Italy, Australia and South America. In an illuminating new interview with Truthout, the philosopher and political scientist reveals just how nefarious American interventionism has proven over the last 70 years:

"The history of US foreign policy... is pretty much defined by the subversion and overthrow of foreign regimes, including parliamentary regimes, and the resort to violence to destroy popular organizations that might offer the majority of the population an opportunity to enter the political arena."

The United States infamously enlisted German scientists to combat the Soviets in Operation Paperclip, but government officials have cooperated with fascists and Nazi sympathizers on any number of occasions. "Following the Second World War, the United States was committed to restoring the traditional conservative order," Chomsky says. "To achieve this aim, it was necessary to destroy the anti-fascist resistance... to weaken unions and other popular organizations." 

This often meant marginalizing and even destroying Communist parties throughout Western Europe.

"[In 1947], the US pressured political leaders in France and Italy to form coalition governments excluding the communists. It was made clear and explicit that aid was contingent on preventing an open political competition, in which left and labor might dominate."

As Chomsky tells it, these moves were all part of a larger scheme to consolidate business and reify a capitalist world order. In France, for instance, "the postwar destitution was exploited to undermine the French labor movement, along with direct violence. Desperately needed food supplies were withheld to coerce obedience, and gangsters were organized to provide goon squads and strike breakers, a matter that is described with some pride in semi-official US labor histories."

Perhaps most cynical is that these kinds of covert actions have traditionally been justified as measures preserving a freedom of choice. 

"The democratic idea, at home and abroad, is simple and straightforward," Chomsky ruefully observes. "You are free to do what you want, as long as it is what we want you to do."

Read the interview at Truthout.


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