Noam Chomsky: US withdrawal from Afghanistan won’t be the 'end of the empire'

Noam Chomsky: US withdrawal from Afghanistan won’t be the 'end of the empire'
Noam Chomsky in 2016, Wikimedia Commons

After 20 years, the War in Afghanistan officially came to an end with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country and the Taliban seizing control. President Joe Biden essentially followed the Trump Administration's plan for withdrawal, although at a slower pace than what Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had in mind. Left-wing author Noam Chomsky discussed that withdrawal during a recent interview with the democratic socialist publication Jacobin, arguing that the United States stayed in Afghanistan much too long and will continue to be imperialistic.

Interviewed by J.C. Pan and Ariella Thornhill for "The Jacobin Show" after the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Chomsky argued, "There was no reasonable basis for the war in the first place…. We now know that the Taliban were willing to surrender in 2001. But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld proudly announced, 'We don't negotiate surrenders.'"

After 9/11, Chomsky told Pan and Thornhill, anyone who opposed long-time U.S. intervention in Afghanistan "was either ignored or ridiculed by the mainstream press." Now, many people on both the left and the right as well as in the center are saying that the U.S. stayed in Afghanistan much longer than it should have, but Chomsky believes that the U.S. hasn't abandoned its desire for an "empire."

"Is this the end of the empire? No," Chomsky said during the "Jacobin Show" interview. "All that's resulted is the acknowledgment that the War in Afghanistan was too costly to us, so we'll do things differently going forward."

Chomsky also voiced his opposition to sanctions against Afghanistan.

The author told Pan and Thornhill, "I don't like the Taliban. You don't like them. But that's no reason to punish Afghans. They need the humanitarian aid badly. It's Afghan people who are starving — not the Taliban leaders. Sanctions in general punish the population and not their leadership. That was true of the sanctions on Iraq, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela, too."

Watch the interview below:

Noam Chomsky: American Empire After 20 Years in Afghanistan — Full Interview, 2021 www.youtube.com

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