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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Noam Chomsky: The Alien perspective on humanity - Jung & Naiv: Episode 284

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NC: So, going back to this interested Alien,

what he sees is that this remarkable species developed higher intelligence,

and it is now using it in order to destroy itself, and is on the verge of destruction.

And they might watch something like the current electoral campaign,

everyones paying attention to it,

and notice a very curious fact: none of this is being discussed.

Whats being discussed is tweets at 3 a.m., you know,

various kinds of vulgarity, anything, but serious problems.

TJ: Its a depressing topic.

But maybe the Alien would agree that ignorance is bliss? Ignorance is bliss?

NC: For a short time. Until it hits.

TJ: All right, Young & Naïve, we arein Boston, are we in Boston?

NC: No, we are in Cambridge.

TJ: Is that different?

NC: Across the river.

TJ: OK. And who are you?

NC: Im Noam Chomsky, I have been at MIT, where we now are, for 65 years, Im now a retired professor.

TJ: And you still have an office.

NC: I still have an office. Theyre nice to me.

TJ: Why would they be nice?

NC: Maybe because they like me.

TJ: I heard you are a little famousare you still famous?

NC: Thats for other people to decide.

TJ: I read a lot about you, and I want to start with one point you always make in your books,

about theAlien Perspective”.

Could youlets pretend you are an alien and watchon Earth.

What are you witnessing, like, in terms of politics?

NC: Well, if you are an alien with a kind of a long stretch of understanding,

maybe hundreds of thousands of years,

and youre watching whats going on on Earth, youd be pretty surprised.

TJ: Why?

NC: About two hundred thousand years ago,

a new species appeared on Earth, humans,

radically different from all others, as we can tell by just looking around.

For a long time they kind of just wandered around the Earth,

called hunter/gatherers, hunting, picking fruit and things like that.

But about a ten thousand years ago, they underwent a big change.

They started settled agriculture, they started building cities,

started expanding, started having wars, developed complex cultures

And during the last ten thousand years, they have expanded all over the Earth,

some, they already had, but much more densely settled, they have

in this country, for example, they immigrated from originally England,

and pretty much wiped out the indigenous population, and conquered a large part of the land

and so things continuedduring the 20th century they had massive wars of mutual destruction.

In 1945 they entered a new, a dramatic new era,

the nuclear age, in which they had devised means to destroy themselves.

And they have been living under the shadow of this threat, which is a very serious one,

for 70 years, up and back, now increasing again

And at the same time, though we didnt know it at the time,

Im old enough to remember it,

we now know that at about the same time a new geological epoch began.

The geologists divide all of history into different epochs, Pleistocene, Holocene

most of them last millions of years. This new one began

geologists now place it approximately at the end of the Second World War.

Its the period when very dramatic changes took place in the environment,

caused by human activity. Thats why its called the Anthropocene,

the human geological epoch, in which humans began to radically transform the environment,

and now to the point where theyre on the verge of destroying themselves.

So, going back to this interested Alien,

what he sees is that this remarkable species developed higher intelligence,

and it is now using it in order to destroy itself, and is on the verge of destruction.

And they might watch something like the current electoral campaign,

everyones paying attention to it, and notice a very curious fact:

none of this is being discussed.

Whats being discussed is tweets at 3 a.m., you know,

various kinds of vulgarity, anything, but serious problems.

And the two, the most serious problem that ever has arisen in human history, namely,

are we gonna survive, is not being discussed.

TJ: Why not?

NC: Thats an interesting question.

The extraterrestrial Alien might be asking himself,

what strange form of intelligence is it that enables great accomplishments to be achieved,

but is unable to ask the questionwill we survive?” andhow can we ensure our survival?”

Of course there are plenty of people doing it.

Theyre just off the mainstream, so you dont see it in the electoral campaign,

you dont see it in media commentary

You do see it in popular activism, all over.

And thats another fact that the Alien might be intrigued by.

TJ: So, if youre the Alien, how do you explain that after 200 000 years humanity hasnt united?

NC: Its tried in various times.

In 1945, at the beginning of the nuclear age,

it was recognized by people who were thinking,

that we simply have to unite in order to overcome the threat we have created to our own existence.

Albert Einstein for one said this as soon as the atom bomb went off,

he said this means that we must have world government, or else were finished.

And others drew the same conclusion.

In fact, if we go back to the late Forties,

some of the top bestsellers were discussions of how we can move on to world government.

And there was an effort. Its called the United Nations.

Which at the beginningit was hopedwould have promise of moving in this direction.

But it was pretty quickly undermined by competing nationalisms,

actually, the United Sates was of course in the lead,

because at the end of the Second World War the US had enormoushistoricenormous power,

without any historical precedent, even remotely like it,

it had about half the worlds wealth, which is incredible.

Other industrial societies had been destroyed or severely harmed.

The US economy gained enormously during the war.

Manufacturing quadrupled, new technologies were developed;

it was poised to be the dominant world power at a level that had never been seen in history.

Ah, things have changed to some extent since, but it is still, to a substantial extent, true.

So the US initiatives and actions were pretty critical.

And in the early years, see, the US used its power to turn,

to dominate the United Nations and basically to turn into a battering ram against its major enemies, the Soviet Union.

So in the early years of the United Nations,

if you look at vetoes of Security Council resolutions,

they were almost all Russian, because the UN was being used as a way to attack the Russians.

Often for legitimate reasons, but nevertheless thats how it was used.

That has changed over the years, but not in a way that has made the UN a functioning,

independent force that might bring people together.

So during the Nineteen-Fifties other industrial societies began to reconstruct from the war,

decolonization began; some parts of the world,

huge parts of the world that had been colonies of the European powers,

gained some measure of independence.

All of that led to a more diversified international system, and US power within the UN,

though still overwhelming, began to decline.

Vetoes of resolutions are a pretty good measure of it.

Up until 1970, there were no US vetoes. From 1970 to the present,

the United States is way in the lead when in to vetoing resolutions,

because its become increasingly isolated from large parts of world opinion.

Americans probably arent aware of this,

but there are polls of international opinion, carried out by the major US polling agencies,

not the Russian, no hostile enemies, like, Gallup polls,

and one of the questions they ask iswhich country is the greatest threat to world peace?” …

and the United States is way aheadnobody is even close.

This does not get reported in the United States, so people dont know about it

TJ: Is it true?

NC: Is it true? Thats what most of the world thinks.

TJ: What do you think?

NC: Oh, I think theres very good reason to believe it. We dont like to look at it that way, but

TJ: … were the good guysthe West

NC: Not the West, the United States.

But every other great power has also thought of itself as the good guys.

It was true of Britain when it was running the world,

it was true of France when it was a dominant power,

it was true of Hitler-Germany, it was true of fascist Japan, and in fact, its kind of universal.

Every state that has any degree of power regards itself as uniquely admirable or magnificent,

and doesnt understand why the rest of the world doesnt perceive their angelic character.

Thats historically universal.

Probably it is true of Genghis Kahn, though we have no records.

TJ: So ... ahlets stick with the Alien Perspective again,

if you say global warming and the nuclear age still has to be resolved,

like, we have to fix those problemsif we dont fix them,

will the 21st century be the final, the last century of humanity?

NC: Probably not of humanity, but of organized human life on Earth.

So for exampleif there is a nuclear war, which has come very close many times,

sometimes by accident, pure accident,

I could give you some examples which are harrowing, but sometimes by reckless actions.

The threat is now increasing. Some of the leading mainstream specialists,

nuclear strategists, people like William Perry, former Defense Secretary,

argue that the threat of nuclear war today is greater than it was during the Cold War.

TJ: Today?

NC: Today. And others agree.

There is a journal called theBulletin of the Atomic Scientists”.

Its a major journal of atomic scientists.

It opened right at the beginning of the nuclear age, in 1947, two years after the atomic bombing.

They established what they calling a Doomsday Clock, a clock with a minute hand.

The question is: How far is the minute hand from midnight?

Midnight means termination, were done.

Every year they collect a group of specialists, experts, to try to set the minute hand.

Two years ago they moved it two minutes closer to midnight.

Now, three minutes to midnight, which is very close,

the closest its been since the early Nineteen-Eighties, when there was a major war scare

we almost came to war.

So its not just William Perryplenty of others.

Incidentally, when they moved it to midnight,

it was not just because of a threat of nuclear war,

it was also because of the failure of governments to deal with the increasing threat of environmental catastrophe.

And its serious. So just take one element: Rising sea levels.

Thats not in question any longer; sea levels are rising,

and in fact faster than they have in recorded history.

Just consider a country like Bangladesh. Its a low-lying coastal plain;

it has hundreds of millions of people. As the sea level rises slightly,

those people are going to have to flee.

The chief environmental scientist of Bangladesh recently warned

that tens of millions of people are going to have to flee in the coming years, just from sea level rising.

And he made an interesting comment.

He said that if we lived in a just world, these people would be admitted into the rich countries,

the United States, England, and others, because those are the countries that are responsible for it,

and have the capacity to absorb them.

If we think we have an immigrant crisis today,

which is non-existent,

what is it going to be like when tens of millions of people are fleeing from rising sea levels?

And thats just the beginning. Just keep to South Asia.

The water supply of South Asia comes mostly from glaciers in the Himalaya Mountains.

They are melting. What happens when they disappear?

Thea are melting pretty fast. There goes the water supply for South Asia.

Couple of billion people. In India alone, right now,

there are already, about, estimated, 300 million people who barely have access to water.

Whats going to happen to them? Its all over the place.

Our coastal cities are going to disappear, and the extreme weather events will increase ...

Right now, there areabout one person per second is fleeing from the effects of severe weather.

Thats more than the number of refugees. And thats going to increase.

We are facing a major disaster, unless something is done.

Now this Alien, who is watching us, he would be astonished,

not just at the fact that it is not being discussed,

but the fact that in the richest and most powerful country in world history,

which is going to shape what happens for the future,

there is a major political party, the one that happens to dominate Congress right now,

which simply denies that its happening.

They have a policy about global warming: "Forget it. Its not happening, OK?"

Its hard to find words to describe this.

That means that in the most powerful country in world history,

the most educated, with major advantages,

a major political party is saying lets race to the precipice as quickly as possible.

And theres no comment on it. Try to find a comment on that fact.

I mean what it really means is that this is the most dangerous organization in world history.

TJ: The Republican Party?

NC: Take a look. Is that an exaggeration? In the primary,

the Republican primary, every single candidate said its not happening

with one exception, John Kasich, who is supposed to be the sensible, moderate.

He said yes, its happening, but we shouldnt do anything about it, which is worse.

So thats a 100% refusal, OK?

The winning candidate denies that whats happening, is happening,

and says we should make it worse. We should use more fossil fuels,

including coal, which is the most polluting,

we should eliminate environmental regulations,

we should refuse to help poorer countries move to sustainable energy,

as was agreed in the Paris negotiations last year,

which he wants to dismantle, so in other words,

lets race to the precipice as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, the threat of nuclear war is increasing,

with very provocative actions on both sides. And there is very little

Specialists are concerned, but its not part of the general kind of conversation.

Its not what you talk about with your friends when you go out for a cup of coffee.

TJ: Its a depressing topic.

But maybe the Alien would agree that ignorance is bliss? Ignorance is bliss?

NC: For a short time. Until it hits.

And its not bliss for other people.

Its not bliss for the one person per second who is fleeing the effects of severe weather, drought, and so on.

And these droughts, which are all over the place, are really having a big effect.

The catastrophe in Darfour, or whats now happening in Syria, which is horrible,

are to a significant extent the result of severe droughts. Take Syria.

Awful things are happening. Half a million people have been killed, millions are refugees.

The country is being destroyed.

Part of the reason is that several years before the conflict broke out there was a very severe drought in Syria.

Syria has been settled for thousands of years,

it is the heart of human civilization, and there has never been anything like it, in all of history.

A huge drought, that drove peasants off the land, they couldnt farm, couldnt survive.

Drove them into cities, that means densely populated urban slums, lots of tension and conflict.

All of that is kind of dry kindling.

Drop a match on it and it explodes. It sets up the basis for conflict.

In Darfour, where there was again a huge catastrophe, a couple of years ago,

but its still continuing,

part of the reason is that terrible droughts had driven nomadic populations into agricultural settled areas in order to survive, which set up, of course, a conflict.

If there is an invasion, what amounts to an invasion, of people trying to survive,

its not pleasant, but thats in large part the basis of what happened there.

And theres going to be more and more of it.

And were going to have water wars, because water is scarce and not preserved.

Ignorance is bliss, if you can get yourself away from it,

and not think about the near future, like or about the future of your children, say. Its not far off.

TJ: Ahmwant to talk about the American Empire?

Martin Luther King famously said:

The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.”

He meant the American government.

He said that 50 years ago. Is that still true?

NC: He said it at the peak of the Vietnam War,

where American B52 bombers were carrying out saturation bombing in the densely populated Mekong Delta.

Millions of people were killed, the country devastated

at about the time when he spoke, one of the leading specialists on Indochina,

Bernard Fall, a Vietnam historian, a military historian,

who was by no means on the Left, he was strongly in favor of the US-backed Saigon government and US policy.

He nevertheless pointed out that, as he put it,

Vietnam as a historical and cultural entity may not survive the greatest onslaught against a population in an area this size in history.

Thats when Martin Luther King spoke.

Has it changed? Not that much.

A couple of years agoin 2003 the United States,

along with Britain, invaded Iraq, killed hundreds of thousands of people,

generated millions of refugees, all kinds of atrocities, torture and so on

instigated a sectarian conflict

there is a major split in the Islamic world, it goes back to the eighth century,

which has been pretty amicable, just like Protestant and Catholic, kind of,

not during period of the Great Wars, but during the peaceful periods. …

In Iraq, the two groups were there, Shiite and Sunni, but they were intermingled,

they intermarried, they lived in the same areas,

sometimes people didnt know who was who, you know.

One of the effects of the American invasion,

an almost immediate effect was to begin to instigate a sectarian conflict, which is now tearing Iraq apart;

and its tearing the region apart.

Thats a devastating effect, and we can go on, its not the only case.

TJ: Germany is like one of the leading arms exporting nations in the world;

are we, as Germans, part of the problem as well?

NC: Part, yes, of course. So, for example, during the ....

inside NATO, during the Nineteen-Nineties,

Turkey was carrying out terrifying atrocities against its own Kurdish population

tens of thousands were killed, about 3500 towns and villages were destroyed,

hundreds of thousands, some say millions, of refugees fled the South-East of Turkey,

there was every imaginable kind of torture and terror

Germany was selling arms to the government of Turkey.

It wasnt the leaderthe Unites States was the leader, the big guy on the block,

but Germany was participating as much as it could. And its not the only case.

TJ: You called Obamas drone program, or drone-assassination program,

the by far greatest terrorist campaign in the world.

Does it mean Obama is a terrorist?

NC: Well, its justgo back to that Alien.

Suppose he thought for a few minutes, and he asked himself,

how would people in Germany be reacting if, say,

Iran washad a program in which sent people, assassins,

around the world to murder people who were threatening Iran.

For example the editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post,

major newspapers, who run articles saying we should bomb Iran right now, not wait.

Big articles. So suppose they figured, well, look, theyre threatening us, really seriously,

theyre claiming theyre gonna destroy us, Lets killem.

And plenty of others, including, say, President Obama, who saysall options are open”,

meaning including nuclear war, if Iran doesnt do what we want.

So, well get rid ohim, and plenty of people in Germany who are saying similar things.

So how would people, say, young people in Germany react to those actions?

Would they call them terrorism?

TJ: Probably.

NC: I think so. And thats what were doing.

The drone program is a program that is initiated, implemented, from the White House.

Careful planning, they meet Tuesday morning, decide whos on the kill list today,

and kill people who are suspected of planning to harm the United States.

Is that any different than killing the editors of the Washington Post or the New York Times?

Becausethere arent anytheyre not suspected, in fact, they publish articles saying

lets bomb Iran right now”…

TJ: So, Obama is a terrorist?

NC: Ask yourself how the Alien would look at it. Andhes a neutral observer.

Heor shewe didnt decide, but Aliens are usually a he

so, how would he look at it?

TJ: How would Noam Chomsky look at it?

NC: Aahmyouve quoted me

TJ: And since Germany is part of the drone program, withuhm I dont know,

Ramstein, you know, Ramstein, they are the relay stations for the drones

are we also terrorists?

NC: Sure. In fact not just that.

You are torturers. Germany was involved in the rendition program.

The worst form of torture.

The most depraved form, and the most cowardly form is to take suspects

and send them to terrorist countries where you know theyre gonna be tortured.

Thats the peak. You send them to Syria, or Libya under Ghaddafi,

and thats the way you can make sure theyre gonna be tortured.

There was a study recently of the countries that participated in the

its called rendition, in the rendition program

and practically all of Europethe Middle East, of course,

because thats where the suspects were sent to be tortured, by dictators,

in fact the only part of the world that didnt participate was South America, Latin America.

They refused. Which is kind of interesting, for a number of reasons.

For one thing, because they refused, for another,

because not many years ago Latin America was the center of global torture.

During the period of the US-backed, sometimes US-installed dictatorships

of the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, first Brazil, then Chile under Pinochet,

then Argentina, which was the worst of all, others, Uruguay.

There was horrible torture all over the place, not very long ago.

But enough of a change has taken place that Latin America,

virtually alone, didnt participate in the most depraved, cowardly, disgusting form of torture, rendition.

But Europe did.

TJ: Solets go back to the Alien.

I mean, hes been watching for hundreds of thousands of years,

he has seen empires rise and empires fall.

And, basically the rule seems to be, every empire falls.

But since the United States is the exceptional nation,

maybe the American Empire is the exception to that rule?

Will the American Empire fall?

NC: If you had asked the question in 1850, Britain would have been the exception.

It was ruling the waves, half, large parts of the world were red on the map,

meaning dominated by Britain, it looked impregnableyou couldnt have predicted its fall.

You couldnt have predicted the fall, in 1943, you couldnt have predicted the fall of Hitler-Germany,

1942, maybe, it looked like it was conquering everything.

In fact, if you go back to American planners, right through the Second World War,

of course American leaders were planning how to run the war and what the post-war world would look like

and the United States happens to be a very open society,

so we have a lot of information about what the government is doing,

not like other societies, we are much more free …. And we know what they were planning.

At that time, say, roughly 1942, you know, before Stalingrad,

American planners assumed that the post-war world would be divided

into an American-controlled world and a German-controlled world.

Two worlds, the American-controlled world would of course have the Western hemisphere,

take over the former British Empire, whatever they could hold on to in Eurasia,

and the German-controlled world would have the rest. Thats what it looked like in 1942

Im old enough to remember it;

I didnt know it about the planning of course, but you could see what was happening in the world.

And until the Russians turned the tide, and began to drive the German armies back,

Stalingrad, Kursk, and so on, thats the way it looked.

Could you have predicted? Not really.

The American Empire is not what it was in 1945.

As I mentioned, the worlds become considerably more diverse.

So in 1945 the US had maybe half the worlds wealth, and today it has maybe a quarter,

which is colossal, but not the same.

And large parts of the world that were under US control or partially under US control, in 1945, are no longer.

China for example. China became independent in 1949.

There is a phrase for that in the West.

Its calledthe Loss of China”, which is a very interesting phrase

when the Alien observes and he notices we are calling it the Loss of China.

I cant lose your computer. I can lose my computer.

If we lost China that means we owned China, and thats the assumption.

The tacit assumption is: We own it. Its ours.

And if it becomes independent, weve lost it.

TheLoss of Indochinawas described the same way, it is an interesting mentality.

But nevertheless, it has declined.

However, if you use different measures, you get a different picture.

This is a different world than it was in the Nineteen-Forties.

Its a much morein economic terms, its a more globalized world.

Corporations, for example: In the Nineteen-Forties,

they operated primarily in their home countries. And now they have global operations, so

I see youve got an iPhone, or whatever it is over there, something, one of those things

lets say iPhones, which have been studied carefully.

They are produced by Apple. They are assembled in South-East China,

by a Taiwanese corporation, Foxconn.

But Apple runs the whole operation, and if you look at the profits, they go back to Apple, overwhelmingly.

Foxconn gets about 10%. China gets a little bit.

They are the assembly plant for Foxconn, which is effectively a subsidiary of Apple.

Thats globalized operations.

And if you now look at the ownership of the world,

which corporations basically own the world, it turns out that US corporations have about half of ownership of the world.

So in some respects, its not very different from 1945.

Its not national territory that has half the worlds wealth, bus US-based corporations that do.

Thats a change in the world system, a significant change,

which hasnt been sufficiently investigated.

China has grown enormously, but its not among the top owners

if you look at Chinese corporations, theyre not the ones that run the world.

So yes, its a very different, complex world, changed in lots of ways.

These international corporations, multi-nationals,

are nationally based, so they rely on their home country, and the tax-payers in their home country

increasingly they dont contribute to their home country.

So take Apple again. It sets up a headquarters in Ireland, which may be, for all I know, the size of this office.

And it says, OK, thats our base.

So we just pay Irish taxes, which happen to be very low.

Luxembourg, even lower, Cayman Islands, even lower.

Recently a study came out, the Panama Papers, its called.

By now a couple of hundred journalists are trying to work through the hundreds of thousands of pages.

Basically they are the records of a Panama-based law firm

which is running techniques of tax evasion for corporations and wealthy people all over the world

trillions of dollars, tens of trillions of dollars being manipulated to avoid paying taxes in the home country,

though they rely on the home country, for subsidy, for support, they rely in many ways.

Take a walk around MIT where we are now, just look at the buildings that are there.

Notice who they are.

Youll see Novartis, Pfizer, other big pharmaceutical corporations, genetic engineering corporations and so on

What are they doing there?

What theyre doing is ripping off publicly-funded research at MIT.

And Harvard, mainly MIT. Thats a large part of the way the economy develops.

The public pays for the research and development, the costly, risky phase,

then hand it over to the private corporations for marketing and profit.

And then they carry out their international operations, try to maximize profit,

and very commonly work out devious techniques,

so they dont have to contribute to their home societies forthrough taxes.

Thats a large part of the modern world, a very substantial part.

So, is it an empire?

We have to decide what we mean by the word.

Its a different kind of ... form of international domination.

TJ: Do you think its gonna be the last empire? … The Alien looks at it

NC: The Alien who looks at it and looks at the way humans are responding to the current situation,

would probably conclude that its quite likely that in another century human society will have disintegrated

because it will not be able to deal with the immense

it is not trying to deal with seriously, the immense problems it is facing, including

I mentioned two, which are enormous, but theres more than that.

Another major problem is the threat of pandemics, diseases that cant be controlled.

Thats already happening. And its happening for important reasons.

One major reason, which we havent mentioned,

but the Alien would notice, is industrial meat production.

Industrial meat production is a huge contributor to global warming.

It is an enormous producer of carbon dioxide and methane and other gases,

but it also has another feature. Corporations pour antibiotics into these systems.

Animals are crowded together in horrible conditions,

and to prevent disease, and to maintain growth,

there is an extensive use of antibiotics;

an enormous part of the whole antibiotics production is for this.

The use of antibiotics leads to mutations which make bacteria antibiotic-resistant,

and by now the rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is growing faster than the techniques for dealing with them.

So we may be destroying ourselves in that way, too.

Theres a lot of things the Alien would notice that we should be noticing.

TJ: So are you a vegan?

NC: I am not, but I can imagine that one would be.

The crucial question in my view is not

I mean, individual actions are OK, theyre good to do,

its good to use less energy, and so on.

But whats really needed is collective action to deal with the roots of the problem.

I mean, if you are a vegan, lets say, and you eat food, fruit and vegetables,

that are transported from somewhere else, youre contributing to the destruction of the environment.

Thats what transport is. A lot of things to look at.

We all make individual compromises, there is no choice.

You cant avoid it. Like, weve got the lights on. Youve got the electricity, right?

But the crucial question is really institutional.

How are we gonna deal with the institutions that are creating these systems?

TJ: Tell us.

NC: Well, there is only one way thats ever been discovered:

Organized, collective action, which has led to a lot of changes.

Take Germany: Its not the same country it was seventy, eighty years ago. Why?

Germans made it a different country. We can do the same.

In fact, take, say, global warming:

Germany is pretty advanced among countries of the world in trying to do something about it.

Thats because Germans committed themselves to do something.

We can do the same on the other issues. Take, say, the threat of nuclear war:

Right now its mostly on the Russian border.

On the Russian border, not the Mexican border.

Now thats a reflection of the scale of global power. Why

theres provocations on both sides.

And Germany is right there, in fact, Germany is right in the center of it.

The major issue had to do with Germany.

Go back to 1991, end of the Soviet Empire.

There was the question as to how the world system would be reconstructed with the Soviet system collapsing.

There were two views. Gorbachev, the Russian leader,

proposed a vision of a unified security system for all of Eurasia with no military blocs,

just cooperative integration. That was one vision.

The Americans, with President George Bush number one,

and his Secretary of State James Baker, they had a different vision.

The Russian system would collapse, and NATO would expand.

Crucial question was Germany.

For Russia its a pretty serious question.

Germany alone had practically destroyed Russia twice during the preceding century,

and earlier, other Western invasions, from Western Europe.

So what happened to Germany was going to be a serious question.

Gorbachev agreed to allow Germany to be unified, East and West,

and even to join NATO, a hostile military alliance, which was quite a concession.

But there was an agreement, he thought,

the agreement was that NATO would not expand one inch to the East.

That was the phrase that was used, which meant East Germany.

NATO immediately expanded to East Germany.

When Gorbachev protested, the Americans pointed out, correctly,

that it wasnt a written agreement. It was just a verbal agreement, like a handshake.

So, if you trust us, thats kind of your problem.

So NATO expanded to East Germany under

the following years under Clinton, it expanded to the former Russian Empire,

all the way to the borders of Russia.

In 2008, and again in 2013, under Obama, NATO offered admission to NATO to Ukraine

Take a look at the map and [at] history.

Ukraine is right in the geopolitical and strategic heartland of Russia,

apart from long historical, other connections.

Offering Ukraine NATO membership is a very serious threat to Russia.

Western analysts understand that.

Right now the United States, Obama, is placing a

whats called a missile defense system in Romania.

The pretense is that it is supposed to defend Europe from non-existent Iranian missiles, OK?

You can believe that, you can believe in Alice in Wonderland.

Its of course aimed against Russia, obviously.

Furthermore, its understood by strategic analysts on all sides that whats called missile defense is an offensive weapon.

Nobody believes that missile defense could ever stop a first strike,

but it is imaginable that it might deter a retaliatory strike, which means,

its a first-strike weapon, and everyone understands that. Its highly provocative.

Now the Russians are carrying out a major military build-up of their own,

modernizing forces, new missile systems, nuclear submarines with nuclear weapons, and so on

and you have constant threats right at the border.

Jet planes of both sides kind of buzzing each other, and so oncould blow up.

Germany is sitting right there.

Germany could play a leading role in trying to reduce these tensions,

and in fact some German political leaders have called for that.

But these are choices, and they are choices that the German people will have to make.

Do we wanna have a nuclear war and destroy everything?

Do we wanna wipe out the world with global catastrophes?

Thats for people to decide.

TJ: Thanks so much for the Alien Perspective.

We have to wrap it up. Thanks so much!

The Description of Noam Chomsky: The Alien perspective on humanity - Jung & Naiv: Episode 284