Extracto del libro recién publicado Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice
By Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar.
Edited by Stephen R. Shalom. Boulder, CO; Paradigm Publishers, 2006.
Interview by Stephen R. Shalom
Shalom: Back in February 2003, when prowar forces in the United States were pouring out all their French wine and renaming French fries because France wasn't cooperating in the Security Council, a lot of people in the antiwar movement were sort of cheering on France and Germany and Russia, and other governments that opposed the war. How reliable are these governments in their antiwar stances?
Chomsky: Their reliability is approximately zero. Sensible antiwar activists don't ally themselves with governments. There was something important about their position -- namely, there was a reason why they were being so bitterly denounced by U.S. elites: They were meeting minimal conditions of democracy. For whatever reason -- pure cynicism, in fact -- they were acting the way a democratic government is supposed to act. In short, they were responding to the will of the overwhelming majority of their populations. The position of the antiwar movement should have been that it's fine that these governments are paying attention to their populations, whatever their reasons may be, but we certainly don't ally with them, or have any trust in them. What happened here was quite intriguing, but was basically ignored. I can't recall any display of hatred and contempt for democracy as extreme as what took place in those months in the United States, pretty much across the spectrum. There was what Rumsfeld called "Old Europe" and "New Europe." Under his definition, they are distinguished by a very sharp criterion: Old Europe consists of the countries where the governments took the same position as that of a large majority of the population; New Europe -- the "hope for democracy" -- is the governments that disregard an even larger percentage of the population. Some of it was almost comical, like Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi being invited to the White House as the representative of the hope for democracy. You don't know whether to laugh or cry. But the worst case was José María Aznar, the Spanish prime minister. He was so lauded by Bush and by British prime minister Tony Blair as the hope for democracy that he was brought to their summit in the Azores, where they basically declared the war a couple of days before the invasion. Aznar joined in this war declaration right after polls in Spain showed that the war had the support of 2 percent of the population, so therefore he's the great hope for democracy. He was willing to follow orders from Crawford, Texas, with 2 percent of the population supporting him. What does that tell you about the attitudes toward democracy?
Some of it became surreal. When the Turkish government, to everyone's surprise, including mine, went along with the opinion of 95 percent of its population and refused to allow a U.S. offensive through Turkey, the Turkish government was bitterly condemned for lacking democratic credentials -- that was the phrase that was used -- because it went along with the opinion of 95 percent of the public. That great dove, Secretary of State Colin Powell, immediately announced we're going to have to have sanctions against Turkey. Most extreme was former undersecretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz. He is the person identified in the United States and, as far as I know, the European media as the leading force in democracy promotion -- the "idealist in chief," as he was called in the Washington Post. He berated the Turkish military for not intervening to compel the government to overrule 95 percent of the population; he basically ordered them to apologize to the United States, and to say, "Let's figure out how we can be as helpful as possible to the Americans." And this was supposed to be democracy. And this farce went on, without comment. The fact that anyone can talk about democracy promotion, after this display, is astounding.
This is what the antiwar movement should be emphasizing. And if there are a couple of governments that for their own cynical reasons happen to agree with the majority of the population and take the right position, fine, but that's the end of it; there's nothing more to say about them. Tomorrow they'll do the opposite, because they're acting out of pure cynicism -- power interests -- anyway.