William Buckely and Noam Chomsky Debate Military Intervention

Here’s a fascinating debate from the 1960s between two American intellectual giants–William Buckely and Noam Chomsky–on the morality of military intervention. Chomsky makes a very strong claim: in the history of humankind never has a state intervened military on the basis of disinterested (i.e., altruistic) motives. Military intervention is always about the furthering of self-interest, but is often dressed up in garb of humanitarianism. Chomsky notes, of course, the few exceptions; exceptions, that is, in the sense that some states didn’t even bother trying to put a veneer of humanitarianism on their naked power grabs–think Belgian in the Congo.

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