Noam Chomsky on US Military Presence in Europe and the Case of Edward Snowden

In this interview with MIT professor, anarchist, philosopher and renowned linguist Noam Chomsky, we discuss US military presence in Europe and the case of Edward Snowden.


Zain Raza: According to a report by the US Department of Defense, dated June 2015, there are 44,660 US troops stationed in Germany. It is estimated that there’s circa — and reports vary, but let me just point this out — 170 military installations, the most vital being Ramstein, where drone operations, as you know, are conducted from. What do you think is the view of the US political and military establishment towards Germany today? Is there any significant change since what you’ve described before?

Noam Chomsky: If you go back to the early ’50s, there was always concern that Europe might move in a direction independent of US power. It might become what was called at the time a “third force” in international affairs. The dominant force was the United States; the second force was the junior super-power Russia/Soviet Union, and there was concern that Europe was, of course, a rich, developed, advanced area that might just move in an independent direction. There were various proposals for this, like de Gaulle advocated what he called a “Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals,” including the major developed parts of Russia. Willy Brandt’s Ostpolitik was another move in that direction. And the US was always concerned with [this]. In fact, one of the functions of NATO, as is generally understood, was to ensure that Europe would remain under the US aegis, but not move towards an independent direction. Now those concerns still exist, and in some ways are even greater. Europe does have the capacity, under German initiative, to move in an independent direction. There’s some steps in that direction — it’s very current, in fact. Take, say, the Iran nuclear deal that was just made. The European powers — Germany, France — are very enthusiastic about it. They’re moving directly to try to re-establish…

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