Noam Chomsky may be 91 years old, but the man who The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan calls “the most cited author alive” is in no danger of slowing down. As a linguist and activist, Chomsky has spoken out against American imperialism and for leftist causes since the 1960s. While he continues to do so during the Trump administration, that doesn’t mean his opinions can be pigeonholed — he’s equally tough on Democrats who fail to stand up to President Donald Trump and for progressive policies as he is on Republicans who prop up his presidency.

Chomsky may have a long history with these issues, but that history allows for nuance and for him to occasionally change his mind. He spoke with Hasan on the Deconstructed podcast, covering everything from withdrawing American troops in Syria, the odds that Trump will actually be impeached, the radicalization of the Republican Party, Bernie Sanders and much more.

When it comes to Syria, Chomsky is opposed to Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops. As he explained to Hasan, “A small U.S. contingent with the sole mission of deterring a planned Turkish invasion, which was obvious, is not imperialism.” Quite the opposite, he continues, “It’s protecting the Kurds from an expansion of the atrocities and massacres that [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has been carrying out both within Turkey itself and in the areas of Syria that he’s already conquered.”

On impeachment, Chomsky is frustrated that it took Trump asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens before the Democrats would consider impeachment. “We’re actually facing a constitutional crisis,” Chomsky explained, referring to our current political moment.

However, “they’re going after Trump not on his major crimes but because he went after a leading Democrat,” he points out, before relating the situation back to Richard Nixon, asking, “Does that remind you of anything? Yes. Watergate. They didn’t go after Nixon on his major crimes. They were off the record. It was because he had attacked the Democratic Party.”

Chomsky is also suspicious that the impeachment inquiry will actually result in removing Trump from office. If anything, he explains, it will only make him stronger among his base:

What’ll happen is probably the House will impeach, goes to the Senate. The Republican senators are utterly craven. They’re terrified of Trump’s voting base. So they’ll vote to turn down the impeachment request. Trump will come along, say I’m vindicated. Say it was the Deep State and the treacherous Dems trying to overturn the election. Oh, vote for me.

He also believes that the current direction of the Republican Party shouldn’t come as a surprise:

That’s part of the problem of the Republican Party. Its primary constituency is extreme wealth and corporate power. Those are the ones they serve.

It’s increasingly becoming the case that a very small sector of voters, maybe 20% or so, who are white, often white nationalist, Christian, often evangelical, traditional, older, less educated, rural, can actually run the country.

As for the 2020 Democratic candidates, Chomsky is lukewarm toward Elizabeth Warren and more enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders:

I think [Warren] seems to me quite honest. I think many of her plans are perfectly reasonable. She’s working with quite serious economists, some of them friends. But she doesn’t pretend to be, to try, to hoping to institute radical institutional changes. Sanders does. Furthermore, she has not organized a mass political movement which Sanders did. And it’s had a lot of effect. That’s how you get people in Congress like [Rep. Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez and others because of this movement.

Listen to the full interview here.


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