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Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge/USA, and political activist

“The future of the Euro zone looks pretty dim unless primarily Germany changes its stance”, says Noam Chomsky. Germany was forgiven its huge debt by European countries after World War II so it could grow its way out of the crisis and became the major industrial center of Europe. Now Germany is in the lead in trying to prevent similar policies. “Austerity is no way to get out of a crisis, it just makes it worse”. Even the International Monetary Fund has pulled back from it. Meanwhile the famous article of the Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff which was used as the intellectual foundation of the austerity programs turned out to be flawed. “Deficits do in fact provide and stimulate demand. (…) Overcoming deficit is not a problem. It´s a problem for the banks and therefore it´s the center of the political debate because of their political power.” But for the population polls show the problem is jobs. “The lack of jobs is destroying a whole generation with all kinds of consequences for the future. In Europe it is even worse. And it is also harming the economy. A huge amount of potential growth is being destroyed because we have to worry about the non-existent threat of inflation.” The public just has less and less say when it comes to neoliberal policies, social cuts and free trade. “It´s not irreversible and there is plenty of protests. It might crystallize into popular movements which will compel serious changes. But it´s a long way to go and Germany is in the center of it because of its power.”

“Much to the satisfaction of the United States and its allies it's been essentially no change to the major centers of oil production, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. The dictatorships are firmly in place”, says Noam Chomsky. There were attempts by the population to join the Arab Spring but they were quickly and harshly repressed with the support of the West. Iraq meant a substantial loss to the United States. It doesn’t follow US orders anymore and is now under significant Iranian influence, e.g. in permitting supplies to the Assad government in Syria. The countries of North Africa like Tunisia and Egypt have experienced some real successes: Much more freedom of speech and for labor organizing. On the other hand the governments were taken over by Islamist forces which follow the neoliberal policies of the West. The two countries under military occupation in the region, Western Sahara and Palestine, were kept immune from the Arab Spring. “The revolution is not in a standstill but in a waiting period. I think there will be a power shift. It's much harder to simply disregard the populations as it had been the case under the Western backed dictatorships. Even in the oil dictatorships they have to pay some attention to the populations.”

The Iranian threat is a “Western obsession”. The majority of the states and the Arab societies don’t perceive Iran as a threat as polls show, says Chomsky. “They do perceive threats, the United States and Israel and that's certainly one reason why the West is frightened of the prospect of democracy in the region.” The US intelligence and the Pentagon regard Iran not as a military threat. They don’t know if Iran has a nuclear weapons program. But if Iran has one it would be part of their deterrence strategy according to US security analysts. “If you have ambitions of global dominance you don't want deterrence.” At the same time the US is blocking the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East and accelerating the armament of Israel. The US recently closed a deal with Israel about rockets capable of destroying anti-aircraft systems, “in fact providing them with material which could be used for an attack on Iran”. Furthermore Obama has escalated the Israel-Palestine conflict by blocking peace talks and excluding the settlements from future negotiations. “It's not a question of expansion, these settlements are illegal. That was also the U.S. position up until Reagan. Reagan changed it from illegal to an ‘obstacle to peace’. Obama in his latest visits a couple of weeks ago weakened it still further to ‘not useful for peace’. Well that's talking about expansion not settlements. That's a precondition that makes negotiations almost impossible.” There are now only two realistic options: Either the US moves toward a two state settlement or the U.S. and Israel will persist in their policies: The annexation of valuable land in the West Bank from which Arabs are driven out.