Noam Chomsky Warns of ‘Staged Attack’ Two Days Before Syria Bombing

Just two days ago, Amy Goodman at Democracy Now interviewed professor Noam Chomsky for over an hour. Noam Chomsky pointed out that Republican policies are a “con game” with “ordinary guy” talk. He warned that Donald Trump would need to an incident — perhaps a “staged attack” — to “maintain control.” Today, Donald Trump sent missiles into Syria as the result of a chemical attack. Noam Chomsky also chastised Democrats for excessive focus on Russia.


[S]ooner or later this con game is not going to work. People will understand he’s not bringing back jobs. He’s not going to recreate the partly illusory, partly real picture of what life was like in the past, with manufacturing jobs and a functioning society, and you could get ahead, and so on and so forth. He’s not going to create that.

What happens at that point? Something has to be done to maintain control. The obvious technique is scapegoating. So blame it on immigrants, on the Muslims, on somebody. But that can only go so far. The next step would be, as I said, an alleged terrorist attack, which is quite easy. It’s, in fact, almost normal like Condoleezza Rice’s mushroom clouds. That’s easy to construct, alleged attacks. The other possibility is a staged attack of a minor kind…

And this is a very frightened country. For years, this has been probably the most frightened country in the world. It’s also the safest country in the world. It’s very easy to terrify people.


Noam Chomsky points out that there are many “dangerous” policies by Donald Trump and the Republicans. Democrats should focus more on those issues rather than escalating tensions with Russia, even though there may have been Russian interference in the elections and Republicans may have been in contact with Russians.

So why are the Democrats focusing on this? In fact, why are they focusing so much attention on the one element of Trump’s programs which is fairly reasonable — the one ray of light in this gloom: trying to reduce tensions with Russia? That’s the tensions on the Russian border are extremely serious. They could escalate to a major terminal war. Efforts to try to reduce them should be welcomed. Just a couple of days ago, the former US ambassador to Russia, Jack Matlock, came out and said he just can’t believe that so much attention is being paid to apparent efforts by the incoming administration to establish connections with Russia. He said, ‘Sure, that’s just what they ought to be doing.’

So, meanwhile, this one topic is the primary focus of concern and critique; while, meanwhile, the policies are proceeding step by step, which are extremely destructive and harmful. So, you know, yeah, maybe the Russians tried to interfere in the election. That’s not a major issue. Maybe the people in the Trump campaign were talking to the Russians. Well, okay, not a major point, certainly less than is being done constantly. And it is a kind of a paradox, I think, that the one issue that seems to inflame the Democratic opposition is the one thing that has some justification and reasonable aspects to it.

Investigations of Russian interference should continue, but tensions should be reduced too.

Watch the full interview. The staged attack part is about 34 minutes in. The critique of Democrats is about 11 minutes in.