A New Generation Draws the Line: Kosovo, East Timor and the Standards of the West
1999 saw two major international crises which, looked at side-by-side by Noam Chomsky, illuminate the strategies of the Western powers in the new century. In East Timor the warnings of further escalation in an unfolding humanitarian disaster could not have been more apparent. The referendum on independence was predicted to prompt widespread savagery towards the local population by an Indonesian army and their cohorts. Noam Chomsky points out, the West did not need to do very much to prevent this, but East Timor is of little strategic interest to the US and its allies, so they did nothing, resulting in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands being made homeless. By comparison, the intervention in Kosovo by NATO is very different, and Chomsky argues that strategic concerns were at stake; humanitarianism was not the moving force behind the military intervention in Yugoslavia. Ironically, the fate of the civilian population in Kosovo, as in East Timor, was incidental to the NATO action. Noam Chomsky explains with the combination of clinical focus and sweeping range that typifies his work, that it's business as usual for the new mandarins of the West.
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