With the ongoing climate crisis and the looming possibility of nuclear war, Noam Chomsky, 93, often hailed as one of the world’s most important intellectuals alive, warns that “we’re approaching the most dangerous point in human history.”
The renowned linguist and social critic has lived through several consequential events of the 20th century. In a recent interview with The New Statesman, he recalled feeling terrified while “listening to Hitler’s speeches on the radio” at the age of 6 and writing about the 1939 fall of Barcelona at the age of 10.
It is now, however, that Chomsky says we are “facing the prospect of destruction” of human life on Earth.
Climate change has been the central topic of Chomsky’s most recent works, in which he writes about the inextricable tie between global warming and capitalism. He has deemed Earth as unsalvageable within the “time scale” that capitalist countries such as the U.S. have made for it, even with the establishment of policies committed to decreasing carbon output.
“There is no one other than Donald Trump –in history– who has done more to try to drive the human race to extinction,” said Chomsky, who added that “nothing else mattered” if the future was destroyed. He listed Trump’s policies focusing on “maximizing fossil fuels” and “cutting back” regulations that addressed climate change.
Chomsky also likened “Trump’s fanaticism” to Hitler’s Nazis rallies, describing, in particular, the strong base of Republicans against addressing climate change as “a truly dangerous insurgency.” He described the party’s disregard of global warming as “a death warrant” for humankind.
Chomsky’s father, who was of Jewish descent, was born in present-day Ukraine. When asked what Russian president Vladimir Putin’s motivations for invading Ukraine might have been, Chomsky declared that it is not enough to simply write the conflict off as a matter of Putin’s “twisted” mind.
“Putin is as concerned with democracy as we are,” Chomsky told the Statesman, referring to the U.S.’ history of political and economic reach in the East. He cited September 2021, when the U.S. sent Ukraine advanced weapons in the name of “enhanced military cooperation,” as an example.
Chomsky also pointed to “Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Chile in 1973” before saying, “But we are supposed to honor and admire Washington’s enormous commitment to sovereignty and democracy.”
When asked about Russia’s relationship with China and whether he thought there was a chance of them joining forces to become a superpower under the current circumstances, Chomsky responded that it was a relationship based on strategy rather than a true “partnership.”
Drawing comparisons to the lack of global military support for the U.S.’ invasion of Iraq, which he has denounced as a crime disguised as “noble intentions,” Chomsky predicted that China, along with the rest of the world, would remain largely absent from the war in Ukraine.