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Exclusive Interview

Noam Chomsky: Wars could break out all over the map

Possibilities of a settlement of the Russia-Ukraine conflict are diminishing, the MIT professor says in an exclusive interview with DhakaTribune's Probir Kumar Sarker

Update : 07 Dec 2023, 01:06 PM

American linguist and philosopher Prof Noam Chomsky predicts a grim future for the world as the superpowers are at loggerheads over establishing supremacy centering on the Russia-Ukraine war.

In April, soon after the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, he had suggested that Kyiv should settle its disputes with Russia by making some concessions. 

“There have been possibilities for a settlement all the way along. They are diminishing. The prospects are grim...blame is widely shared,” Prof Chomsky, who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, said in an interview with Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview aired on Sunday that he was ready to negotiate with all parties involved in the war in Ukraine but Kyiv's Western backers, who have been providing military and diplomatic support, have refused to engage in talks.

Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine has triggered the most deadly European conflict since World War Two, leading to a worsening of economic and geopolitical crises in most countries around the globe.

“The longer the conflict continues, the more harsh the conditions that each side imposes and the harder it is to find a diplomatic solution to bring the horrors to an end,” Chomsky said.

Asked if this war could have been headed off at the first place, the MIT emeritus professor said: “The war could have been averted long ago, and is continuing up to the last minute.”

With the conflict starting to wane and Russia talking about negotiations and Ukraine's aides remaining nonchalant about striking a peace deal, there arises a concern that the war may shift to somewhere else.

Chomsky said: “Wars could break out all over the map. Language [of heads of states] is a minor factor.”

Asked for a solution to the economic recession and skyrocketing inflation in many low- and middle-income countries as a result of the Ukraine crisis just after the serious blow of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chomsky said: “There's no simple answer. Each problem has to be dealt with in its own complex terms.

“No one knows... They have opportunities to follow different paths, but it's not easy.”

He is, however, hopeful of a peaceful world despite the fact that the world's superpowers remain envious of and aggressive towards each other, create divisions, and promote war or their form of democracy in a third country.

“History is full of such horrible cases. In 1945, it was almost impossible to imagine that Germany and France could become allies with friendly relations.  It happened.  We can only try our best,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

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