Pakistan Has No Future If It Lives In A World Of Superstition: Noam Chomsky

A file photo of Noam Chomsky (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Ratna and Awbuck Qandoe

New Delhi, December 9, 2020: Noam Chomsky, noted philosopher, linguist and one of the most widely respected intellectuals in the world today, launched a scathing criticism of Pakistani society during the course of a recent talk, lamenting that the South Asian country was slipping into religiosity.

Asked to offer advice to university students in Pakistan during a video talk at Karachi’s Habib University on December 7, 2020, Chomsky rued the lack of emphasis on science in modern-day Pakistan’s education environment.

“Pakistan has no future if it’s going to live in a world of religious superstition,” the renowned writer said towards the end of the lecture in which he spoke on wide-ranging subjects, from US politics to West Asian wars, to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Pakistan used to have an advanced scientific establishment – Nobel Prize laureates, and so on,” Chomsky said, pointing to a disconnect between the country’s education set-up and reality. “Now science has virtually disappeared from the educational system – serious scientists who have been trying to preserve a rational educational system, which deals with the reality of the world.”

Chomsky’s critical comments came in the backdrop of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week reportedly designating the nation along with nine others for engaging in “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom”. Samuel Brownback, America’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, stood by the action that his country took against Pakistan, telling reporters, “(In) Pakistan, a lot of their actions (violations of religious freedom) are done by the government.”


Chomsky, a staunch critic of US imperialism, fears that although Donald Trump is on his way out, there’s a “grotesque possibility” of the United States attacking Iran and a massive war breaking out following Tehran’s retaliation to it.

the outspoken critic of US military misadventures said Iran won’t lie low if attacked, and it could counterattack by striking the oil facilities of neighbouring foe and US ally Saudi Arabia.

“Will there be a strike (on Iran)? Nobody knows,” Chomsky wondered, fearing, “The Trump administration is in a state where it is willing to do almost anything. We have no way of predicting. For the region, it’s a grotesque possibility, and for the world as well.”

He pointed out that the US won’t carry out an outright invasion of Iran. “It won’t be an invasion, of course. It will be an attack from a distance, using missiles, stealth bombers, and so on.”

Chomsky, who has written extensively on the military might of West Asian nations, pointed to the spectacle of Iran’s possible retaliation sparking a larger, global war.

“It’s possible that Iran could respond (to an attack from the US),” he said. “It has ways to respond. It has a weak military, but it does have missiles that can reach northeastern Saudi Arabia, which happens to be where the main oil production in the world is. They can reach that far.”


Chomsky’s fears of a US-Iran war comes in the backdrop of a recent assassination carried out in Iran. Last month, former nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in a hi-tech road ambush in Absard. Iran has blamed Israel for the killing.

Earlier in January, the US military had admittedly carried out the high-profile assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad using a drone strike.

Chomsky recalled how the Iranian military recently showed its might with a demonstration strike to underline its capability to send missiles into Saudi Arabia.

He also said that retaliation from Iran in the event of a US attack could not just hit Saudi oil facilities, but also the kingdom’s water supplies because the region in question is also where the main desalination facilities lie.

“If they (Iran) attack (Saudi Arabia), the results are going to be extraordinary – not just for Saudi Arabia, but for the entire world. It’s very likely that if that happens, there will be a massive war. These are all strong possibilities,” he said.  


US-based Chomsky, who has belted out numerous books on US military interventions, believes that although Iran has relatively “low military expenditures”, it is seen as a threat by America and its ally Israel because it is a “deterrent” in West Asia.

“So what’s the threat of Iran?” he argued. “That it’s a possible deterrent. Countries that want to freely rampage in the region don’t want deterrence. And there are two of them. The United States is the main one and its Israeli client is the second one. They don’t want a deterrent.”

Chomsky yet again lamented the impact of US sanctions on Iran. He called the measures illegitimate and underlined that the country is demonised by the US despite its stated strategic posture being defensive – something that he said even US intelligence itself confirms.

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