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When Scapegoating Immigrants No Longer Works, Would Trump Stage an Attack to Maintain Power?

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Many have accused President Trump of trying to scapegoat immigrants and refugees in order to distract the American public from the fact that he will be unable to fulfill his campaign promises to bring back manufacturing jobs. But what happens if, after time, the scapegoating fails to provide sufficient distraction? World-renowned linguist, political dissident and author Noam Chomsky says the next step would be for the Trump administration to stage an alleged terrorist attack. For more, we speak with Chomsky. His new book, “Requiem for the American Dream,” is out today.

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Video squareWeb ExclusiveApr 04, 2017Full Interview: Noam Chomsky on Trump’s First 75 Days & Much More
Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ve had hundreds of questions come in from every means to ask you. One of them is Ty Williams, who asks via Twitter about Trump exploiting fear. Ty asked, when you—”[Can] you please expand on your comments in AlterNet that Trump admin could stage attack? What historical parallel do you have in mind?”

NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, actually, the statement I made was pretty muted. It wasn’t quite as strong as the headlines indicated. What I pointed out—and what everyone, I think, is aware of—is that sooner 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 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 to—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 how hard would that be? Take the FBI technique, which they’re using constantly, of creating situations of entrapment. Well, suppose one of them goes a little too far, that you don’t stop it right in time. That wouldn’t be hard to work out. I don’t particularly anticipate it, but it’s a possibility. 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.

AMY GOODMAN: Noam—

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