In this episode of Little Atoms from 2009, Noam Chomsky examines the Obama administration and asks what has really changed.

Chomsky describes the first term of the Bush administration as “off the spectrum” in both aggression and arrogance. US international prestige sank to the lowest pointsince measured. It is hardly surprising therefore that the next candidate should have moved towards the centre.

Violent interventionism has gone hand in hand with American exceptionalism for centuries, says Chomsky. Obama’s ideology, according to Chomsky has been “less extreme but basically hasn’t changed.”

Chomsky explores the history and dangers of humanitarian intervention.

“You can’t say it can never be benevolent but there is a heavy burden of proof. It makes sense to talk about the responsibility to protect, but it should not be left in the hands of violent, aggressive powers”.

The internet played a prominent role in changing popular activism and proliferating conspiracy theories under the Bush regime. Through the internet, the 9/11 movement diverted people away from activism on serious issues.

“It stopped questions on things the administration would rather keep secret.”

But Obama has found the internet useful. Chomsky argues has it been “a very effective cult generator” and crucial in the construction of Brand Obama.

Obama, like Bush, used the internet to distract activists from protesting state crimes.