Chomsky, attending a Latin American social sciences conference in the Cuban capital Havana, said that since the September 11 attacks the Bush administration had redefined US national security policy to include the use of force abroad, with or without United Nations approval.

   

"It is a frightened country and it is easy to conjure up an imminent threat," Chomsky said at the launching of a Cuban edition of a book of interviews published by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, when asked how Bush could get re-elected.

   

"They have a card that they can play... terrify the population with some invented threat, and that is not very hard to do," he said.

 

After the "disaster" of the US invasion of Iraq, Bush could turn his sights on Communist-run Cuba, which his administration officials have charged with developing a biological weapons research programme, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor of linguistics said.

   

Chomsky said the military occupation of Iraq, to topple a "horrible monster running it but not a threat to anyone," was a failure.

 

Bush administration is Reagan-like
in inventing threat to the US

"The country had been devastated by sanctions. The invasion ended sanctions. The tyrant is gone and there is no outside support for domestic dissidence," he said. "It takes real talent to fail in this endeavour."

   

Chomsky said it was reasonable to assume the Bush administration would try to "manufacture a short-term improvement in the economy" by incurring enormous federal government debt and "imposing burdens on future generations."

  

The Bush administration was a continuation of the Ronald Reagan presidency that declared a national emergency over the threat posed by Nicaragua's leftist government in the 1980s, he said.

   

"The same people were able to present Grenada as a threat to survival of the United States the last time they were in office," Chomsky said, in reference to the US invasion of the Caribbean island in 1983 to thwart Cuban influence.

 

Domination

   

Chomsky, a leftist icon who is better known today for his critique of US foreign policy than for his revolutionary theory of syntax and grammar in the 1960s, gave a lecture on the US politics of domination on Tuesday night that was attended by Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

 

"They have a card that they can play... terrify the population with some invented threat, and that is not very hard to do"

Noam Chomsky

The author of Language and Mind, Manufacturing Consent, Profit Over People and 9-11, said the Bush administration was out to dominate the world by the use of military force, if need be, and Iraq was the first test.

   

Chomsky criticised Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, for backing the United States and Britain in invading Iraq under a false pretext that the Arab country possessed weapons of mass destruction.

   

Chomsky praised Cuba's defiance of US hostility and trade sanctions for four decades. But he also criticised the jailing of 75 Cuban dissidents, earlier this year, by Castro's government.

   

"Yes, I have criticised them for that," he said in an interview on 28 August with Radio Havana. "I think it was a mistake."