Is there such a thing as the benign use of international force? It’s a question that Noam Chomsky and William F. Buckley, leading thinkers from the left and right, took up in 1969. And, of course, the whole question of Vietnam loomed in the background. As you’ll see below (and in Part 2 here) the debate is remarkably civil. And when Buckley threatens to punch Chomsky in the face, it’s said much more lovingly than when he offered to do the same to Gore Vidal in 1968.
As an interesting aside, when Buckley died earlier this year, Chomsky revisited the 1969 debate and Buckley’s legacy and essentially saw him looking a lot better than his conservative heirs — although I’m not sure that Chomsky was really passing along a deeply felt compliment here.