The Withdrawal

Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and the Fragility of U.S. Power

Two of our most celebrated intellectuals grapple with the uncertain aftermath of the American collapse in Afghanistan

“Through the structure of a deeply engaging conversation between two of our most important contemporary public intellectuals, we are urged to defy the inattention of the media to the disastrous damage inflicted in Afghanistan on life, land, and resources in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal and the connections to the equally avoidable and unnecessary wars on Iraq and Libya.” —from the foreword by Angela Y. Davis

Not since the last American troops left Vietnam have we faced such a sudden vacuum in our foreign policy—not only of authority, but also of explanations of what happened, and what the future holds.

Few analysts are better poised to address this moment than Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad, intellectuals and critics whose work spans generations and continents. Called “the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet” by the New York Times Book Review, Noam Chomsky is the guiding light of dissidents around the world. In The Withdrawal, Chomsky joins with noted scholar Vijay Prashad—who “helps to uncover the shining worlds hidden under official history and dominant media” (Eduardo Galeano)—to get at the roots of this unprecedented time of peril and change.

Chomsky and Prashad interrogate key inflection points in America’s downward spiral: from the disastrous Iraq War to the failed Libyan intervention to the descent into chaos in Afghanistan.

As the final moments of American power in Afghanistan fade from view, this crucial book argues that we must not take our eyes off the wreckage—and that we need, above all, an unsentimental view of the new world we must build together.


“A fierce and well-informed condemnation of U.S. imperialism.”
Publishers Weekly
“This book combines Vijay Prashad’s deep knowledge of the Global South with Chomsky’s ever insightful analysis of events that are not part of the common knowledge, thus helping us to decipher what are presented by the U.S. propaganda machine as ‘facts’—that have been so often used to package the imperialist, brutal wars in many countries including Iraq and Afghanistan.”
—Haifa Zangana, author of Dreaming of Baghdad and Women on a Journey
“This approachable book is recommended for readers interested in thought-provoking works on international relations and current affairs.”
Library Journal
“A collection of insightful geopolitical analysis.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Truth is like the sun, it cannot be hidden with two fingers. The Withdrawal is an account of those facts and narratives often manipulated and hidden . . . a must-read.”
—Heela Najibullah, author and daughter of former Afghan president Mohammad Najibullah

News and Reviews


Watch an interview with co-authors Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad about The Withdrawal with Jacobin.

Publishers Weekly.

Read a review of The Withdrawal by Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad in Publishers Weekly.

Books by these authors

The Darker Nations
A People's History of the Third World

Vijay Prashad

Uncle Swami
South Asians in America Today

Vijay Prashad

On Cuba
Reflections on 70 Years of Revolution and Struggle

Noam Chomsky, Vijay Prashad

Goodreads Reviews