Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky has been a long-standing critic of US and Western politics.Getty

Leading US dissident Noam Chomsky has argued that the US and Nato's quest for global hegemony has provoked international tensions, and risks tipping the world into nuclear war.

Speaking to the Kremlin-funded RT news channel, Chomsky argued that after the collapse of the Soviet Union Nato had sought to control global energy supplies, exacerbating tensions with Russia to the extent that it could accidentally spark a nuclear conflict.

In recent months, relations between Russia and the West have hit lows not seen since the Cold War, as Russia accused the West of helping to topple a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine as the West accused Russia of illegally seizing Crimea.

"There have been many cases, not that serious, but pretty close, where human intervention with a few-minutes choice has prevented a nuclear war. You can't guarantee that's going to continue," said Chomsky, an Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at MIT.

"When you play a game like that, with low probability risks of disaster over and over again, you're going to lose. And now, especially in the crisis over Ukraine, and so-called missile-defense systems near the borders of Russia, it's a threatening situation."

This week, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that Nato was discussing creating a new missile defense shield aimed at protecting Europe from an attack by Russia.

Chomsky argued that in the '90s, with its main rival the Soviet Union out of the picture, the focus of Nato changed.

"The official mission of Nato became to control the international, the global energy system, pipelines. That means, to control the world," said Chomsky.

He said that current sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and EU following the Ukraine crisis were actually serving to undermine US power, by pushing Russia into an alliance with China.

"Current Western policies are driving Russia towards closer interaction with the Chinese-based system. In this interaction Russia is actually the weaker partner, so it's making concessions, but the US is openly creating a system of power, which could significantly diminish US domination in the world."

In the interview, Chomsky also attacked the US for forming a "meaningless and illegal" coalition to fight Isis, arguing instead that it should have gone to the UN Security Council for a resolution, and Iran could have joined in the fight against the jihadist group.