|10th National Security Advisor|
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
|Preceded by||Brent Scowcroft|
|Succeeded by||Richard Allen|
|Born||Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński
March 28, 1928
|Spouse(s)||Emilie Benes (m. 1961)|
|Children||Ian Brzezinski (b. 1963)
Mark Brzezinski (b. 1965)
Mika Brzezinski (b. 1967)
|Alma mater||McGill University
Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski (/ / ZBIG-nyev bzheh-ZHIN-skee; Polish: Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński [ˈzbʲiɡɲɛf kaˈʑimʲɛʂ bʐɛˈʑiɲskʲi] Polish pronunciation (help·info); born March 28, 1928) is a Polish-American political scientist and geostrategist, who served as a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966–68 and was President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor from 1977–81. Brzezinski belongs to the realist school of international relations, standing in the geopolitical tradition of Halford Mackinder and Nicholas J. Spykman.
Major foreign policy events during his term of office included the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China (and the severing of ties with the Republic of China on Taiwan); the signing of the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II); the brokering of the Camp David Accords; the transition of Iran from an important U.S. ally to an anti-Western Islamic Republic; encouraging dissidents in Eastern Europe and emphasizing human rights in order to undermine the influence of the Soviet Union; the arming of the mujahideen in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties relinquishing U.S. control of the Panama Canal after 1999.
Brzezinski is currently Robert E. Osgood Professor of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a member of various boards and councils. He appears frequently as an expert on the PBS program The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, ABC News' This Week with Christiane Amanpour, and on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where his daughter, Mika Brzezinski, is co-anchor. In recent years, he has been a supporter of the Prague Process. His son, Mark Brzezinski, was the United States Ambassador to Sweden from 2011 to 2015.
- 1 Biography
- 2 As Carter's National Security Advisor
- 3 Academia
- 4 Public life
- 5 Film appearances
- 6 Bibliography
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Zbigniew Brzezinski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1928. His family, members of the nobility (or "szlachta" in Polish), bore the Trąby coat of arms and hailed from Berzeżany in Galicia in the Tarnopol Voivodeship (administrative region) of then eastern Poland (now in Ukraine). The town of Brzeżany is thought to be the source of the family name. Brzezinski's parents were Leonia (née Roman) and Tadeusz Brzeziński, a Polish diplomat who was posted to Germany from 1931 to 1935; Zbigniew Brzezinski thus spent some of his earliest years witnessing the rise of the Nazis. From 1936 to 1938, Tadeusz Brzeziński was posted to the Soviet Union during Joseph Stalin's Great Purge.
In 1938, Tadeusz Brzeziński was posted to Canada. In 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was agreed to by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union; subsequently the two powers invaded Poland. The 1945 Yalta Conference between the Allies allotted Poland to the Soviet sphere of influence. Some sources suggest this meant Brzezinski's family could not safely return to their country. The Second World War had a profound effect on Brzezinski, who stated in an interview: "The extraordinary violence that was perpetrated against Poland did affect my perception of the world, and made me much more sensitive to the fact that a great deal of world politics is a fundamental struggle."
After attending Loyola High School in Montreal Brzezinski entered McGill University in 1945 to obtain both his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees (received in 1949 and 1950 respectively). His Master's thesis focused on the various nationalities within the Soviet Union. Brzezinski's plan for doing further studies in Great Britain in preparation for a diplomatic career in Canada fell through, principally because he was ruled ineligible for a scholarship he had won that was open to British subjects. Brzezinski then attended Harvard University to work on a doctorate with Merle Fainsod, focusing on the Soviet Union and the relationship between the October Revolution, Vladimir Lenin's state, and the actions of Joseph Stalin. He received his doctorate in 1953; the same year, he traveled to Munich and met Jan Nowak-Jezioranski, head of the Polish desk of Radio Free Europe. He later collaborated with Carl J. Friedrich to develop the concept of totalitarianism as a way to more accurately and powerfully characterize and criticize the Soviets in 1956.
For historical background on major events during this period, see:
As a Harvard professor, he argued against Dwight Eisenhower's and John Foster Dulles's policy of rollback, saying that antagonism would push Eastern Europe further toward the Soviets. The Polish protests followed by Polish October and Hungarian Revolution in 1956 lent some support to Brzezinski's idea that the Eastern Europeans could gradually counter Soviet domination. In 1957, he visited Poland for the first time since he left as a child, and his visit reaffirmed his judgement that splits within the Eastern bloc were profound. He developed his ideas he called "peaceful engagement."
In 1958 he became a United States citizen. Despite his decades of residence in Canada and the presence of family members there, he never became a Canadian citizen.
When in 1959 Brzezinski was not granted tenure at Harvard, he moved to New York City to teach at Columbia University. Here he wrote Soviet Bloc: Unity and Conflict, which focused on Eastern Europe since the beginning of the Cold War. He also taught future Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who like his wife is of Czech descent, and who he also mentored during her early years in Washington. He also became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and joined the Bilderberg Group.
During the 1960 U.S. presidential elections, Brzezinski was an advisor to the John F. Kennedy campaign, urging a non-antagonistic policy toward Eastern European governments. Seeing the Soviet Union as having entered a period of stagnation, both economic and political, Brzezinski correctly predicted the future breakup of the Soviet Union along lines of nationality (expanding on his master's thesis).
Brzezinski continued to argue for and support détente for the next few years, publishing "Peaceful Engagement in Eastern Europe" in Foreign Affairs, and supporting non-antagonistic policies after the Cuban Missile Crisis, on the grounds that such policies might disabuse Eastern European nations of their fear of an aggressive Germany and pacify Western Europeans fearful of a superpower compromises along the lines of the Yalta Conference.
In 1964, Brzezinski supported Lyndon Johnson's presidential campaign and the Great Society and civil rights policies, while on the other hand he saw Soviet leadership as having been purged of any creativity following the ousting of Khrushchev. Through Jan Nowak-Jezioranski, Brzezinski met with Adam Michnik, future Polish Solidarity activist.
Brzezinski continued to support engagement with Eastern European governments, while warning against De Gaulle's vision of a "Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals." He also supported the Vietnam War. From 1966 to 1968, Brzezinski served as a member of the Policy Planning Council of the U.S. Department of State (President Johnson's October 7, 1966, "Bridge Building" speech was a product of Brzezinski's influence).
For historical background on events during this period, see:
Events in Czechoslovakia further reinforced Brzezinski's criticisms of the right's aggressive stance toward Eastern European governments. His service to the Johnson administration, and his fact-finding trip to Vietnam, made him an enemy of the New Left, despite his advocacy of de-escalation of the United States' involvement in the war.
For the 1968 U.S. presidential campaign, Brzezinski was chairman of the Hubert Humphrey Foreign Policy Task Force. He advised Humphrey to break with several of President Johnson's policies, especially concerning Vietnam, the Middle East, and condominium with the Soviet Union.
Brzezinski called for a pan-European conference, an idea that would eventually find fruition in 1973 as the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Meanwhile, he became a leading critic of both the Nixon-Kissinger détente condominium, as well as McGovern's pacifism.
In his 1970 piece Between Two Ages: America's Role in the Technetronic Era, Brzezinski argued that a coordinated policy among developed nations was necessary in order to counter global instability erupting from increasing economic inequality. Out of this thesis, Brzezinski co-founded the Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller, serving as director from 1973 to 1976. The Trilateral Commission is a group of prominent political and business leaders and academics primarily from the United States, Western Europe and Japan. Its purpose was to strengthen relations among the three most industrially advanced regions of the capitalist world. Brzezinski selected Georgia governor Jimmy Carter as a member.
Jimmy Carter announced his candidacy for the 1976 presidential campaign to a skeptical media and proclaimed himself an "eager student" of Brzezinski. Brzezinski became Carter's principal foreign policy advisor by late 1975. He became an outspoken critic of the Nixon-Kissinger over-reliance on détente, a situation preferred by the Soviet Union, favoring the Helsinki process instead, which focused on human rights, international law and peaceful engagement in Eastern Europe. Brzezinski has been considered to be the Democrats' response to Republican Henry Kissinger. Carter engaged Ford in foreign policy debates by contrasting the Trilateral vision with Ford's détente.
After his victory in 1976, Carter made Brzezinski National Security Advisor. Earlier that year, major labor riots broke out in Poland, laying the foundations for Solidarity. Brzezinski began by emphasizing the "Basket III" human rights in the Helsinki Final Act, which inspired Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia shortly thereafter.
Brzezinski had a hand in writing parts of Carter's inaugural address, and this served his purpose of sending a positive message to Soviet dissidents. The Soviet Union and Western European leaders both complained that this kind of rhetoric ran against the "code of détente" that Nixon and Kissinger had established. Brzezinski ran up against members of his own Democratic Party who disagreed with this interpretation of détente, including Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. Vance argued for less emphasis on human rights in order to gain Soviet agreement to Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), whereas Brzezinski favored doing both at the same time. Brzezinski then ordered Radio Free Europe transmitters to increase the power and area of their broadcasts, a provocative reversal of Nixon-Kissinger policies. West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt objected to Brzezinski's agenda, even calling for the removal of Radio Free Europe from German soil.
The State Department was alarmed by Brzezinski's support for East German dissidents and objected to his suggestion that Carter's first overseas visit be to Poland. He visited Warsaw, met with Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski (against the objection of the U.S. Ambassador to Poland), recognizing the Roman Catholic Church as the legitimate opposition to communist rule in Poland.
By 1978, Brzezinski and Vance were more and more at odds over the direction of Carter's foreign policy. Vance sought to continue the style of détente engineered by Nixon-Kissinger, with a focus on arms control. Brzezinski believed that détente emboldened the Soviets in Angola and the Middle East, and so he argued for increased military strength and an emphasis on human rights. Vance, the State Department, and the media criticized Brzezinski publicly as seeking to revive the Cold War.
Brzezinski advised Carter in 1978 to engage the People's Republic of China and traveled to Beijing to lay the groundwork for the normalization of relations between the two countries. This also resulted in the severing of ties with the United States' longtime anti-Communist ally the Republic of China (Taiwan).
1979 saw two major strategically important events: the overthrow of U.S. ally the Shah of Iran, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Iranian Revolution precipitated the Iran hostage crisis, which would last for the rest of Carter's presidency. Brzezinski anticipated the Soviet invasion, and, with the support of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the People's Republic of China, he created a strategy to undermine the Soviet presence. Using this atmosphere of insecurity, Brzezinski led the United States toward a new arms buildup and the development of the Rapid Deployment Forces – policies that are both more generally associated with Reagan's presidency now.
On November 9, 1979. U.S. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski was woken at 3 AM by a phone call with a startling message: The Soviets had just launched 250 nuclear weapons at the United States. Minutes later, Brzezinski received another call: The early-warning system actually showed 2,000 missiles heading toward the United States.
As Brzezinski prepared to phone President Jimmy Carter to plan a full-scale response, he received a third call: It was a false alarm. An early warning training tape generating indications of a large-scale Soviet nuclear attack had somehow transferred to the actual early warning network, which triggered an all-too-real scramble.
Brzezinski, acting under a lame duck Carter presidency, but encouraged that Solidarity in Poland had vindicated his style of engagement with Eastern Europe, took a hard-line stance against what seemed like an imminent Soviet invasion of Poland. He even made a midnight phone call to Pope John Paul II – whose visit to Poland in 1979 had foreshadowed the emergence of Solidarity – warning him in advance. The U.S. stance was a significant change from previous reactions to Soviet repression in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968.
In 1981 President Carter presented Brzezinski with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Brzezinski left office concerned about the internal division within the Democratic party, arguing that the dovish McGovernite wing would send the Democrats into permanent minority.
He had mixed relations with the Reagan administration. On the one hand, he supported it as an alternative to the Democrats' pacifism, but he also criticized it as seeing foreign policy in overly black-and-white terms.
He remained involved in Polish affairs, critical of the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981, and more so of Western European acquiescence to its imposition in the name of stability. Brzezinski briefed U.S. vice-president George H. W. Bush before his 1987 trip to Poland that aided in the revival of the Solidarity movement.
In 1985, under the Reagan administration, Brzezinski served as a member of the President's Chemical Warfare Commission. From 1987 to 1988, he worked on the U.S. National Security Council–Defense Department Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy. From 1987 to 1989 he also served on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
In 1988, Brzezinski was co-chairman of the Bush National Security Advisory Task Force and endorsed Bush for president, breaking with the Democratic party. Brzezinski published The Grand Failure the same year, predicting the failure of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms and the collapse of the Soviet Union in a few more decades. He said there were five possibilities for the Soviet Union: successful pluralization, protracted crisis, renewed stagnation, coup (by the KGB or Soviet military), or the explicit collapse of the Communist regime. He called collapse "at this stage a much more remote possibility" than protracted crisis. He also predicted that the chance of some form of communism existing in the Soviet Union in 2017 was a little more than 50% and that when the end did come it would be "most likely turbulent". In the event, the Soviet system collapsed totally in 1991 following Moscow's crackdown on Lithuania's attempt to declare independence, the Nagorno-Karabakh War of the late 1980s, and scattered bloodshed in other republics. This was a less violent outcome than Brzezinski and other observers anticipated.
In 1989 the Communists failed to mobilize support in Poland, and Solidarity swept the general elections. Later the same year, Brzezinski toured Russia and visited a memorial to the Katyn Massacre. This served as an opportunity for him to ask the Soviet government to acknowledge the truth about the event, for which he received a standing ovation in the Soviet Academy of Sciences. Ten days later, the Berlin Wall fell, and Soviet-supported governments in Eastern Europe began to totter.
Strobe Talbott, one of Brzezinski's long-time critics, conducted an interview with him for TIME magazine entitled Vindication of a Hardliner.
In 1990 Brzezinski warned against post–Cold War euphoria. He publicly opposed the Gulf War, arguing that the United States would squander the international goodwill it had accumulated by defeating the Soviet Union and that it could trigger wide resentment throughout the Arab world. He expanded upon these views in his 1992 work Out of Control.
Brzezinski was prominently critical of the Clinton administration's hesitation to intervene against the Serb forces in the Bosnian war. He also began to speak out against Russia's First Chechen War, forming the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya. Wary of a move toward the reinvigoration of Russian power, Brzezinski negatively viewed the succession of former KGB agent Vladimir Putin after Boris Yeltsin. In this vein, he became one of the foremost advocates of NATO expansion. He wrote in 1998 that "Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire." He later came out in support of the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia during the Kosovo war.
After the September 11 attacks in 2001, Brzezinski was criticized for his role in the formation of the Afghan mujahiddin network. He countered that blame ought to be laid at the feet of the Soviet Union's invasion, which radicalized the relatively stable Muslim society.
Brzezinski was a leading critic of the George W. Bush Administration's conduct of the War on Terror. In 2004, Brzezinski wrote The Choice, which expanded upon The Grand Chessboard but sharply criticized George W. Bush's foreign policy. He defended the book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy and was an outspoken critic of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In August 2007, Brzezinski endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. He stated that Obama "recognizes that the challenge is a new face, a new sense of direction, a new definition of America's role in the world." – also saying, "What makes Obama attractive to me is that he understands that we live in a very different world where we have to relate to a variety of cultures and people." In September 2007 during a speech on the Iraq war, Obama introduced Brzezinski as "one of our most outstanding thinkers," but some pro-Israel commentators questioned his criticism of the Israel lobby in the United States. In a September 2009 interview with The Daily Beast, Brzezinski replied to a question about how aggressive President Obama should be in insisting Israel not conduct an air strike on Iran, saying: "We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?" This was interpreted by some supporters of Israel as supporting the downing of Israeli jets by the United States in order to prevent an attack on Iran. In 2011, Brzezinski supported the NATO intervention against the forces of Muammar Gaddafi in the Libyan Civil War, calling non-intervention "morally dubious" and "politically questionable".
On 3 March 2014, between the 22 February ouster of Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych and the 16 March Crimean referendum, Brzezinski authored an op-ed piece for The Washington Post entitled "What is to be done? Putin’s aggression in Ukraine needs a response" He led with a link on Russian aggression; he compared Russian President Vladimir Putin's "thuggish tactics in seizing Crimea" and "thinly camouflaged invasion" to Adolf Hitler's occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938, and characterised Putin as a cartoon Benito Mussolini, but stopped well short of advocating that the U.S. go to war. Rather, he suggested that NATO should be put on high alert and recommended "to avert miscalculations". He explicitly stated that reassurances be given "Russia that it is not seeking to draw Ukraine into NATO."
Brzezinski is married to Czech-American sculptor Emilie Benes (grand-niece of the second Czechoslovak president, Edvard Beneš), with whom he has three children. His son, Mark Brzezinski (b. 1965), a lawyer who served on President Clinton's National Security Council as an expert on Russia and Southeastern Europe and who was a partner in McGuire Woods LLP, serves as the US ambassador to Sweden. His daughter, Mika Brzezinski (b. 1967), is a television news presenter and co-host of MSNBC's weekday morning program, Morning Joe, where she provides regular commentary and reads the news headlines for the program. His son Ian served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO and was a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton. Ian Brzezinski is a Senior Fellow in the International Security Program and is on the Atlantic Council’s Strategic Advisors Group. Key highlights of his tenure as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy (2001–2005) include the expansion of NATO membership in 2004, the consolidation and reconfiguration of the Alliance’s command structure, the standing up of the NATO Response Force and the coordination of European military contributions to U.S.- and NATO-led operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans.
As Carter's National Security Advisor
President Carter chose Zbigniew Brzezinski for the position of National Security Adviser (NSA) because he wanted an assertive intellectual at his side to provide him with day-to-day advice and guidance on foreign policy decisions. Brzezinski would preside over a reorganized National Security Council (NSC) structure, fashioned to ensure that the NSA would be only one of many players in the foreign policy process.
Brzezinski's task was complicated by his (hawkish) focus on East-West relations in an administration where many cared a great deal about North-South relations and human rights.
Initially, Carter reduced the NSC staff by one-half and decreased the number of standing NSC committees from eight to two. All issues referred to the NSC were reviewed by one of the two new committees, either the Policy Review Committee (PRC) or the Special Coordinating Committee (SCC). The PRC focused on specific issues, and its chairmanship rotated. The SCC was always chaired by Brzezinski, a circumstance he had to negotiate with Carter to achieve. Carter believed that by making the NSA chairman of only one of the two committees, he would prevent the NSC from being the overwhelming influence on foreign policy decisions it had been under Kissinger's chairmanship during the Nixon administration. The SCC was charged with considering issues that cut across several departments, including oversight of intelligence activities, arms control evaluation, and crisis management. Much of the SCC's time during the Carter years was spent on SALT issues.
The Council held few formal meetings, convening only 10 times, compared with 125 meetings during the 8 years of the Nixon and Ford administrations. Instead, Carter used frequent, informal meetings as a decision-making device, typically his Friday breakfasts, usually attended by the Vice President, the secretaries of State and Defense, Brzezinski, and the chief domestic adviser. No agendas were prepared and no formal records were kept of these meetings, sometimes resulting in differing interpretations of the decisions actually agreed upon. Brzezinski was careful, in managing his own weekly luncheons with secretaries Vance and Brown in preparation for NSC discussions, to maintain a complete set of notes. Brzezinski also sent weekly reports to the President on major foreign policy undertakings and problems, with recommendations for courses of action. President Carter enjoyed these reports and frequently annotated them with his own views. Brzezinski and the NSC used these Presidential notes (159 of them) as the basis for NSC actions.
From the beginning, Brzezinski made sure that the new NSC institutional relationships would assure him a major voice in the shaping of foreign policy. While he knew that Carter would not want him to be another Kissinger, Brzezinski also felt confident that the President did not want Secretary of State Vance to become another Dulles and would want his own input on key foreign policy decisions.
Brzezinski's power gradually expanded into the operational area during the Carter Presidency. He increasingly assumed the role of a Presidential emissary. In 1978, for example, Brzezinski traveled to Beijing to lay the groundwork for normalizing U.S.–PRC relations. Like Kissinger before him, Brzezinski maintained his own personal relationship with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin. Brzezinski had NSC staffers monitor State Department cable traffic through the Situation Room and call back to the State Department if the President preferred to revise or take issue with outgoing State Department instructions. He also appointed his own press spokesman, and his frequent press briefings and appearances on television interview shows made him a prominent public figure, although perhaps not nearly as much as Kissinger had been under Nixon.
The Soviet military invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 significantly damaged the already tenuous relationship between Vance and Brzezinski. Vance felt that Brzezinski's linkage of SALT to other Soviet activities and the MX, together with the growing domestic criticisms in the United States of the SALT II Accord, convinced Brezhnev to decide on military intervention in Afghanistan. Brzezinski, however, later recounted that he advanced proposals to maintain Afghanistan's independence but was frustrated by the Department of State's opposition. An NSC working group on Afghanistan wrote several reports on the deteriorating situation in 1979, but President Carter ignored them until the Soviet intervention destroyed his illusions. Only then did he decide to abandon SALT II ratification and pursue the anti-Soviet policies that Brzezinski proposed.
The Iranian revolution was the last straw for the disintegrating relationship between Vance and Brzezinski. As the upheaval developed, the two advanced fundamentally different positions. Brzezinski wanted to control the revolution and increasingly suggested military action to prevent Ayatollah Khomeini from coming to power, while Vance wanted to come to terms with the new Islamic Republic of Iran. As a consequence, Carter failed to develop a coherent approach to the Iranian situation. In the growing crisis atmosphere of 1979 and 1980 due to the Iranian hostage situation, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and a deepening economic crisis, Brzezinski's anti-Soviet views gained influence but could not end the Carter administration's malaise. Vance's resignation following the unsuccessful mission to rescue the American hostages in March 1980, undertaken over his objections, was the final result of the deep disagreement between Brzezinski and Vance.
During the 1960s Brzezinski articulated the strategy of peaceful engagement for undermining the Soviet bloc and while serving on the State Department Policy Planning Council, persuaded President Lyndon B. Johnson to adopt in October 1966 peaceful engagement as U.S. strategy, placing détente ahead of German reunification and thus reversing prior U.S. priorities.
During the 1970s and 1980s, at the height of his political involvement, Brzezinski participated in the formation of the Trilateral Commission in order to more closely cement U.S.–Japanese–European relations. As the three most economically advanced sectors of the world, the people of the three regions could be brought together in cooperation that would give them a more cohesive stance against the communist world.
While serving in the White House, Brzezinski emphasized the centrality of human rights as a means of placing the Soviet Union on the ideological defensive. With Jimmy Carter in Camp David, he assisted in the attainment of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. He actively supported Polish Solidarity and the Afghan resistance to Soviet invasion, and provided covert support for national independence movements in the Soviet Union. He played a leading role in normalizing U.S.–PRC relations and in the development of joint strategic cooperation, cultivating a relationship with Deng Xiaoping, for which he is thought very highly of in mainland China to this day.
In the 1990s he formulated the strategic case for buttressing the independent statehood of Ukraine, partially as a means to ending a resurgence of the Russian Empire, and to drive Russia toward integration with the West, promoting instead "geopolitical pluralism" in the space of the former Soviet Union. He developed "a plan for Europe" urging the expansion of NATO, making the case for the expansion of NATO to the Baltic states. He also served as Bill Clinton's emissary to Azerbaijan in order to promote the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline. Subsequently, he became a member of Honorary Council of Advisors of U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC). Further, he led, together with Lane Kirkland, the effort to increase the endowment for the U.S.-sponsored Polish-American Freedom Foundation from the proposed $112 million to an eventual total of well over $200 million.
He has consistently urged a U.S. leadership role in the world, based on established alliances, and warned against unilateralist policies that would destroy U.S. global credibility and precipitate U.S. global isolation.
A 2002 article by Michael Rubin stated that in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, the United States sought rapprochement with the Afghan government—a prospect that the USSR found unacceptable due to the weakening Soviet leverage over the regime. Thus, the Soviets intervened to preserve their influence in the country. In February 1979, U.S. Ambassador Adolph "Spike" Dubs was murdered in Kabul after Afghan security forces burst in on his kidnappers. The U.S. then reduced bilateral assistance and terminated a small military training program. All remaining assistance agreements were ended after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Following the Soviet invasion, the United States supported diplomatic efforts to achieve a Soviet withdrawal. In addition, generous U.S. contributions to the refugee program in Pakistan played a major part in efforts to assist Afghan refugees.
Brzezinski, known for his hardline policies on the Soviet Union, initiated in 1979 a campaign supporting mujaheddin in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which was run by Pakistani security services with financial support from the Central Intelligence Agency and Britain's MI6. This policy had the explicit aim of promoting radical Islamist and anti-Communist forces.
We immediately launched a twofold process when we heard that the Soviets had entered Afghanistan. The first involved direct reactions and sanctions focused on the Soviet Union, and both the State Department and the National Security Council prepared long lists of sanctions to be adopted, of steps to be taken to increase the international costs to the Soviet Union of their actions. And the second course of action led to my going to Pakistan a month or so after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, for the purpose of coordinating with the Pakistanis a joint response, the purpose of which would be to make the Soviets bleed for as much and as long as is possible; and we engaged in that effort in a collaborative sense with the Saudis, the Egyptians, the British, the Chinese, and we started providing weapons to the Mujaheddin, from various sources again – for example, some Soviet arms from the Egyptians and the Chinese. We even got Soviet arms from the Czechoslovak communist government, since it was obviously susceptible to material incentives; and at some point we started buying arms for the Mujaheddin from the Soviet army in Afghanistan, because that army was increasingly corrupt.
The supplying of billions of dollars in arms to the Afghan mujahideen militants was one of the CIA's longest and most expensive covert operations. The CIA provided assistance to the insurgents through the Pakistani secret services, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in a program called Operation Cyclone. At least 3 billion in U.S. dollars were funneled into the country to train and equip troops with weapons. Together with similar programs by Saudi Arabia, Britain's MI6 and SAS, Egypt, Iran, and the People's Republic of China, the arms included Stinger missiles, shoulder-fired, antiaircraft weapons that they used against Soviet helicopters. Pakistan's secret service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was used as an intermediary for most of these activities to disguise the sources of support for the resistance.
No Americans trained or had direct contact with the mujahideen. The skittish CIA had fewer than 10 operatives in the region because it "feared it would be blamed, like in Guatemala." Civilian personnel from the U.S. Department of State and the CIA frequently visited the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area during this time.
With U.S. and other funding, the ISI armed and trained over 100,000 insurgents. On July 20, 1987, the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country was announced pursuant to the negotiations that led to the Geneva Accords of 1988, with the last Soviets leaving on February 15, 1989.
The early foundations of al-Qaida were allegedly built in part on relationships and weaponry that came from the billions of dollars in U.S. support for the Afghan mujahideen during the war to expel Soviet forces from that country. However, scholars such as Jason Burke, Steve Coll, Peter Bergen, Christopher Andrew, and Vasily Mitrokhin have argued that Bin Laden was "outside of CIA eyesight" and that there is "no support" in any "reliable source" for "the claim that the CIA funded bin Laden or any of the other Arab volunteers who came to support the mujahideen."
Facing a revolution, the Shah of Iran sought help from the United States. Iran occupied a strategic place in U.S. policy in the Middle East, acting as an important ally and a buffer against Soviet influence in the region. The U.S. ambassador to Iran, William H. Sullivan, recalls that Brzezinski "repeatedly assured Pahlavi that the U.S. backed him fully." These reassurances would not, however, amount to substantive action on the part of the United States. On November 4, 1978, Brzezinski called the Shah to tell him that the United States would "back him to the hilt." At the same time, certain high-level officials in the State Department decided that the Shah had to go, regardless of who replaced him. Brzezinski and U.S. Secretary of Energy James Schlesinger (formerly Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford) continued to advocate that the U.S. support the Shah militarily. President Carter could not decide how to appropriately use force and opposed another U.S.-backed coup d'état. He ordered the aircraft carrier Constellation to the Indian Ocean but ultimately allowed a regime change. A deal was worked out with the Iranian generals to shift support to a moderate government, but this plan fell apart when Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers swept the country, taking power on February 12, 1979.
Shortly after taking office in 1977, President Carter again reaffirmed the United States' position of upholding the Shanghai Communiqué. The United States and People's Republic of China announced on December 15, 1978, that the two governments would establish diplomatic relations on January 1, 1979. This required that the United States sever relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan. Consolidating U.S. gains in befriending Communist China was a major priority stressed by Brzezinski during his time as National Security Advisor.
The most important strategic aspect of the new U.S.–Chinese relationship was in its effect on the Cold War. China was no longer considered part of a larger Sino-Soviet bloc but instead a third pole of power due to the Sino-Soviet Split, helping the United States against the Soviet Union.
In the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations dated January 1, 1979, the United States transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. The United States reiterated the Shanghai Communiqué's acknowledgment of the PRC position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is a part of China; Beijing acknowledged that the United States would continue to carry on commercial, cultural, and other unofficial contacts with Taiwan. The Taiwan Relations Act made the necessary changes in U.S. law to permit unofficial relations with Taiwan to continue.
In addition the severing relations with the Republic of China, the Carter Administration also agreed to unilaterally pull out of the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty, withdraw U.S. military personnel from Taiwan, and gradually reduce arms sales to the Republic of China. There was widespread opposition in Congress, notably from Republicans, due to the Republic of China's status as an anti-Communist ally in the Cold War. In Goldwater v. Carter, Barry Goldwater made a failed attempt to stop Carter from terminating the mutual defense treaty.
PRC Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping's January 1979 visit to Washington, D.C., initiated a series of high-level exchanges, which continued until the Tiananmen Square massacre, when they were briefly interrupted. This resulted in many bilateral agreements, especially in the fields of scientific, technological, and cultural interchange and trade relations. Since early 1979, the United States and the PRC have initiated hundreds of joint research projects and cooperative programs under the Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology, the largest bilateral program.
On March 1, 1979, the United States and People's Republic of China formally established embassies in Beijing and Washington. During 1979, outstanding private claims were resolved, and a bilateral trade agreement was concluded. U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale reciprocated Vice Premier Deng's visit with an August 1979 trip to China. This visit led to agreements in September 1980 on maritime affairs, civil aviation links, and textile matters, as well as a bilateral consular convention.
As a consequence of high-level and working-level contacts initiated in 1980, U.S. dialogue with China broadened to cover a wide range of issues, including global and regional strategic problems, political-military questions – including arms control, UN and other multilateral organization affairs, and international narcotics matters.
On October 10, 2007, Brzezinski along with other influential signatories sent a letter to President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice titled Failure Risks Devastating Consequences. The letter was partly an advice and a warning of the failure of an upcoming U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference scheduled for November 2007 between representatives of Israelis and Palestinians. The letter also suggested to engage in "a genuine dialogue with Hamas" rather than to isolate it further.
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2008)|
Presidential Directive 18 on U.S. National Security, signed early in Carter's term, signaled a fundamental reassessment of the value of détente, and set the United States on a course to quietly end Kissinger's strategy.
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2012)|
Presidential Directive 59, "Nuclear Employment Policy", dramatically changed U.S. targeting of nuclear weapons aimed at the Soviet Union. Implemented with the aid of Defense Secretary Harold Brown, this directive officially set the United States on a countervailing strategy.[clarification needed]
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (June 2012)|
Brzezinski was on the faculty of Harvard University from 1953 to 1960, and of Columbia University from 1960 to 1989 where he headed the Institute on Communist Affairs. He is currently Senior Research Professor of International Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.
As a scholar he has developed his thoughts over the years, fashioning fundamental theories on international relations and geostrategy. During the 1950s he worked on the theory of totalitarianism. His thought in the 1960s focused on wider Western understanding of disunity in the Soviet Bloc, as well as developing the thesis of intensified degeneration of the Soviet Union. During the 1970s he propounded the proposition that the Soviet system was incapable of evolving beyond the industrial phase into the "technetronic" age.
By the 1980s, Brzezinski argued that the general crisis of the Soviet Union foreshadowed communism's end.
Brzezinski is a past member of the Atlantic Council, and the National Endowment for Democracy. He is a current member of the Council on Foreign Relations  and the International Honorary Council of the European Academy of Diplomacy.
Brzezinski has appeared as himself in several documentary films and TV series, such as: the 1997 film Eternal Memory: Voices from the Great Terror directed by David Pultz, Episodes 17 (Good Guys, Bad Guys), 19 (Freeze) and 20 (Soldiers of God) of the 1998 CNN series Cold War produced by Jeremy Isaacs, the 2009 documentary Back Door Channels: The Price of Peace and the 2014 Polish biopic Strateg (The Strategist) directed by Katarzyna Kolenda-Zaleska and produced by TVN. The 2014 Polish film Jack Strong features Krzysztof Pieczyński as Brzezinski.
Major works by Brzezinski
- The Permanent Purge: Politics in Soviet Totalitarianism. Harvard University Press. 1956.
- Soviet Bloc: Unity and Conflict. Harvard University Press. 1967. ISBN 978-0-674-82545-1.
- Between Two Ages : America's Role in the Technetronic Era. Viking Press. 1970. ISBN 978-0-313-23498-9.
- Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977–1981. Farrar, Straus, Giroux. 1983. ISBN 978-0-374-23663-2.
- Game Plan: A Geostrategic Framework for the Conduct of the U.S.-Soviet Contest. Atlantic Monthly Press. 1986. ISBN 978-0-87113-084-6.
- Grand Failure: The Birth and Death of Communism in the Twentieth Century. Collier Books. 1990. ISBN 978-0-02-030730-3.
- Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the 21st Century. Collier Books. 1993. ISBN 978-0-684-82636-3.
- The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives. Basic Books. 1997. ISBN 0-465-02725-3. Subsequently, translated and published in nineteen languages.
- The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership. Basic Books. 2004. ISBN 978-0-465-00800-1.
- Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower. Basic Books. 2007. ISBN 978-0-465-00252-8.
- America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy. Basic Books. 2008. ISBN 978-0-465-01501-6.
- Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power. Basic Books. 2012. ISBN 978-0-465-02954-9.
Other books and monographs
- Russo-Soviet Nationalism, M.A. Thesis, McGill University (1950)
- Political Control in the Soviet Army: A Study on Reports by Former Soviet Officers, New York, Research Program on the U.S.S.R (1954)
- with Carl J. Friedrich, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy, Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1956)
- Ideology and Power in Soviet Politics, New York: Praeger (1962)
- with Samuel Huntington, Political Power: USA/USSR, New York: Viking Press (April 1963), ISBN 0-670-56318-8
- Alternative to Partition: For a Broader Conception of America's Role in Europe, Atlantic Policy Studies, New York: McGraw-Hill (1965)
- The Implications of Change for United States Foreign Policy, Department of State (1967)
- International Politics in the Technetronic Era, Sofia University Press (1971)
- The Fragile Blossom: Crisis and Change in Japan, New York: Harper and Row (1972), ISBN 0-06-010468-6
- with P. Edward Haley, American Security in an Interdependent World, Rowman & Littlefield (September 1988), ISBN 0-8191-7084-4
- with Marin Strmecki, In Quest of National Security, Boulder: Westview Press (September 1988), ISBN 0-8133-0575-6
- The Soviet Political System: Transformation or Degeneration, Irvington Publishers (August 1993), ISBN 0-8290-3572-9
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, bibliography and drawings = Zbigniew Brzeziński, bibliografia i rysunki, Łódź: Correspondance des arts (1993)
- with Paige Sullivan, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States: Documents, Data, and Analysis, Armonk: M. E. Sharpe (1996), ISBN 1-56324-637-6
- The Geostrategic Triad: Living with China, Europe, and Russia, Center for Strategic & International Studies (December 2000), ISBN 0-89206-384-X
Selected essays and reports
- with David Owen, Michael Stewart, Carol Hansen, and Saburo Okita, Democracy Must Work: A Trilateral Agenda for the Decade, Trilateral Commission (June 1984), ISBN 0-8147-6161-5
- with Brent Scowcroft and Richard W. Murphy, Differentiated Containment: U.S. Policy Toward Iran and Iraq, Council on Foreign Relations Press (July 1997), ISBN 0-87609-202-4
- A geostrategy for Eurasia, September/October 1997 Foreign Affairs
- Russia Would Gain by Losing Chechnya The New York Times (November 1999)
- U.S. Policy Toward Northeastern Europe: Report of an Independent Task Force, Council on Foreign Relations Press (July 1999), ISBN 0-87609-259-8
- with Anthony Lake, F. Gregory, and III Gause, The United States and the Persian Gulf, Council on Foreign Relations Press (December 2001), ISBN 0-87609-291-1
- with Robert M. Gates, Iran: Time for a New Approach, Council on Foreign Relations Press (February 2003), ISBN 0-87609-345-4
- Balancing the East, Upgrading the West; U.S. Grand Strategy in an Age of Upheaval, January/February 2012 Foreign Affairs
- Toward a Global Realignment, July/August 2016 The American Interest
- "Pronounce - Browse all names for U.S.". VOA News. Retrieved 2014-01-13.
- Sabine Feiner: Weltordnung durch US-Leadership? Die Konzeption Zbigniew K. Brzezinskis. Westdeutscher Verlag, Wiesbaden 2001
- Seiple, Chris (27 November 2006). "Revisiting the Geo-Political Thinking of Sir Halford John Mackinder: United States–Uzbekistan Relations 1991–2005" (PDF).
- Tim Weiner. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.
- "Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism" (Press release). Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. 9 June 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-05-10. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
- "Tadeusz Brzezinski, Former Polish Consul-General, Dies". Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- Gati (2013) p 237
- on YouTube
- Gravenor, Kristian (February 13, 2007). "Zbigniew Brzezinski's Montreal recollections". Coolopolis. Retrieved August 22, 2008.
- Yong, Tang (March 20, 2006). ""Agenda for constructive American-Chinese dialogue huge": Brzezinski". People's Daily. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
- Gati (2013) p 208
- Gati (2013) p xxi
- Albright, Madeleine (2003). Madam Secretary. Hyperion. p. 57.
- Gati (2013) p 12
- Brzezinski, Zbigniew; Griffith, William (Spring 1961). "Peaceful Engagement in Eastern Europe". Foreign Affairs. 39 (4): 647. doi:10.2307/20029518.
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Détente in the '70s", The New Republic (January 3, 1970), p. 18.
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Meeting Moscow's Limited Coexistence", The New Leader, 51:24 (December 16, 1968), pp. 11–13.
- Brauer, Carl (November 1, 1988). "Lost In Transition". The Atlantic. Washington, D.C.: Atlantic Media. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- John Maclean, "Advisers Key to Foreign Policy Views", The Boston Evening Globe (October 5, 1976)
- Vaughan, Patrick G. (2008). "Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Helsinki Final Act". In Nuti, Leopoldo. The Crisis of Détente in Europe: From Helsinki to Gorbachev, 1975–1985. Taylor & Francis. pp. 11–25. ISBN 0-415-46051-4.
- Michael Getler, "Dissidents Challenge Prague – Tension Builds Following Demand for Freedom and Democracy", The Washington Post (January 21, 1977).
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977–1981 (New York, 1983), p. 123.
- Seyom Brown, Faces of Power (New York, 1983), p. 539.
- "Giscard, Schmidt on Détente", The Washington Post (July 19, 1977).
- David Binder, "Carter Requests Funds for Big Increase in Broadcasts to Soviet Bloc", The New York Times (March 23, 1977).
- Brzezinski, Power and Principle, p. 293.
- David A. Andelman, "Brzezinski and Mrs. Carter Hold Discussion with Polish Cardinal", The New York Times (December 29, 1977).
- Brzezinski on isolation: former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski warns of the failures of Clinton foreign policy, Insight on the News, 21 August 1995
- "The New Great Game: Why Ukraine Matters to So Many Other Nations". Bloomberg. February 27, 2014.
- A conversation about Kosovo with Zbigniew Brzezinski Charlie Rose, 25 March 1999
- Obama advisor raises concerns, Ynet, September 15, 2007.
- Alec MacGillis, Brzezinski Backs Obama, Washington Post, August 25, 2007.
- Eric Walberg, The real power behind the throne-to-be, Al-Ahram, July 24–30, 2008.
- Gerald Posner, How Obama Flubbed His Missile Message, The Daily Beast, undated.
- Brzezinski: U.S. must deny Israel airspace, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, September 21, 2009.
- Jake Tapper, Zbig Brzezinski: Obama Administration Should Tell Israel U.S. Will Attack Israeli Jets if They Try to Attack Iran, ABC News, September 20, 2009.
- PBS: Turmoil in Arab World: Deepening Divisions or Turning a New Page?
- "Zbigniew Brzezinski: After Putin's aggression in Ukraine, the West must be ready to respond". Washington Post. March 3, 2014. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- Ian Brzezinski's bio at Atlantic Council http://www.acus.org/users/ian-brzezinski
- Rubin, Michael, "Who is Responsible for the Taliban?", Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 6, No. 1 (March 2002). Archived March 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "INTERVIEW WITH DR ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI-(13/6/97)". Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- Time Magazine, May 13, 2003, "The Oily Americans," http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,450997-2,00.html
- Interview with Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski – (13/6/97). Part 2. Episode 17. Good Guys, Bad Guys. June 13, 1997.
- Bergen, Peter. Holy War, Inc. New York: Free Press, 2001. Pg. 66
- The New Republic, "TRB FROM WASHINGTON, Back to Front" by Peter Beinart, October 8, 2001.
- "United Nations Good Offices Mission in Afghanistan and Pakistan – Background". United Nations. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
- Hartung, William D. (October 27, 2006). "We Arm The World". TomPaine.com. Archived from the original on October 20, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda (Penguin, 2003), p59.
- Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World (Penguin, 2006), p. 579 n48.
- Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden (Penguin, 2004), p. 87.
- Peter Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know (Free Press, 2006), pp. 60–61.
- Jackson, David (July 17, 2007). "Bush announces Mideast peace conference". USA Today.
- Paul Volcker. "'Failure Risks Devastating Consequences' by Zbigniew Brzezinski - The New York Review of Books". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
- "Unclassified Memorandum from National Security Council" (PDF). Jimmycarterlibrary.org. August 27, 1977. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
- Nuclear Employment Policy[not in citation given]" (PDF)
- "Democracy, Totalitarianism, and the Culture of Freedom". National Endowment for Democracy. National Endowment for Democracy. October 15, 2009. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- "Membership Roster - Council on Foreign Relations". Cfr.org. Retrieved 2012-01-28.
- Europejska Akademia Dyplomacji :: European Academy of Diplomacy :: diplomats.pl :: DYPLOMACJA - Zbigniew Brzeziński
- Avner, Yehuda, The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership, The Toby Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-59264-278-6
- Andrianopoulos, Gerry Argyris. Kissinger and Brzezinski: The NSC and the Struggle for Control of U.S. National Security Policy, Palgrave Macmillan (June 1991), ISBN 0-312-05743-1
- Gati, Charles, ed. (2013), Zbig: The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 1421409763.
- Lubowski, Andrzej. Zbig: The Man Who Cracked the Kremlin (2013) 
- Patrick Vaughan (1999) "Beyond Benign Neglect: Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Polish Crisis of 1980." Polish Review (1): 3–28
- Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm: Dreams and Reality, Toronto 1984, ISBN 0-9691756-0-4
- Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm: Kanada, Kanada, Warszawa 1986, ISBN 83-7021-006-6
- Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm: Korzenie sa polskie, Warszawa 1992, ISBN 83-7066-406-7
- Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm: The Roots Are Polish, Toronto 2004, ISBN 0-920517-05-6
- Andrzej Bernat, Pawel Kozlowski: Zycie z Polska, Warszawa 2004, ISBN 83-7386-084-3
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- Iran: The Crescent of Crisis, (January 1979) Time Magazine
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