- Criticism Should Not Be Excessive
- "We have 15 minutes. How may questions do you have?"
Zbigniew Brzezinski begins the conversation abruptly. His assistant warned
us that the 80-year-old former national security advisor in the Jimmy Carter
administration had his working day planned to the last minute.
- "Dr. Brzezinski, you are so well known in Russia
that we have a great number of questions for you."
- "All the same, how many questions do you have?"
he asks relentlessly.
- "Well, let's say a dozen."
- "Excellent. We'll make it. I don't like long answers,"
Brzezinski answers, popping a hard candy into his mouth. " I caught
a cold on one of my trips and lozenges help me control the coughing fits."
- Brzezinski, in spite of his age, continues to travel
extensively. He is a counselor and trustee of the influential Center for
Strategic and International Studies and he lectures at Johns Hopkins University.
In addition, he sometimes accompanies presidential candidate Barack Obama
in his travels around the country.
- Brzezinski has supported Obama since last summer. He
stated that the senator from Illinois was the only candidate who stood
for a radical change in U.S. foreign policy, the military campaign in Iraq
first and foremost.
- The Illinois senator and the author of The Grand Chessboard
first appeared together in September 2007 in Iowa. Brzezinski introduced
Obama to the audience, and then Obama spoke about his foreign policy program.
His main position is the complete withdrawal of American forces from Iraq
by the end of 2009. His main long-range policy is a rejection of military
force in favor of "soft power," the economic and cultural influence
of the U.S. on the rest of the world.
- Although Brzezinski is considered in Russia practically
the main Russophobe among the American political elite, in the U.S., he
is not considered a specialist on Russia. Rather, his area of expertise
is U.S. geopolitical strategy. As national security advisor to Jimmy Carter,
Brzezinski was simultaneously busy normalizing relations with China and
preparing the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel and the agreement
under which the U.S. relinquished control of the Panama Canal.
- Be that as it may, the last article Brzezinski wrote
was called "Putin and Beyond," published in The Washington Quarterly.
- "The West's strategy should not be built upon making
things pleasant or convenient for Russia. Making Russia a partner at any
cost is not what the West needs today," he states, summing up his
- Brzezinski said he does not believe that there will be
liberalization soon in Russia under President Dmitry Medvedev. He compares
that power structure in Russia as it has taken shape since the March 2
election with that of Fascist Italy.
- "The head of state was nominally the king, but Mussolini
set policy. Putin is also considered the national leader. He chose Medvedev
himself. The logical conclusion is that Putin will be on top in the near
future, and Medvedev will do what he tells him to do."
- Brzezinski considers criticizing Russia completely useless,
- "I think that, if the future president of the United
States makes any critical remarks, the criticism should be moderate. It
should not be excessive, it should not be rhetorical.
- Brzezinski is an opponent of the missile defense system
in Europe. "A Democratic government will be much more skeptical of
the creation of any elements of a missile defense system. I think they
will reconsider that position or look at it more carefully," he said.
Brzezinski, like all Democrats, is opposed to a military solution to the
Iran crisis, and so protection from Iranian ballistic missiles for Europe
- Hearing that he is called a Russophobe in Russia and
thought to be the developer of a plan to divide the country into parts,
Brzezinski's eyes flash with annoyance. "Show me the place in any
of my books where I wrote about that," he snaps.
- Brzezinski calls himself an optimist in Russian-American
relations and says the younger generation of Russian and Americans will
find much in common as soon as "the dinosaurs of the Cold War"
- The chief specialist on Russian-American relations in
the Brzezinski family, and also on the Obama staff, is Brzezisnki's oldest
son Mark. In 1999 and 2000, Mark Brzezinski was director for Russia and
Eurasia of the national security council under president Bill Clinton.
"It's possible that Putinism may be the last gasp of the old regime,
and it may well be the case that within the next decade, the Putin-Medvedev
government might be replaced by a new generation of Russians, many of them
who are trained in the westwho are not products of the KGB and more open
to the West." Mark Brzezinski said recently. He will most likely occupy
a high-profile post in the administration, if Obama is elected president.
- Engaged in our conversation, Brzezinski completely forgets
about our 15-minute time limit.
- "Don't you think the younger generation of Russians
has a much warmer attitude toward America?" he asked toward the end
of the conversation.
- "No, it seems to us that the young have an even
worse attitude toward America than those over 30."
- "That can't be. I hope you are wrong. Write me,
please, later and tell me what the reaction to this interview is, okay?"
- Vladimir Putin, President of Russia: "You talk about
public opinion. Public opinion in Russia is in favor of increasing our
security. Where did you get a public opinion that we should fully disarm
and then, according to some theoreticians, such as Brzezinski, divide our
territory into three or four states? If there is such a public opinion,
I would disagree with it." (June 4, 2007, in an interview with foreign
- See also:
- "...Zbigniew Brze-zinski, who is trying to conceal
his involvement with Barack Obama's team."