The end of May marked the death of a man who had been at the center of global affairs for decades. Zbigniew Brzezinski, born in Warsaw in the 1920s, was one of the most influential foreign policy advisers in the US, who also played a pivotal role in the drive towards further global integration.
Brzezinski earned his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1953, and subsequently became a professor at that university, before moving on teach at Columbia University. From 1966 to 1968, he was a member of the Policy Planning Council at the Department of State, and in 1968, he served as chairman of the Humphrey Foreign Policy Task Force for Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign.
Brzezinski: The Internationalist
From 1973 to 1976, Brzezinski served as the Director of the newly formed Trilateral Commission, an internationalist organization he himself helped to create. In a 1989 interview, Brzezinski revealed his role in founding the Trilateral Commission along with the elitist American banker, David Rockefeller, before bragging how this organization was the first to propose the idea of holding a G7 (was G8 for a period) summit (emphasis added):
Not only did I run it [the Trilateral Commission], I helped to found it and organize it with David Rockefeller. So, if any of our viewers are conspiracy minded, here is one of the conspirators… It is a North American, Western European, Japanese organization to promote closer contacts between these three regions of the world. And the commission is composed of private citizens, not government officials, who are leaders in the different sectors of society… We’re incidentally the ones who proposed, originally, the holding of the annual summit meeting of the industrial democracies.
Throughout their lives, Brzezinski and Rockefeller worked towards the goal of creating an integrated global system. In David Rockefeller’s book Memoirs, he admits that his family has been part of a “secret cabal” working towards building a “one world” system (emphasis added):
Some even believe we (the Rockefeller family) are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure—one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.
In addition to playing an instrumental role in founding the Trilateral Commission, Brzezinski was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a frequent attendee at the elitist Bilderberg conference, illustrating his position as a high-ranking individual deeply entrenched in the parallel governmental system.
Giving the Soviets their Vietnam War and Encouraging Pol Pot
Brzezinski’s most notable role in public life was when he served as Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor (NSA) from 1977 to 1981. Famously, in this role, Brzezinski was one of the main intellectual architects who advocated arming the Mujahiddin in Afghanistan, a scheme that he hoped would increase the probability that the Soviet Union would intervene. In an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998, Brzezinski recalled this operation (with the translation from French provided by William Blum and David N. Gibbs):
Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahiddin in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. In this period, you were the national security advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct?
Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into the war and looked for a way to provoke it?
B: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan, nobody believed them. However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today?
B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.” Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.
Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?
B: What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Also in his role as NSA, Brzezinski and the Carter administration encouraged the Chinese to continue supporting the genocidal Pol Pot in Cambodia. After Vietnam launched a full-scale invasion of Cambodia at the end of 1978, seizing power by early 1979, the US pressed China to continue assisting the Khmer Rouge in their fight against the occupying Vietnamese forces, with Brzezinski admitting that he “encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot.”
Obama: Brzezinski an “Outstanding Friend”
In more modern times, Brzezinski remained a pivotal figure in the US, working in a plethora of think tanks and advising numerous mainline political figures. One such figure was the former US President, Barack Obama, who he was very close to. In a March 2008speech, Obama revealed how intimate his relationship was with Brzezinski, calling him an “outstanding friend:”
To Dr. Brzezinski; I can’t say enough about his contribution to our country. Here’s somebody who helped to shape Camp David, and bring about a lasting peace between Israel and some of its neighbours. Somebody who has over decades trained some of the most prominent foreign policy specialists, not only in the democratic party, but has trained a number who ended up in the republican party as well… He has proven to be an outstanding friend, and somebody who I have learned an immense amount from. And for him to support me in this campaign, and then come out to here in Ohio, is a testimony to his generosity.
NATO to be the Global Security Nexus Point?
One of the defining features of Brzezinski was his essays and books pertaining to his long-range geostrategic visions. In one such essay, penned in 2009 for Foreign Affairs – the publication of the CFR – Brzezinski expounds on his vision of what NATO’s purpose and role could be in the future.
Titled: An Agenda for NATO: Toward a Global Security Web, Brzezinski begins by detailing how, in essence, NATO has been obsolete since the end of the Cold War, and how the security alliance faces a problem of legitimacy. “What next?” he writes. Brzezinski then moves on to argue that the world now faces “unprecedented risks to global security,” with “extremist religious and political movements” among these risks, movements that he himself helped to empower through advocating giving the Mujahiddin US aid (emphasis added):
The basic challenge that NATO now confronts is that there are historically unprecedented risks to global security… The paradox of our time is that the world, increasingly connected and economically interdependent for the first time in its entire history, is experiencing intensifying popular unrest made all the more menacing by the growing accessibility of weapons of mass destruction – not just to states but also, potentially, to extremist religious and political movements. Yet there is no effective global security mechanism for coping with the growing threat of violent political chaos stemming from humanity’s recent political awakening.
From there, Brzezinski details how an array of different security pacts have arisen around the world in recent decades, including the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Brzezinski then gives a glimpse into how many individuals in the Western elite see the role of NATO in the future. He first rejects the idea that NATO could be, in itself, a global army, before advocating a variant of this idea, in the form of NATO being the “hub of a globe-spanning web of various regional cooperative-security undertakings” (emphasis added):
To remain historically relevant, NATO cannot – as some have argued – simply expand itself into a global alliance or transform itself into a global alliance of democracies… A global NATO would dilute the centrality of the U.S.-European connection, and none of the rising powers would be likely to accept membership in a globally expanded NATO.
NATO, however, has the experience, the institutions, and the means to eventually become the hub of a globe-spanning web of various regional cooperative-security undertakings among states with the growing power to act. The resulting security web would fill a need that the United Nations by itself cannot meet but from which the UN system would actually benefit. In pursuing that strategic mission, NATO would not only be preserving transatlantic political unity; it would also be responding to the twenty-first century’s novel and increasingly urgent security agenda.
Although Brzezinski’s vision seems far from probable at the present time, it will be interesting to see the path the world takes in the years and decades to come.
Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”, where this article first appeared.