Zbig: The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzezinski
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Zbigniew Brzezinski’s multifaceted career dealing with U.S. security and foreign policy has led him from the halls of academia to multiple terms in public service, including a stint as President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981. He is a renowned policy analyst and author who frequently appears as a commentator on popular talk shows, and his strategic vision continues to carry a great deal of gravitas.
in Zbig, Charles Gati has enlisted many of the top foreign policy players of the past thirty years to reflect on and analyze Brzezinski and his work. A senior scholar in Eastern European and Russian studies, Gati observed firsthand much of the history and politics surrounding Brzezinski’s career. His vibrant introduction and concluding interview with Brzezinski frame this critical assessment of a major statesman’s accomplishments.
Contributors: Justin Vaïsse, David C. Engerman, Mark Kramer, David J. Rothkopf, Warren I. Cohen and Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, Robert A. Pastor, William B. Quandt, Robert Hunter, James Thomson, Patrick Vaughan, Marin Strmecki, James Mann, David Ignatius, Adam Garfinkle, Stephen F. Szabo, Francis Fukuyama, Charles Gati
marriage of ideology to tyrannical political power redefined the struggles of the twentieth century in terms very different from anything that had come before. The totalitarian model started fraying from the moment of Khrushchev’s secret speech in 1956, but Brzezinski in his later analysis of the Soviet system was never trapped by that concept. He understood full well the extent to which the Soviet Bloc (to take the name of another of his foundational books) comprised heterogeneous interests,
Bush over Michael Dukakis, serves as cochair of the Bush National Security Task Force 1989 Leaves Columbia University to teach at SAIS Johns Hopkins in Washington, D.C. 1989 The Grand Failure is published; travels to Moscow in October 1990 Opposes the Gulf War 1992 Out of Control is published 1997 The Grand Chessboard is published 2002 Becomes a leading opponent to the Iraq War 2004 The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership is published 2007 Endorses
fuller scholarly attention only decades later. Studies of nationalism in the USSR in the early cold war years amounted to a search for ethnic nationalisms that might weaken Soviet rule over a multiethnic citizenry—not for nationalism in Russia itself. In his thesis, Brzezinski sought to move beyond what he derided as the “paint job” approach to studying the Soviet Union, in which everything ended up “either highly red or snow-white”—either highly sympathetic or unremittingly harsh toward the
hurt the United States in Asia and, worst of all, in its relations with the Soviet Union. As a Democrat, Brzezinski was not, of course, in line for a position in the Richard M. Nixon administration that came to power in 1969. The powerful post of national security advisor went to Henry Kissinger, an appointment that soon revealed a Brzezinski-Kissinger rivalry that some of their colleagues believed had begun years earlier at Harvard. Brzezinski was not opposed to the Nixon/Kissinger approach to
as a symbol of human rights. One group of Poles broke through police barricades shouting “Carter! Carter! Save us!” Meanwhile, Brzezinski had arranged his own meeting at the residence of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the Roman Catholic primate of Poland who after the war became a symbol of Polish national self-identity and resistance to Soviet imperialism. During the visit, he also learned more about Poland’s “Flying Universities.” This was an unofficial network of underground lectures dealing with