Zbigniew Brzezinski, by Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts differentiates between cold warriors and neocons, at paulcraigroberts.org.

Brzezinski’s death at 89 years of age has generated a load of propaganda and disinformation, all of which serves one interest group or another or the myths that people find satisfying. I am not an expert on Brzezinski, and this is not an apology for him. He was a Cold Warrior, as essentially was everyone in Washington during the Soviet era.

For 12 years Brzezinski was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where I occupied the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy. When I was elected to that chair, CSIS was a part of Georgetown University. However, the president of Georgetown University was one of those liberals who hated Henry Kissinger, who was also our colleague, and the university president also hated Ronald Reagan for his rhetoric, not for his deeds about which the Georgetown president was uninformed. So I also was unwelcome. Whatever I was worth to CSIS, Kissinger was worth more, and CSIS was not going to give up Henry Kissinger. Therefore the strategic research institute split from Georgetown university. Brzezinski stayed with CSIS.

When my 1971 book, Alienation and the Soviet Economy, which had circulated clandestinely inside the Economic Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in mimeographed form for years, was republished in 1990 with an introduction by University of California, Berkeley, Professor Aaron Wildavsky, Brzezinski, along with Robert Conquest and two members of the USSR Academy of Sciences, provided cover endorsements for my book. Brzezinski wrote: “Professor Roberts’ explanation of Soviet economic development is timely, and it fills a noticeable void in the existing literature. The book is beneficial reading for experts and non-experts alike who wish to understand the theoretical Marxian framework within which the Soviet economy grew and declined.”

I quote his endorsement for two reasons. One is to show upfront that I might be biased in my account of Brzezinski. The other is to establish that both Brzezinski and I did not regard the Soviet Union as a long-term threat. I expected the Soviet economy to fail, which it did, and Brzezinski expected the Soviet Union to breakup along nationality lines, which it did under Washington’s supervision. Although we were both Cold Warriors—I was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger—both of us favored a peaceful, not a war or conflict resolution of the Cold War. Brzezinski was most certainly not a Neoconservative determined to remove Russia as a constraint on American unilateralism. Brzezinski, as National Security Advisor to President Carter, did not prevent SALT 2, which the Carter Administration honored despite the refusal of the US Senate to ratify it.

To continue reading: Zbigniew Brzezinski

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