Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.
His death, at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, was announced on Friday by his daughter, Mika Brzezinski, a co-host of the MSNBC program “Morning Joe.”
Like his predecessor Henry A. Kissinger, Mr. Brzezinski was a foreign-born scholar (he in Poland, Mr. Kissinger in Germany) with considerable influence in global affairs, both before and long after his official tour of duty in the White House. In essays, interviews and television appearances over the decades, he cast a sharp eye on six successive administrations, including that of Donald J. Trump, whose election he did not support and whose foreign policy, he found, lacked coherence.
Mr. Brzezinski was nominally a Democrat, with views that led him to speak out, for example, against the “greed,” as he put it, of an American system that compounded inequality. He was one of the few foreign policy experts to warn against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But in at least one respect — his rigid hatred of the Soviet Union — he had stood to the right of many Republicans, including Mr. Kissinger and President Richard M. Nixon. And during his four years under Mr. Carter, beginning in 1977, thwarting Soviet expansionism at any cost guided much of American foreign policy, for better or worse.
He supported billions in military aid for Islamic militants fighting invading Soviet troops in Afghanistan. He tacitly encouraged China to continue backing the murderous regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, lest the Soviet-backed Vietnamese take over that country.
He managed to delay implementation of the SALT II arms treaty in 1979 by raising objections to Soviet behavior in Vietnam, Africa and Cuba; and when the Soviets went into Afghanistan late that year, “SALT disappeared from the U.S.-Soviet agenda,” as he noted in a memoir four years later.
Mr. Brzezinski, a descendant of Polish aristocrats (his name is pronounced Z-BIG-nyehv breh-ZHIHN-skee), was a severe, even intimidating figure, with penetrating eyes and a strong Polish accent. Washington quickly learned that he had sharp elbows as well. He was adept at seizing the spotlight and freezing out the official spokesman on foreign policy, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, provoking conflicts that ultimately led to Mr. Vance’s resignation.
Where Mr. Vance had endorsed the Nixon-Kissinger policy of a “triangular” power balance among the United States, China and the Soviet Union, Mr. Brzezinski scorned such “acrobatics,” as he called them. He advocated instead what he called a deliberate “strategic deterioration” in relations with Moscow, and closer ties to China.
By his own account, he blitzed Mr. Carter with memos until he got permission to go to Beijing in May 1978, over State Department resistance, to begin talks that would lead to full diplomatic relations seven months later. Immediately after the trip, he appeared on “Meet the Press,” unleashing a slashing attack on the Soviet Union that Mr. Vance deplored as “loose talk.”
Mr. Brzezinski was also a prime mover behind the commando mission sent to rescue the American hostages held by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolutionary forces in Iran after the overthrow of the shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi — a disastrous desert expedition in April 1980 that claimed eight lives and never reached Tehran. Mr. Vance had not been informed of the mission until a few days before. It was the final straw: He quit, “stunned and angry,” he said.
Mr. Brzezinski’s rationale for the rescue attempt was, perhaps inevitably, rooted in his preoccupation with Soviet influence. He contended that trying to gain the release of the hostages through sanctions and other diplomatic measures “would deliver Iran to the Soviets,” although many thought that outcome highly improbable, given the fundamentalism of the clerics running the country. Besides, he said, success would “give the United States a shot in the arm, which it has badly needed for 20 years,” a reference to the quagmire of the Vietnam War.
Soviet aggression in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America was by no means a figment of Mr. Brzezinki’s imagination. But his strict adherence to ideas in which virtually every issue circled back to the threat of Soviet domination was remarkable even for those tense times, when many in the foreign policy establishment had come to regard détente — a general easing of the geopolitical tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States — as the best course.
In his scholarly certitude, Mr. Brzezinski sometimes showed a tendency to believe that any disagreement between theory and reality indicated some fault on the part of reality. In his 1962 book “Ideology and Power in Soviet Politics,” for example, he asserted that the Communist bloc “is not splitting and is not likely to split……
Another NWO crony passes. His legacy continues with his son who works for the nefarious NSA military-industrial “consultants” Booz Allen Hamilton: