8 March, 2009
In Late February the French newspaper ‘Le Figaro’ published a detailed interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski timed with the publication of his new book ‘America and the World’ co-authored by Brent Scowcroft, a former US national security adviser
Brzezinski is a well-known character. A bright US political analyst and statesman, with a bookshelf of books of apologies of the US global leadership and hegemony to his credit. From 1977 to 1981 he was the national security adviser in Jimmy Carter administration. Despite his being advanced in years Brzezinski acting as a consultant of the Centre for Strategic International Studies and professor at the School of Modern International Studies at the J.Hopkins University in Washington he continues to influence the shapes of US foreign policies. It should be mentioned that even though Brzezinski was not an official member of Barack Obama, he supported him, to quote Brzezinski ‘to preserve independence of judgements.’
In his interview in particular Brzezinski speaks about the Middle East conflict and its key knot, the Palestine-Israel standoff. The way he does it shows his open cynicism and striking disdain of international law. First of all, it is stated that the United States should be the arbiter for the solution of the Palestinian problem. The measures that according to Brzezinski should be taken to settle the conflict are as follows: the deprivation of Palestinian refugees of the return rights, Jerusalem’s division with Palestinian territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war remaining under Israeli occupation; in the case of creation of a Palestinian state it should be demilitarized with potential deployment of NATO forces near the Jordan (the border between Israel and Jordan’s Western Bank as a territory defined by the UN jurisdiction for the Palestinian state currently under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian national administration). In other words, Brzezinski unfailingly takes the side of Israel in the most important issues of the Palestinian problem.
Brzezinski openly ignores the right of Palestinian refugees driven from their land or forced to leave it by Israel’s military action. All of the UN General Assembly on the charting the borders of the Palestinian state are ignored along with the calls to liberate the Palestinian territories Israel occupied in 1967. Let us note that Brzezinski’s stance contradicts the statements of the US administration at both the International Meeting in Annapolis in December 2007, and after it. Brzezinski’s words sound especially cynical after the military action by the Israeli army in Gaza Strip in December 2008 – January 2009 when its cruelty was denounced virtually throughout the world, including some parts of the Israeli society.
Let us remind you that the toll of the Israeli aggression was more than 1,300 Palestinian lives (including more than 400 children) with more than 5,000 people wounded. The Israeli army used phosphorous bombs and warheads with slightly enriched uranium prohibited by an international convention.
The failure of the international community to recognise such acts of Israel’s leadership as military crime according to the demand of Arab and Muslim states as well as international human rights organisations failed to take a place only due to the stance of the United States and some other western states.
The Palestine-Israel conflict is one of the most complicated and protracted international conflicts, a key aspect of the Middle East conflict and a principal irritant in the relations between the Arab-Muslim world and the West. The issues of the return of the Palestinian refugees, the status of Jerusalem, the charting of the Israel-Palestinian borders (in the case of the establishment of a Palestinian state) are the hardest to solve in this standoff.
This presupposes especial care of all the participants and middlemen in the solution of the Middle East settlement. Brzezinski’s position is still the more surprising given the statement he made in the same interview on the issue of potentially of holding talks with HAMAS. The harsh position HAMAS sticks to on the issue that is diametrically opposing that of Israel’s and to speak about potential negotiations with HAMS on the terms Brzezinski spoke about was either a bluff or derision. Moreover, it can be presumed that the FATH leadership headed by Mahmud Abbas that is more inclined to compromises with Israel is unlikely to agree to recognise the refusal of the right of Palestinian refugees to return and Israel’s extension of its territory on account of Palestinian lands occupied in 1967. Let us stress that in the result of negotiations in Cairo in late February 2009 a principal agreement was reached on the termination of the standoff between FATH and HAMAS, thus reinforcing the Palestinian position.
Another – not less important issue Brzezinski touched upon was US-Iranian relations, and in particular Iran’s nuclear programme, where Brzezinski sounded especially challenging. Speaking about the role Russia plays in the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem he said that ‘Russia is the only country out of the 6 middlemen countries engaged in the settlement of the Iranian nuclear problem that could benefit from the current crisis or even war between Iran and the West.’
Vindicating his thesis Brzezinski explained that ‘such a conflict would provoke a rise in oil prices up to $200 per barrel with the United States getting even more bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq and a follow-up crisis in US-Russia relations’, which in his view is what Russia is interested in.
Brzezinski goes on to state : ‘We [the United States] should not activate our relations with Russia with an eye only at its potential and mainly illusive contribution to the settlement of Iran’s problem. This should be done in order to diminish Russia’s imperial nostalgia and resumption of disarmament negotiations that are both in the interests of both the West and Russia.’
Brzezinski is very much concerned over Russia’s potential re-emergence as a mighty power. He never tires to repeat his favourite songs about ‘the American global hegemony and everyone’s welfare’, ‘hegemony and democracy’, ‘the American global dominance and leadership.’ His prescription for Russia is to forget about its ‘imperial past’, deepening ‘the process of democratization.’ He is sincere to state that ‘America has never considered sharing its dominance over the globe with Russia’, whereas the US, long-term goal is ‘the support of democratic transformations in Russia simultaneously with prevention of the re-emergence of an Eurasian empire that would hamper the implementation US geostrategic goals.’
At the same time Brzezinski is mindful of ‘the suffering Russian had to endure.’ His list of ‘sufferings’ seems to be an exotic cocktail: ‘the degrading defeat in the 1904-1905 Russia-Japan war, the first proletarian revolution of 1905 that gave rise to multitudes of acts of city violence, attempts to implant Soviet power in the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa in the 1970s and 1980s that undermined the country’s economy.’ The off-handed manner of such discourses needs no comment.
Certainly, different forces participate in the shaping of the US foreign policy course including its Middle East strategies and Russian-American relations. They do not always reflect the coinciding interests of political and financial and economic groups. It is for us to hope that the common sense prevails in all this.
1 Zbigniew Brzezinski ws born in 1928 in Poland. Since 1938 he is a US citizen.
2 Zbigniew Brzezinski The Great Chess Board. (Translated from English) M., 2005, p.1088.
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation