[Marxism] Zbigniew Brzezinski: Face Reality

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 1 08:38:01 MDT 2004

Last week, Zbigniev Brezezinski appeared on the PBS
news hour in a debate with a Bush supporter named
Walter Russell Mead. It's fascinating to watch as 
these elements debate tactical alternatives in their
common project for world domination. When this occurs,
some of the truth about Washington's goals begins to
be revealed as they fight among themselves. 

Among the points Zbigniev Brezezinski, a central team
member of the Rockefeller wing of the powers-that-be made: 
"If we talk about the Iraqi government as being sovereign
and use the word sovereign, while it's still being occupied
by a foreign army, 140,000 men, subject to our authority,
we're again undermining the credibility of the words we
use. The most we can create in the near future is an Iraqi
government of limited sovereignty, of rather limited
sovereignty, which hopefully expands and is more likely to
expand stability if we leave reasonably rapidly, because
the longer we stay, the more likely it is that the existing
conflicts, which are still relatively manageable, will
gradually escalate into essentially national liberation
struggle against us." READ THE FULL "debate" AT PBS:

Brezezinski is one of the most hardline right-wing
ideologues in US government circles. And when some-
one like HIM starts appealing to the public against
the international adventurism of the government of
the United States, you know that the ruling circles
are sharply split among themselves. The consequences 
of this kind of falling-out among thieves are many.

One is that anti-war demonstrations will get better
publicity. The truth about the US-initiated torture
regime in Iraq is beginning to come to light. We're
even seeing a bit of foot-dragging in the Congress
where some of the Republican members haven't been in
a giant hurry to wrap up the Torturegate hearings.

Keep in mind that Brezezinski was National Security
Advisor during the Carter administration and that he
bragged afterwards about Washington's great success
in having encouraged the Mujahedeen and thus drawing
the Soviet Union into the Iraq war, which became for
the USSR, analogous to the Vietnam War for the U.S. 
Afghanistan played a big role in the fall of the 
Soviet Union. Read the full interview:

Walter Lippmann


The New Republic Friday 28 May 2004
Face Reality
By Zbigniew Brzezinski

Lowered Vision

America's Iraq policy requires a fundamental strategic
reappraisal. The present policy - justified by falsehoods,
pursued with unilateral arrogance, blinded by
self-delusion, and stained by sadistic excesses - cannot be
corrected with a few hasty palliatives. The remedy must be
international in character; political, rather than
military, in substance; and regional, rather than simply
Iraqi, in scope.

Rectifying the increasingly messy Iraqi adventure requires
understanding its root: the extremist foreign policy
pursued by this administration. Its rhetoric has been
demagogic, especially at the very top. Its strategic
content has been manipulated by officials preoccupied more
with reshaping the security landscape of the Middle East
than with maintaining America's ability to lead globally.
Domestic support for its policies was mobilized by the
deliberate exploitation, as well as stimulation, of fear
among the electorate. The Iraq war is not only an outgrowth
of this flawed approach to foreign policy, but also its

Unlike the 1991 war against Iraq, for which more than 80
percent of the cost was borne by America's allies, this
time American taxpayers must foot the bill, which is
already approaching $200 billion. The number of Americans
dead and wounded is in the thousands and climbing, and the
number of innocent Iraqis killed is considerably higher.
America's relationship with Europe - which is integral to
global stability and to the protection of U.S. interests -
has been badly strained. America's credibility has been
tarnished among its traditional friends, its prestige has
plummeted worldwide, and global hostility toward the United
States has reached a historical high.

Most immediately dangerous, the war has focused Arab hatred
on the United States. The U.S. occupation of Iraq is now
seen by most Arabs as a mirror image of Israel's repression
of the Palestinians. The Bush administration's unqualified
support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's brutal treatment
of the Palestinians has created a political linkage between
the war in Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that
is evident to almost everyone in the world except the
current White House.

The initiatives President Bush took this week point in the
right direction, but they are too late in coming and
involve too little change in substance. The president now
accepts implicitly what top-level administration officials
explicitly rejected when I spoke with them just a few
months ago: the need for a U.N. umbrella over the U.S.
grant of even limited sovereignty to the Iraqi government.
The administration, however, still refuses to bite the
bullet and make difficult decisions on the role and
duration of the U.S. military presence in Iraq or on the
larger dilemmas of regional peace in the Middle East.

The administration has yet to confront squarely the fact
that the deteriorating situation both in Iraq and in the
region will not improve without a politically comprehensive
and coldly realistic revision of current policies that
addresses four key points: (1) The transfer of
"sovereignty" should increase, rather than discredit, the
legitimacy of the emerging Iraqi government, and hence it
should issue from the United Nations, not the United
States; (2) Without a fixed and early date for U.S. troop
withdrawal, the occupation will become an object of
intensified Iraqi hostility; (3) The Iraqi government
should reflect political reality, not doctrinaire American
delusions; and (4) Without significant progress toward an
Israeli-Palestinian peace, post-occupation Iraq will be
both anti-American and anti-Israel.

First, the transfer of nominal sovereignty to a few chosen
Iraqis in a still-occupied country will brand any so-called
"sovereign" Iraqi authority as treasonous. A grant of
"sovereignty" by the United States to the Iraqis - while an
American proconsul backed by an occupation army remains
ensconced in a fortress in the very heart of the Iraqi
capital - will have no political legitimacy. The
president's assertion (repeated more than once in his
speech on Monday night) that such a transfer will bestow
"full sovereignty" on Iraq is Orwellian artifice.

The urgent need is to subordinate, as soon as possible, the
U.S. occupation - which is rapidly alienating the Iraqis -
to the visible presence of the United Nations, headed by a
high commissioner to whom effective authority should then
be transferred. A genuinely empowered U.N. high
commissioner could, in turn, progressively yield genuine
sovereignty to the Iraqis with much greater prospects of
gaining Iraqi public support for the interim government.

The authority of any such high commissioner should extend
to the security sphere. The American military commanders in
Iraq should retain full discretion to respond to attacks
upon U.S. forces in the manner they deem necessary, but any
offensive operations they - or other coalition forces -
conduct should require explicit authorization from the high
commissioner, perhaps in consultation with the Iraqi
leaders. That change in command and control would
automatically transform the character of the U.S. presence
in Iraq from a military occupation to internationally
supervised peacekeeping. The U.N. resolution the Bush
administration proposed Monday makes token gestures to that
end, but it does not fundamentally alter the continued and
overt supremacy of the United States in Iraq.

Second, the longer the U.S. military presence lasts, the
more likely it is that Iraqi resistance will intensify. It
is, therefore, in America's interest to credibly convey
U.S. determination to let Iraqis manage (however
imperfectly) their own security. Setting a reasonable
deadline for the departure of U.S. troops - far enough in
the future not to look like a pell-mell withdrawal but soon
enough to concentrate Iraqi minds on the need for
self-sufficiency - could take practical advantage of the
fact that the countrywide situation on the ground is
currently not quite as bad militarily as necessarily
selective TV images suggest.

April 2005 - two years after the occupation began - might
be the appropriate target for terminating the U.S. military
presence. A publicly known date for the departure of U.S.
troops would refute suspicions that the United States
harbors imperialist designs on Iraq and its oil, thereby
diluting anti-American resentments both in Iraq and the
region at large. Only a firm deadline for military
withdrawal will convince the Iraqis that we truly intend to
leave. Conversely, failure to set a date will encourage
Iraqi politicians to compete in calling for early U.S.

Admittedly, there is a risk that a U.S. withdrawal will be
followed by intensified instability, but such instability
would harm U.S. global interests less than continued (and
perhaps rising) resistance to a seemingly indefinite U.S.
occupation - which, in any case, has not suppressed
low-level but widespread crime, violence, and terrorism.
That resistance could take the form of intensified urban
warfare, such as that waged five decades ago by the
Algerians against the French. The United States could
doubtless crush such an insurgency with an intensified
military effort, but the political costs of such escalation
- massive civilian casualties, pervasive destruction, and
the inevitable exacerbation of national, cultural, and
religious indignities - would be colossal.

The United States should consult with the principal members
of its military coalition about an appropriate deadline. A
set date of April 2005 could force other states, notably
our European allies, to focus on the need for a wider and
more ambitious effort to help the Iraqis stabilize and
reconstruct their country. The militarily significant
members of the coalition (those with 1,000 or more troops
in Iraq) are Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, and the
Netherlands. Their views should be solicited, if for no
other reason than because the publics in these countries
are increasingly hostile to continued participation in
Iraq's occupation, while some of the officers commanding
their contingents in Iraq have been quite critical of
heavy-handed U.S. military tactics.

Third, the internationalization of the supreme political
authority in Iraq and the setting of a date for U.S.
withdrawal will require a redefinition of the
oft-proclaimed (but largely illusory) goal of transforming
Iraq into a democracy. Democracy cannot be implanted by
foreign bayonets. It must be nurtured patiently, with
respect for the political dignity of those involved. An
assertive and occasionally trigger-happy occupation is no
school of democracy. Humiliation and compulsion breed
hatred, as the Israelis are learning in the course of their
prolonged domination over the Palestinians.

Post-occupation Iraq will not be a democracy. The most that
can be practically sought is a federal structure, based on
traditional, often tribal, sources of authority within the
three major communities that form the Iraqi state: the
Shia, the Sunnis, and the Kurds. It would be unwise,
however, to demarcate these communities into three
territorially defined regions, for that would almost
certainly produce intense border conflicts among them.
Until the dust settles from Saddam Hussein's dictatorship
and the U.S. military intervention, it would be wiser to
rely on the traditional arrangements within the more
numerous existing provinces - a strategy that could promote
political compromise across sectarian lines. The result
would likely be a somewhat Islamic Iraqi national
government that roughly reflected the country's
demographic, religious, and ethnic realities.

Fourth, but far from least, the United States must
recognize that success in Iraq depends on significant
parallel progress toward peace between the Israelis and
Palestinians. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the
single most combustible and galvanizing issue in the Arab
world. If the United States disengages from Iraq before
making significant headway toward settling that dispute, it
could face a sovereign Iraqi government that is militantly
hostile to both Israel and the United States.

Therefore, the United States - if it is to gain any
international (and especially European) support for
remedying its Middle Eastern dilemmas - will have to
clarify its stand on the eventual shape of an
Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. It should by now be
clear that the conflict will never be ended by the two
parties on their own. U.S. unwillingness to define, even 
in broad terms, the fundamentals of a peaceful outcome
abandons those Israelis and Palestinians who genuinely
desire peace to the mercies of their extremist leaders.
Furthermore, endorsing Ariel Sharon's goals but ignoring
the Palestinian side of any compromise is delaying, rather
than accelerating, the peace process - while compounding
the suffering on both sides.

To mobilize those Israelis and Palestinians who seek peace,
and to convince the Middle East that U.S. occupation of
Iraq is not simply a conspiratorial extension of Israeli
domination of the West Bank, the United States should more
explicitly state its position regarding the six key issues
that a final Israeli-Palestinian peace will have to
resolve: not only (as Israel demands) that there can be no
right of return for Palestinian refugees, and that the 1967
lines cannot automatically become the final frontier, but
also that there will have to be equitable territorial
compensation for any Israeli expansion into the West Bank;
that settlements not proximate to the 1967 line will have
to be vacated; that Jerusalem as a united city will have to
be shared as two capitals; and that Palestine will be a
demilitarized state, perhaps with some nato military
presence to enhance the durability of the peace settlement.

A fundamental course correction is urgently needed if the
Middle East is to be transformed for the better. Slogans
about "staying the course" are a prescription for inflaming
the region while polarizing the United States and
undermining U.S. global leadership. A bold change of course
- given the gravity of the situation confronting the
Iraqis, Israelis, and Arabs more generally, as well as
concerned Europeans - could still snatch success from the
tightening jaws of failure. But there is little time left.


Zbigniew Brzezinski served as national security advisor to
President Jimmy Carter and is the author of The Choice:
Global Domination or Global Leadership.

More information about the Marxism mailing list