[Marxism] Brzezinski: Surge in Afghanistan may put US in Soviets' debacle 30 years ago

Ralph Johansen mdriscoll at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 26 13:04:00 MDT 2008

Brzezinski: Surge In Afghanistan Risky, Some McCain Backers Want World 
War IV
Huffington Post
July 25, 2008 02:10 PM

All of a sudden, everyone seems to be in favor of sending more troops to 
Afghanistan. As Barack Obama encourages Europeans to dispatch more NATO 
forces and John McCain says that U.S. troops could be sent in greater 
numbers, the idea that a bigger military footprint is needed has become 
something of a consensus in the political mainstream.

But Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski is not on board -- though it's not the first 
time President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser has cast a 
skeptic's eye on the usefulness of dispatching great numbers of troops 
to the country. In an famous 1998 interview with France's Le Nouvel 
Observateur, Brzezinski admitted his own role in funding Afghanistan's 
Mujahadeen in 1979, thereby "increasing the probability" that the 
Soviets would invade a tough, demoralizing, mountainous theater for combat.

And it's with a similar perspective that Brzezinski now doubts the that 
the answer to what ails Afghanistan is more troops. "I think we're 
literally running the risk of unintentionally doing what the Russians 
did. And that, if it happens, would be a tragedy," Brzezinski told the 
Huffington Post on Friday. "When we first went into Afghanistan to 
overthrow the Taliban, we were actually welcomed by an overwhelming 
majority of Afghans. They did not see us as invaders, as they saw the 

However, Brzezinski noted that just as the Soviets were able to delude 
themselves that they had a loyal army of communist-sympathizers who 
would transform the country, the U.S.-led forces may now be making 
similar mistakes. He said that the conduct of military operations "with 
little regard for civilian casualties" may accelerate the negative trend 
in local public opinion regarding the West's role. "It's just beginning, 
but it's significant," Brzezinski said.

His own program for improving the state of affairs in Afghanistan -- 
where U.S. casualties have surpassed those in Iraq for two months now -- 
revolves around pragmatism. He believes Europe should bribe Afghan 
farmers not to produce poppies used for heroin since "it all ends up in 
Europe." Moreover, he thinks the tribal warlords can be bought off with 
bribes, with the endgame being the isolation of Al-Qaeda from a Taliban 
that is "not a united force, not a world-oriented terrorist movement, 
but a real Afghan phenomenon."

Brzezinski, who has endorsed Obama, was far more critical of a few 
figures now surrounding McCain, who he suggested were pushing the 
presumptive GOP nominee towards a radical foreign policy on issues such 
as Iran.

"Well, if McCain is president and if his Secretary of State is Joe 
Lieberman and his Secretary of Defense is [Rudolph] Giuliani, we will be 
moving towards the World War IV that they have been both favoring and 
predicting," he said, calling that an "appalling concept" (and adding 
that by their lights, the Cold War counted as World War III). "So it 
depends on who are the principal officers. If it's [Richard] Armitage, 
or if it were to be Brent Scowcroft, I think it would be very different."

Asked who he would like to see in a potential Obama cabinet, Brzezinski 
said: "I think [Sen. Chuck] Hagel. I would like to see a bipartisan 
cabinet. I think we need one very badly -- and we did well in the Cold 
War when we had one. I would say Hagel and [Sen. Dick] Lugar would be 
very good Republicans [for Obama]." He also cited Sen. Joe Biden as a 
potential Secretary of State, in which case it would also be possible to 
"keep [Secretary of Defense Bob] Gates in the job for a few months."

Brzezinski said such a cabinet would be an important step in redressing 
the increased partisanship of foreign affairs in recent years, adding: 
"I think there is a tendency, because of the very complexity of the 
issues, for solutions to become polarized and more extreme. ... 
Republicans move toward neocon-ish formulas, and Democrats [follow] 
idealistically escapist formulas. In either case you don't end up with 
the necessary mix of idealism and realism."

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