Brzezinski, ex-aide to former US President Carter, dies
Washington (AFP) – Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish Polish-born Cold War strategist and former top aide to US president Jimmy Carter, has died at 89, his family said Friday.
“My father passed away peacefully tonight,” MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski said on Instagram.
“He was known to his friends as Zbig, to his grandchildren as Chief and to his wife as the enduring love of her life. I just knew him as the most inspiring, loving and devoted father any girl could ever have,” she wrote.
His Polish diplomat father stayed in Canada with the family where the young Brzezinski attended McGill University in Montreal.
Later he earned a doctorate from Harvard and chose to become a US citizen.
After serving president Lyndon Johnson, the Polish-born academic was Carter’s national security adviser during the Iranian hostage crisis.
He was a leading force behind the failed US commando mission to rescue the hostages, after which he resigned. He thought that Soviet influence would sweep over Iran if US strength did not prevail in the drama.
Nominally a Democrat, he leaned conservative on security matters. A tough critic of the Soviet Union, he also helped broker the Camp David talks and worked on normalizing relations with China.
Though a rigorous anti-communist, he held that US interests around the world should be addressed in terms of strategy and practicality, not ideology.
“He was an important part of our lives for more than four decades and was a superb public servant,” Carter said in a statement.
He passed away in Falls Church, Virginia, his family said.
Brzezinski was an active professor and author well into his 80s.
He did not support President Donald Trump’s election, and criticized his foreign policy as vague.
“Does America have a foreign policy right now?” he tweeted in February. “The President should outline why America is important to the world, but also why the world needs America.”
In 2011, he penned “Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power,” arguing that US strength abroad was key to global stability.
But it would depend on America’s ability to foster “social consensus and democratic stability” at home, he said, referring to the need for less income inequality and a meaningful response to climate change.
He developed his ties to Carter on the Trilateral Commission, the group David Rockefeller created in 1973 as a forum for political and business leaders from North America, Western Europe and Japan. Brzezinski was the commission’s first director.