December 2, 2005


A Zbig Deal: Democrats need a coherent foreign policy. Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski is here to help (Tara McKelvey, 12.01.05, American Prospect)

Some Democrats, such as Senator Joseph Biden, say they regret their decision to support the Iraq war. What do you think Democrats overall should be saying and doing?

The Democrats have a responsibility vis à vis the American people: to act as an alternative and to provide a vision of a strategy that avoids the pitfalls of what the Bush administration has created. [...]

What kind of alternative should Democrats offer?

In my view, the Bush administration has slid into unilateralist posturing. The administration's definition of American leadership is, essentially, "We direct, and you follow". Its most extreme form involves a slogan the president has become fond of: If you’re not with us, you’re against us. It’s a self-defeating posture that undercuts America’s capacity to lead. Democrats in particular should promote consensus-building. Consensus means compromise. Consensus means joint action. Consensus means responding to problems with one’s trusted friends. Consensus excludes the notion of condemning one’s friends as weaklings or weasels if they don’t agree with us. That is a prescription for self-isolation.

The president never misses an opportunity to revile the Iranian government and to talk as if we favor regime change in that country. We have refused to participate in multilateral talks, demanding instead that Europeans conduct negotiations with Iranians, on the grounds that U.S.-Iranian talks would legitimate the Iranian regime. And we’re taking the posture that we’ll not be part of any quid pro quo. Yet we expect Iranians to make substantial concessions. This is a good illustration of how not to conduct a serious international effort.

Mr. Brzezinski tees himself up perfectly for a Big Bertha-wielding Mark Steyn, HMM. WHAT COULD HE POSSIBLY MEAN BY THAT?.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 2, 2005 9:11 AM

The perfect Secretary of State for Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 2, 2005 4:45 PM

Director of the NSC

Posted by: oj at December 2, 2005 4:49 PM

So, out of the moth-balls emerges the brains behind the golden era of American Malaise to share deep thoughts. Just swell. He will get a receptive audience among Dems for his recommendation to "suck up, harder." It's a winner, Zbig, pure gold.

Posted by: Luciferous at December 2, 2005 5:13 PM

Zbig seems to believe that if we couldn't defeat Iran with 20 commandos in a couple of helicpters without sand filters, then it's time to admit the reality of the situation and not expect to have any influence on the country's course of action, other than to get into the same type of agreements as the one his boss came up with for North Korea a decade ago. And we all know how well that one worked out.

Posted by: John at December 2, 2005 5:52 PM

OJ, I stand corrected. One other Carter era question. Didn't the military buildup that RR gets the credit for actually start under Harold Brown?

ZB was then the perfect NSC Director for Carter.

Posted by: jdkelly at December 2, 2005 6:06 PM

Carter had to start raising military spending after the USSR invaded Afghanistan--supplying the Mujahadeen too.

Posted by: oj at December 2, 2005 6:11 PM

Drivel such as this should always be immediately followed up with a question about how the speaker feels about the "Evil Empire" speech...

Posted by: b at December 2, 2005 6:18 PM

This is very simple.

Just because ". . .we have got, the Maxim gun, and they have not," the military option will always be America's option. The Axis of Weasels will withhold the permission slip every time, because to grant it is to allow our power to transcend their weakness.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 2, 2005 9:07 PM

IMHO, future generations will spit when they hear the names of Dhimmy Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski, because their cowardice so dishonored the United States.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 2, 2005 10:33 PM

This may be the textbook definition of damning with faint praise, but there were a couple of times where Zbig was the voice of reason in Carter Administration foreign policy.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 2, 2005 11:07 PM

In another comment I mentioned that I thought Dan Quayle isn't as stupid as people like to think, because he at least knew when to give up and move on, when his presence on the national scene had long expired and gone rancid. Zbiggy here provides a perfect counter-example: someone so stupid that decades later he still thinks he's relevant to the situation (other than being a major original cause.) What is about politicans and their inner circles that they think Harold Stassen is a good role model?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 3, 2005 2:37 PM