rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Brzezinski in Canada, or how to keep the U.S. number one in the world

Zbigniew Brzezinski is a long time foreign policy expert and advisor to the U.S. government, former National Security Advisor to U.S. president Jimmy Carter, and is much listened to on the subject of maintaining the U.S. as the leading global power, specifically by way of being the dominant player in key geographies of Asia and Europe.

He gave a talk on foreign policy in April. The talk was held in Canada, and touched on the subject of U.S. geopolitical preeminence in the emerging multi-polar world.

In his famous book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, Brzezinski writes that "Unlike earlier empires, this vast and complex global system is not a hierarchical pyramid. Rather, America stands at the center of an interlocking universe, one in which power is exercised through continuous bargaining, dialogue, diffusion, and quest for formal consensus, even though that power originates ultimately from a single source, namely, Washington, D.C. And that is where the power game has to be played, and played according to America's domestic rules."

Also from the same book: "[...] how America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe's largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced  and economically productive regions[...] Eurasia is thus the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played."

In his 30 minute April talk, Brzezinski discusses how the U.S. can try to maintain global dominance in a time of changing power dynamics, and focuses on Israel and Palestine, Iran and Afghanistan and Pakistan as pivotal issues.

Brzezinski says that a solution to the conflict between Palestine and Israel is critically important to the U.S. if it wants to keep stable relations with its Middle Eastern allies and not have those same leaders become destabilized by domestic opposition to the continuing crisis that affects the entire region. He insists that it is urgent to establish the two-state solution, or there is a threat that, and here he paraphrases Israel's existing defence minister Ehud Barak, the result will be one state, and it will be an apartheid state.

On Iran, Brzezinski promotes long term diplomacy with the possible use of sanctions. He says that threats will only make things worse. I assume by threats, he does not oppose economic ones such as sanctions, but rather military threats or threats of regime change. It is evident that he wishes to integrate Iran into the US centered international system, and believes that given real diplomacy there is a good chance of this integration taking place, something along the lines of Turkey perhaps.

Brzezinski states that Pakistan must me assured, by the U.S., that Afghanistan will remain under Pakistan's zone of influence in order for it to have 'strategic depth' in relation to India. Otherwise, Brzezinski believes Pakistan's support, which is crucial, will not be guaranteed during the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan.

Europe is mentioned as a vital player, a key junior partner of the U.S. necessary to present a multinational face aligned behind the U.S. as world power becomes more dynamic and multi-polar.

The talk also touches on Russia, mentioning that the U.S. (with the help of Europe, as detailed in some of his writings) must work to bring Russia into the West. He notes that Russia will not enter into the alliance of the West if it perceives itself as a potential empire which could then stand apart from and in contrast to the U.S. imperial project. For this reason, he thinks it is imperative that Ukraine be encouraged to maximize its independence from Russia.

Lastly, he notes that China has become the clear dominant power on the Asian mainland. However, it has achieved this not in opposition to the existing international systems but rather from within them. This has created a great degree of interdependency between the U.S. and China. Critically, we can see that China has not at this point directly contested the global system which has the U.S. as its centre of power and base for operation.

Though he speaks in Canada, Brzezinski, only mentions the country in passing maybe twice. It seems he assumes that Canada is a fully integrated entity and an extension of the U.S. system of global operation.

In this vision of world power, a handful of the most powerful are detailed as key players, citizens of the global system if you will, and huge parts of the rest of the world designated as the "global Balkans," a region where world leaders conduct their power plays and proxy wars.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.