Brzezinski on Afghanistan & New START


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Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski yet again demonstrated why he is one of the titans of foreign policy analysis with his unsentimental, clear-eyed discussion of America’s course in Afghanistan on Morning Joe this morning.
Brzezinski stated that we need a middle of the road solution in Afghanistan that allows disengagement. He said that as difficult as it is for us, we need to find an accommodation with the Taliban, particularly at local levels. He also said that we need to get our head around the strategic parameters that Pakistan will only accept a pro-Pak Afghanistan. This will have consequences in America’s relationship with India.
Brzezinski also poses the apt question: “Who trains the Taliban?” Spending approximately $12 billion on Afghan security force training, he finds himself amused that the Afghans of all people in the world really need training. They are the most hardened fighters in the world.
Great analysis. And that’s before Dr. Brzezinski gets to the consequences of not ratifying NEW START.
— Steve Clemons


9 comments on “Brzezinski on Afghanistan & New START

  1. Robert Brooks says:

    this is too dangerous, Afghanistan trained his people for fighting and we can say that they trying to make a big force.


  2. Mr.Murder says:

    Technology made the world smaller, now we can finally occupy and control it!
    The world is our neighbor, viva Monroe Doctrine!


  3. Warren Metzler says:

    Steve, I fail to grasp your assessment of Dr. Brzezinski as a “titan of foreign policy”, unless perhaps your definition of titan is one of the greats of a group, about which we never ever require a success.
    I will admit, he is one of the first to refer to most Afghans being so primitive in consciousness that they can’t form a national army or functioning national government. Which I believe is a fact. But here is he again, just as he did with Carter and things like funding the insurgents in the USSR’s voyage into Afghanistan, acting as if these academic solutions ever work, and they never do.
    Who would have expected that Republicans, who don’t have a viable view on anything, would take over the house 2 years after Obama’s historic victory?
    Humans don’t function like robots who can be programed to act in a certain manner. The Afghans themselves have to decide how to develop in the future, we can’t tell them what to do, regardless of how much we wish to achieve that goal.
    And the nonsense of siding with Pakistan’s needs to influence Afghanistan, and as a result having to put our ally India into the cold as far as Afghanistan is concerned. What kind of liberty loving move is that. The only people in Pakistan who want to having controlling influence over Afghanistan is mafia type guys in Pakistan’s intelligence services. The same people who find it structurally impossible to consider having real peace with India. We are to accept the desires of such thugs? If so, why in the world did we oppose the USSR? And where is the Constitutional basis for our foreign policy????
    People like Dr. Brzezinski live in a world where they repeatedly assume life works in accord with their academic musing, apparently never ever needing for their efforts to produce a single viable success.
    If foreign policy is guidelines that direct you to favor those who pursue liberty, and demonstrate disapproval to those eschew liberty, that is a foreign policy that can work. But if your view of foreign is like that of Dr. Brzezinski, where you sit in ivory towers and dream up ways to control the world; which incidentally is never for the benefit of the vast majority of American citizens, just for a minuscule number of wealthy international business owners; then that type of foreign policy should be buried and never again resurrected.
    Wasn’t “realpolitik” based on pursuing what actually works in the real world? Where did it go?


  4. John Waring says:

    Here is another very good discussion of the issues in Afghanistan, by Ahmed Rashid.


  5. rc says:

    I don’t think “training” means technical fighting skills — more like code for ‘working for the US’ military system.


  6. drew says:

    I think it was Galbraith who said that there wasn’t a leading
    Pashtun family that didn’t have a Taliban participant in it.
    I don’t agree that the Taliban “are the most hardened fighters in
    the world.” They’re tough guys from a tough neighborhood, but
    they’re not doing well by fighting. They’re doing well by not
    fighting, while filling the civic void that is this medieval society.
    The people remain the sea in which these fish swim. The most
    hardened fighters in the world train at Fort Bragg, Camp
    Pendleton, and Coronado.
    ZB probably hit upon the strategic key, though. Pakistan is not
    going to allow Afghanistan to be an independent country, and
    retains longstanding and clear ambitions to control it utterly.
    And it would seem that we have passed the point of no return in
    regard to explaining to the Pakistanis


  7. samuelburke says:

    Steve, do the neocons get along with Zbig? He seems to focus on
    Israel as a problem for us as much as the neocons focus on
    It was good to hear Zbignew chastise Obama at starting at
    about the 15 min mark.
    speaking about the president Zbignew grades him in this way.
    “He started off as a very promising student with very great
    ambitions, we’re talking about academia right, so he had great
    ambitions, he was very promising, he was applauded when he
    arrived at college…but on some major issues the performance
    has been less than stellar, and less than decisive. You know he
    started off with the majority of the public supporting him on a
    lot of issues, including, particularly in the middle east, including
    Israel, including the ..palestinians, including the american jewish
    community which voted for him knowing where he stands, where
    are we now? nowhere.”
    I particularly liked how they giggled afterwards, but no one
    offered an opinion on this major policy failure by the president,
    other than how he may need some tutelage, zbig said a tutorial.


  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ya gotta love these “Titans”, doncha?
    I mean holy shit, our foreign policy has just been so fuckin’ successful, hasn’t it? I mean hey golly, look at the shape our nation is in now, brought here by the capable minds of these great “Titans” and the various lobby groups that represent their agendas, (disingenuously known as “Think Tanks”).
    And thanks to these guys, the global community just can’t get enough of us, can they? Yep, loved by one and all, aren’t we?


  9. sanitychecker says:

    A titan of foreign policy? The guy who goaded the Soviets to invade Afghanistan in ’79 (quote: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam”) and then armed the Mujahideen with the consequences we know.
    Also what’s with Dr. Brzezinski? Is that an inside joke? I mean, why is it “Anne-Marie Slaughter” and “Dr. Brzezinski”?


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