America Pivots to Brzezinski’s Delusion of Eurasian Conquest

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould


Russia historian Stephen Cohen points to the neoconservative establishment for America’s latest outbreak of what can only be referred to as late-stage imperial dementia. Neocons Robert Kagan and wife Victoria Nuland have certainly done the heavy lifting to make Ukraine the staging ground for what appears to be a NATO blitzkrieg on Moscow. But whatever the determination of the neocon plot, they are only the barking dogs of master imperialist Zbigniew Brzezinski, whose grand design has been creeping over the globe since he stepped into the Oval office as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

Brzezinski stands apart as the inspiration for the Ukraine crisis. His 1997 book The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives lays out the blueprint for how American primacists should feel towards drawing Ukraine away from Russia because, “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.”

Brzezinski’s obsession derives from British geographer Sir Halford Mackinder’s 1904 definition of the Central-Eastern nations of Europe as the “Pivot Area”, whose geographic position made them “the vital springboards for the attainment of continental domination.” Whether anyone realizes it, the Obama administration’s current campaign against Russia in Ukraine is of Mackinder’s design brought forward by Brzezinski.

To an expert like Stephen Cohen, the Obama administration’s indictment of Russia over Ukraine “doesn’t correspond to the facts and above all it has no logic.” But a look back forty years reveals that a lot of Cold War thinking wasn’t fact-based either and it may now be instructive to look for answers to Washington’s current dose of illogic in the covert origins of the U.S. supported 1970s war for Afghanistan.

As the first Americans to gain access to Kabul after the Soviet invasion for an American TV crew in 1981 we got a close-up look at the narrative supporting President Carter’s “greatest threat to peace since the second world war” and it didn’t hold up. What had been presented as an open and shut case of Soviet expansion by Harvard Professor Richard Pipes on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour could just as easily have been defined as a defensive action within the Soviets’ legitimate sphere of influence. Three years earlier, Pipes’ Team B Strategic Objectives Panel had been accused of subverting the process of making national security estimates by inventing threats where they didn’t exist and intentionally skewing its findings along ideological lines. Now that ideology was being presented as fact by America’s Public Broadcasting System.

In 1983 we returned to Kabul with Harvard Negotiation Project Director Roger Fisher for ABC’s Nightline. Our aim was to establish the credibility of the American claims. We discovered from high level Soviet officials that the Kremlin wanted desperately to abandon the war but the Reagan administration was dragging its feet. From the moment they entered office, the Reagan administration demanded that the Soviets withdraw their forces, while at the same time keeping them pinned down through covert action so they couldn’t leave. Though lacking in facts and dripping in right wing ideology, this hypocritical campaign was embraced by the entire American political spectrum and left willfully-unexamined by America’s mainstream media.

At a conference conducted by the Nobel Institute in 1995, a high level group of former US and Soviet officials faced off over the question: Why did the Soviets invade Afghanistan? Former National Security Council staff member Dr. Gary Sick established that the U.S. had assigned Afghanistan to the Soviet sphere of influence years before the invasion. So why did the US choose an ideologically biased position when there were any number of verifiable fact-based explanations for why the Soviets had invaded?

To former CIA Director Stansfield Turner, responsibility could only be located in the personality of one specific individual. “Brzezinski’s name comes up here every five minutes; but nobody has as yet mentioned that he is a Pole.” Turner said. “[T]he fact that Brzezinski is a Pole, it seems to me was terribly important.”

What Stansfield Turner was saying in 1995 was that Brzezinski’s well-known hatred of Russia led him to take advantage of the Soviet’s miscalculation. But it wasn’t until the 1998 Nouvel Observateur interview that Brzezinski boasted that he had provoked the invasion by getting Carter to authorize a Presidential finding to intentionally suck the Soviets in six months before they even considered invading.

Yet, despite Brzezinski’s admission, Washington’s entire political spectrum continued to embrace his original false narrative that the Soviets had embarked on a world conquest.

For Brzezinski, getting the Soviets to invade Afghanistan was an opportunity to shift Washington toward an unrelenting hard line against the Soviet Union. By using covert action, he created the conditions needed to provoke a Soviet defensive response which he’d then used as evidence of unrelenting Soviet expansion. However, once his exaggerations and lies about Soviet intentions became accepted, they found a home in America’s imagination and never left.

The Brzezinski-drafted Carter Doctrine put the U.S. into the Middle East with the Rapid Deployment Force, China became engaged as a US military ally and detente with the Soviet Union was dead. The Reagan administration would soon advance on this agenda with a massive military buildup as well as expanded covert actions inside the Soviet Union by the Nationalities Working Group.

The Polish born Brzezinski represented the ascendency of a radical new breed of xenophobic Eastern and Central European intellectual bent on holding Soviet/American policy hostage to their pre-World War II world view. His early support for expanding NATO into Eastern Europe and Ukraine was opposed by 46 senior foreign policy advisors who referred to it in a letter to President Clinton as “a policy error of historic proportions.” Yet in 1999, the Clinton administration, urged on by what Time Magazine described as “Ethnic lobbying groups such as the Polish American Congress,” began implementing the plan.

US policy since that time has operated in a delusion of triumphalism that both provokes international incidents and then capitalizes on the chaos. A destabilizing strategy of sanctions against Russia, the American military’s training of the Ukrainian National Guard, US troops parading armored vehicles within 300 yards of Russia’s border and warlike statements by NATO leaders can only mean the US is committed to Brzezinski’s strategy of seizing the “Pivot Area” and holding it.

Today it’s Brzezinski’s son Ian who finds Moscow at the root of America’s problems regardless of the facts. He recently recommended to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the authority to make war on Russia should be taken out of President Obama’s hands and given to NATO’s top commander, General Phillip Breedlove; a man accused by the German government of exaggerating the Russian threat in eastern Ukraine by spreading “dangerous propaganda”.

The time has come for the American public to be let in on what US foreign policy has become and to decide whether the Brzezinski family’s personal obsession with fulfilling Mackinder’s directive for conquering the pivot of Eurasia at any cost, should be America’s goal as well.

[Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story, Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice. For more information visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk.]

5 Responses to America Pivots to Brzezinski’s Delusion of Eurasian Conquest

  1. I know they’re out there and it’s not surprising, but these connections amongst the “players'” elite still cause me to raise an eyebrow. So much of the Fourth Estate is actively complicit in keeping us in the dark.

  2. I observed Zbig in action when I was a speech writer for the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs in the Carter State Department. He totally intimidated the Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, and his Russian specialist, Marshall D. Shulman, which goes a long way toward explaining the disastrous course this otherwise peace-loving president set us on.

  3. Disaffected says:

    Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am! Stuck in the middle with you.

    Lovely! Western neo-libs and neo-cons alike both hell bent on world domination and/or destruction. Instructive to remember that sandwiching the Carter/Zbig administration were the Nixon/Ford sideshow (As it turns out, the last virulent of the bunch! Go figure!), and the Reagan cohort, which gave first full breath to the fledgling Neo-Con strain, itself largely a reprise of 60’s Goldwater Republicanism and a full-throated reaction to the “appeasement” policies of Nixon and Carter. And nothing’s been the same since!

    Great post. Really highlights the level of derangement that has always simmered just below the surface here in the good ol’ USA!

    By the way, not to drop names or anything, but once upon a time I worked for Gen Breedlove when he was but a wee Lt Col and Ops Group Commander (a Group is one step below a Wing in AF parlance. Most smaller bases house one Wing.) at Cannon AFB NM. He was a rising star even then (1999 I believe). He came on base and bumped another Lt Col who had already been named for the job just a week or so before the change of command was scheduled. Then PCSd out immediately after a rather brief tour to be an Executive Officer (right hand man) for the MajCom commander at Langley VA, then got his own Wing in Korea. A “shooting star” from the very start.

    As for Zbig himself, he strikes very much as being from the Ayn Rand mold, another famous Russian born expat who chomped at the bit of 20th century Soviet oppression and harbored an irrational and delusional grudge for the rest of her days.

    But I think it’s a reasonable question now as to which will occur first: a successful US led overthrow of the Russian government or the total collapse of the US, and likely the entire western capitalist experiment with it. In the long run, I think both governments will fall sometime during this century, simply due to mounting natural resource limitations and the inherent unviability they imply for such large bureaucratic structures, but it’s the short term we have to worry about, especially with both sides armed with nuclear armageddon devices. I think the US is thrashing about in its death throes as we speak, which is always the most dangerous period. If we can manage to get through that and proceed to a more orderly collapse stage (something akin to the collapse of the USSR), the pain might still be “somewhat moderated” at least. But as Dmitry Orlov has observed countless times so poignantly, that scenario doesn’t appear at all likely for the US, what with our presumed “Exceptionalism” and all that.

    The long overdue fall here in the west is going to be long, hard, and brutally destructive for all of us. Let’s just hope we can somehow contain it, and resist the urge to impose our misery on the rest of the world, as we’re doing now. Needless to say, I’m not optimistic.

  4. Disaffected says:

    And I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t mention that today is the 70th Birthday of the first man made “big bang,” which is a pretty big deal in this part of the world, although it’s getting surprisingly little attention in the mass media fest.

    Talk about your game changing events! I suppose it was inevitable that someone was going to let the genie out of the bottle one day, but still, the fact that it happened at all is certainly no cause for celebration. And the US has hardly been a poster child of self-restraint in its use and abuse since then.

    Los Alamos Lab Director and widely attributed “father of the bomb” J. Robert Oppenheimer, known for his many “left wing” and alleged communist ties and who was eventually stripped of his security clearance during the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950’s was famously quoted that it brought to mind the words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” And we’ve been living with the results ever since.

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