Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter Adviser, Dead at 89

He guided policy in tumultuous 1970s, guided by hatred of the Soviet Union
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2017 6:05 AM CDT
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter Adviser, Dead at 89
In this Feb. 14, 1979, file photo, President Jimmy Carter is flanked by Secretary of State Cyrus, right, and adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.   (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File)

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who played a forceful role in shaping the nation's foreign policy during Jimmy Carter's administration, died Friday at age 89. The news came from a Brzezinski who might be more familiar to younger generations, daughter Mika of the Morning Joe program on MSNBC. He was, she wrote on Instagram, "the most inspiring, loving and devoted father any girl could ever have." The elder Brzezinski, a native of Poland, was a dominant figure in the Carter administration in his role as national security adviser. NPR notes that one of his most celebrated accomplishments was helping forge the Camp David peace accords between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. One of his least celebrated: He argued successfully for a helicopter mission to rescue 52 American hostages in Iran, a mission that ended in failure.

The New York Times notes that while Brzezinski was a Democrat, he "stood to the right of many Republicans," including predecessor Henry Kissinger, in one significant way: He hated the USSR. "During his four years under Mr. Carter, beginning in 1977, thwarting Soviet expansionism at any cost guided much of American foreign policy, for better or worse." The Times notes that he rejected Kissinger's idea of a US-Soviet-China power structure and instead pushed to isolate the Soviets and move closer to China. He remained a strong voice in regard to foreign policy upon leaving office, and he wrote a 1983 memoir about his Carter years, Power and Principle. “I thought it was important to try to increase America’s ideological impact on the world," he wrote, so it would once again be the “carrier of human hope, the wave of the future.” (More Zbigniew Brzezinski stories.)

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