Deconstructing Brzezinski’s Russia

By Jim Miles – Canada

The warrior ethic of the American Imperial elite, embodied in its fullest measure by Zbigniew Brzezinski, has been rejuvenated momentarily by Russia’s attack on Georgia.  Reading Brzezinski’s words leaves one choking on their overt hypocrisy or laughing insanely at the obvious absurdity of them.  His writing technique is flawless, based on the big lie technique – tell it straight up, tell it often enough, and ignorant masses will tend to believe it.  In a current TIME magazine article Brzezinski does this extremely well.

His first statements are clearly indicative of someone living in a fantasy geopolitical environment created by neocon morality:

The end of the Cold War was supposed to usher in a new age in which the major powers would no longer dictate to their neighbours how to run their affairs.

Will it continue to rely on coercion to achieve its imperial aims, or is it willing to work within the emerging international system that values cooperation and consensus? [1]

One has to blink several times in wonderment at these strange statements.  First of all there was only one major power, looking for “full spectrum dominance” militarily in order to support their overwhelming economic consumption of the global resources, the major item being oil.  They had some assistance:

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the US and Israel made a run at controlling Russia and the former constituent parts of its empire. [2]

It has been the U.S. that unilaterally abrogated, avoided, or conflicted with all international norms ranging from missile treaties, environmental treaties, through the complete range of UN rights and obligations, and the Geneva conventions. This does not even rate as a double standard as Russia has made it clear over and over that it is prepared to obey international law and treaties.  It is the Americans who have thrown international law and treaties into the trash can, not the Russians. [3]

While Russia’s invasion beyond the limits of self defence are also against international law, (but hardly as “disproportionate” [4] as Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, also with U.S. backing) the U.S. is far and above the worst contender in today’s world when it comes to invasions or interference in other countries to “achieve its imperial aims.”

Brzezinski then asks if the global community can demonstrate to the Kremlin that there are costs for the blatant use of force on behalf of anachronistic imperial goals.

Again I shudder in disbelief.  How can Americans (Brzezinski is not unique in this, just one of the more powerful and vocal elites) not recognize the weirdness of this statement when their own troops have invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq, their government has supported Israeli threats and attacks on its neighbours with billions of dollars and other military aid all for its own mini-imperial purposes while controlling millions in concentration camp conditions in Gaza, threatened Pakistan with a return to the stone ages, and built military bases throughout the world in a full out attempt to contain and destroy Russia and contain and control resources.  This certainly does not fit my definition of anachronistic, but a rather contemporary example of American imperialism seeking global hegemonic control.

The article follows from that introduction with its grand flow of big lies and double standards and hypocrisy.  He resorts to innuendo via psychology, saying that Georgian President Saakashvili “has seemingly become a personal obsession” with Putin, fully reminiscent of Bush’s theoretical (?) obsession with getting Saddam Hussein.

The idea of a “pretext” for confrontation enters his arguments.  This of course is probably a lesson learned from the U.S. and its many historical pretexts for imperial expansion ranging all the way from the Mexican (Alamo) and Spanish wars (Maine) through to Vietnam (Gulf of Tonkin), and Iraq (WMDs, terrorists) – although the latter hardly required a pretext under the idea of pre-emptive military action.  

Georgia’s action is described as “rash”, most international media support the idea that it had to be supported in some way by U.S./Israeli actions of supplying and training Georgia’s military.  The attack is described quite clearly in the alternate media indicating that there was little intention to worry about civilian casualties:

The Georgian offensive opened with an infantry assault against South Ossetia’s capital Tskhinvali…after a preparatory artillery attack…with fire support capabilities including target-oriented and concentrated fire…including a mortar barrage and launch of notoriously imprecise truck mounted GRAD multiple-barreled rocket launchers. [4]

But even FOX media provided a strong description of what could only be an aggressive invasion:

Georgia, a U.S. ally whose troops have been trained by American soldiers, launched a major offensive overnight Friday. Heavy rocket and artillery fire pounded the provincial capital, Tskhinvali, leaving much of the city in ruins. [5]

Rash indeed, a mini ‘shock and awe’ against a civilian based community.

The hypocrisy continues with the statement “Putin and his associates in the Kremlin don’t accept post-Soviet realities.” The real post-Soviet reality is that the Russians suffered immensely under the rapacious greed of Washington consensus methods applied to their country with Yeltsin in control but then under the leadership of Putin were able to not only regain control of their resources, but also gain significant financial support from them as well as increasing their own geopolitical prospects in Central Asia and elsewhere.  It is the U.S. that does not want to accept post-Soviet reality as it turned out against their favour.

The double standards go on. Is Ukraine next wonders Brzezinski?  Is Iran next wonders the rest of the world? Brzezinski sees a “supranational entity” overseeing “much of the former Soviet territories.” Those of us in North America with our eyes and ears open see a U.S. “supranational entity” overseeing a North America contained within a Security and Prosperity Perimeter, essentially meaning security and prosperity for the U.S. at the literal expense of Canadian and Mexican resources, already well underway with the current NAFTA protocols.

The more global perspective for Brzezinski is a combination of morality and geopolitics – strange bedfellows for sure.  Moral because Georgia “gained its independence only recently” and “deserves international support.”  Of course, as is usual with the tricky combination of morality and oil (vis a vis Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan et al) is that “An independent Georgia is critical to the international flow of oil.”  As always with American rhetoric, Brzezinski conflates morality with oil resources, a quite unnatural alliance of ideas, both for consumption by the supposedly ignorant masses at home.

Trying to find solutions gives Brzezinski some difficulty. He thinks Russia should be made to see the dangers of being “ostracized” with the billionaire oligarchs standing to lose the billions of dollars frozen in western bank accounts.  Putin would probably be quite happy to see more of the Yeltsin era oligarchs take a hit; if the Putin era oligarchs take a hit, then that only denies Brzezinski’s contradictory argument about supporting a “democratic Russia”. Oligarchs and democracy do not go together – one cannot save the oligarchs and their money and still have a democracy.  His other solution is the lame call to boycott the next Winter Olympics (2014) in Sochi, comparing this to both the Afghanistan invasion and Hitler’s Berlin Olympics. 

I have to admit that Brzezinski does avoid the true neocon response that envisions a winnable nuclear war with Russia, as “American foreign policy, with its goal of ringing Russia with US military bases, is leading directly to nuclear war.”[6] 

Finally, the concluding statements support his introductory statements in their obvious and absurd hypocrisy/double standards:

[The West’s] objective has to be a democratic Russia that is a constructive participant in a global system based on respect for sovereignty, law and democracy.

Also, the Brzezinski “world” needs to tell Moscow that

a stridently nationalistic Russia will not succeed in any effort to create a new empire in our post imperial age.

In turn, I have to reiterate that it is the U.S. that has been the major player globally showing a total lack of respect for sovereignty, law and democracy, at home as well as abroad.  The supposed “post imperial age” is a direct big lie in face of the U.S. attempts to dominate the globe economically, politically, and militarily, from the depths of the oceans to outer space.  Its “strident nationalism” has been all too evident to the rest of the world – except to the elites of the “West” who choose to be bought off by Washington, and the elites of other countries going for power and control.

For whatever reason, Brzezinski seems to have his own “personal obsession” with Russia.  American hypocrisy and double standards will not solve anything. What the “west” and the “world” needs is for America to go home, withdraw its military from around the globe, and try participating in a multilateral world, using international institutions, rather than the “full spectrum dominance” it now uses for its global resource war (oil) now destroying the Middle East.  

-Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.


[1] Brzezinski, Zbigniew.  “Staring Down the Russians,” TIME, Canada Edition. August 25, 2008. p.19-19.

[2] Roberts, Paul Craig.  “The Mindlessness is Total – Are your Ready for Nuclear War?” Counterpunch, August 19, 2008.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Giragosian, Richard.  “Georgian planning flaws led to failure,” Asia Times, August 20, 2008.

[5] FOX News cited in Neuman, Michael.  “Proportion and Disaster – Russia and Georgia,” Counterpunch, August 20, 2008.

[6]Roberts, ibid.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out