War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1986
Report along with David Aaron and Secretary Brown the. Proposal that Secretary Vance took to Moscow in March of 77 that call for deep cuts and reductions in the Soviet missile because that would have been a giant step. Towards genuine disarmament. The truth it reduces the threat to both sides inherent in nuclear weaponry. Was it realistic do you think that they would accept it. And we hope they would consider it. They would think about it it was not designed to be disadvantageous to them. It was designed to enhance mutual stability. Marshall Soman says that there's no way that that it was just advantageous to get us mithril there wasn't anything in that it was all there we could do what we wanted with cruise missiles and they had to come to back our bomb or is he just weapon. Well there are always people in our side who do that negotiating for the Soviets for them. And but we have to make independent judgment in terms of our own interest and our best judgment of what is possible with them several years later in fact the Soviets have
moved towards acceptance of what was proposed by us in March 77. In fact at Reykjavik in the Gorbachev Reagan encounter the Soviets moved close to the figures that we proposed in 1977. So it was not disadvantages to the Soviets and to people who say song put themselves in the position of being essentially apologists for it so that position. What did you hope sought would accomplish what was your feeling about the importance of salt in the U.S. U.S.-Soviet relations with the broader relations and we hoped it would stabilize the strategic competition thereby making it perhaps more possible to deal with some but it was some of the political conflicts. Second I've had thought it would be the centerpiece of. The U.S. relationship and that would pave the way for further accommodation. How do you feel about that. Well I was always a little dubious about the notion that I was going to be the centerpiece. And I felt that by emphasizing so much that would be the centerpiece. Were
making a fetish out of arms control and forgetting the fact that Americans saw the relationship as a competitive one because of ideological and regional conflicts. The honest competition is a symptom of that antagonism of the competition not necessarily its cause. And by focusing so heavily on arms control in my judgment. We were slighting some of the important issues that in fact were shaping in this particular historical era adversely the nature of the American So that relationship. Is it when you think of of the. Geo political moves that moves in Africa and so on at that time and salt. If you had to have and make a choice between. A solid agreement and not countering the Soviets on the geopolitical just board or countering them and perhaps jeopardizing a SALT agreement and which side would you err.
Oh absolutely and very clearly. On the side of countering them. It seemed to me absolute counterproductive to the long range stability of the American Soviet relationship to ignore regional conflicts while single mindedly pursuing salt. So we had to make a choice. I've already answered that. I said exactly as I would have gone for countering the Soviet regional advances. What did you think the Soviet interest was in 1978 or in the late 70s and Angolans a year in Ethiopia. I personally feel that it's too time to speculate about their interests or motives. What's important is to react to what they do. Actions have consequences as of themselves irrespective of motives. I couldn't care less whether the Soviets went into on goal line in order to be expansive or whether they went into Angola because of some sudden surface defection for the Angolan people. The fact that they're there has certain it's Jewish strategic consequences that we have to be concerned about. And it is true that we have to respond and not to some speculate their judgments
regarding their motives. So you don't necessarily side with people who advocate the grand design philosophy of Soviet intentions are those who say there's simply strategic opportunities. I think it's really relevant. The same argument has arisen for example over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And there are those pitiful souls who claim that this was purely a defensive move by the Soviet Union. I say pitiful souls because anybody who argues that is arguing in effect that the primitive country of 16 million people is somehow a major threat. The number two superpower in the world. But let us assume for the sake of argument that the Soviets moved into the gotta stand for these allegedly defensive reasons. The fact that they have moved in has consequences for the stability of the region for the viability of Pakistan and Iran potentially for some access to the Indian Ocean in the Persian Gulf and that is what we have to be concerned about. I'm not essentially an answerable speculation as to why they did something.
In the Horn of Africa. What was your concern irrespective of their motives what was the effect of their presence in the Horn of Africa. The effect of the presence was to put pressure on the Reagan Peninsula to put them in a position to in effect generate a strategic squeeze on an area in which we continue to have vital interests. They were about oil. Yes but you said I can't use it. Yes I worried about oil and its implications for the future viability of Western Europe in the Far East. It seems to me that this is almost self-evident. How would you characterize the difference between you and the State Department in in the approach to the problem of the Soviet Union. I would say that the State Department by and large was overly preoccupied with the I'm going troll negotiations. I shared secretary Vance's hopes for a comprehensive. Arms Reduction arrangement
which he very strongly favored and advocated prior to his mission to Moscow in March of 1977. Though I was skeptical in fact that the Soviets would then accept. My feeling was that we nonetheless ought to persist in that approach in the hope that we could get them eventually to accept. But beyond that I felt that there were wide their Jewish strategic concerns that we could not afford to ignore and which in my judgment the State Department was liking namely So that expansion to the Horn of Africa. The Soviet strategic build up. The kind of pressure they were putting on onset of various parts of the world in part exploiting our post-Vietnam legs in my judgment this course of action on the part of the Soviets was not really compatible with what in my judgment ought to be a reciprocal and a comprehensive deterrent. Another one sided. And one dimensional determined. Didn't Secretary Snow event see that the problem is local.
Probably and I don't think it was. You wrote in your book that. Disagreements on the nature of the problem dictated different approaches to the solution. Do you care to expand on that. Remember what. Well I don't remember exactly what you're a friend but certainly if one of you was a problem as a local. And someone else views that broader geo political then the solutions tend to be different and one of you was the Soviet move and Ethiopia is having on the local significance focused primarily on the border dispute between Ethiopians and 90 land or between and peons and there are trillions and their struggles then obviously ones reaction to is different in that one sees this as having consequences for the adjoining regions notably there up and down. What what was the solution. From your point of view the solution was to make an issue of it. To make an issue of it so as to convince the
Soviets that this matter was affecting the totality of the relationship including the strategic relationship. So the Soviets could not assume that in effect they could have their cake and eat it too. On the one hand seemingly promote detente with its impact particular in our public opinion and on the other hand continue for a leg rest of moves and a third world designed to expand their sphere of influence and by reliance on proxy military force us logistically and politically supported by the Soviet Union. Didn't you advocate a carrier task force. Yes. Well good. Let me put the question this way did you think that we should. What part of our solution a military solution or threat of use of force. Yes of course. There are situations in which the threat of military force carries with it a message. There are situations in which even the deployment of military forces conveys a message it
conveys an interest. It's going to base a sense of involvement. It compels the other side to think about it. Without one having necessarily to cross the T's and dot the I's. In other words without necessarily deciding that one has to use that military force in military operations one of the military show force didn't work. What if the Ethiopians crossed the border into Somalia. What we do we have of course the option of supporting the Somalis with arms. And our presence in the area would still be a complicating factor comparing the other side to assess the consequences of the presence to us says the implications of this house for the U.S. Saudi relationship. You know the words he would maximize the complexity of the environment that they were confronting. Again one cannot be simple minded about it when it doesn't have to decide that the presence of military forces automatically means that you lose them in the preparations. But the presence introduces a new factor into the calculus
and you cannot conduct diplomacy in an age in which power is still an important aspect of international affairs without occasional reliance on power and the projection of power. These issues I gather were debated in an NSC meeting on October 6 1978 with President Carter. Well what happened did you have you with mail October. What I think was October 6 I know there was an end of one year in 1978. Well if you're talking about our November meeting 1978 I believe my view prevailed because it was roughly around the time that the president approved two very important recommendations that I was pushing one was to seek facilities in the area so that we would have access for our force projection into the area on a rapid basis. And second of the president approved the idea that I had been promoting for quite some time the
name of the formation of the rapid deployment force. You know to give the United States the needed flexibility to enhance an air and sea lift and through the availability of light forces. For the deployment of American forces into areas where we're not permanently stationed. Perhaps as earlier but that he didn't approve the show of force the carrier task. I think that was earlier I think that was either in late 76 or very early in 77. Because they know that we have a big I was either in 1977 or early 78. But more likely I would guess in still 877. But I'm not precisely sure of the dates. Well when you recommended that what was tell me what Carter's reaction was and how you felt about. Well his reaction was not to approach it. It's simple as that. How do you feel. I felt normally you know when you were in your deposition in the White House and you're batting averages let's say two thirds positive then you expect. OK so
negative decisions. Did you think that the that the Soviet influence in Africa the expanding influence in Africa as we were negotiating Socrates would or should affect their interest in the south of course I've already indicated that in my judgment you cannot entirely separate geopolitical issues from strategic issues and you cannot subordinate geopolitical issues the strategic issues. In fact in my judgment the Soviet behavior in the third world in particular the African horn contributed to the eventual demis of our efforts to obtain. A significant and constructive arms control agreement. This is why I've used the phrase which has been oft cited that salt lies buried in the sands of all that and. That is to say it lies buried in the sands of the region which is being contested by the Ethiopians and the Somalis where they have the opulence luck heavily assisted by the Soviets.
Why do you say that why do you think that. Because these actions not only opposed as I have suggested the geopolitical challenge to the United States but also they contributed to a greater public disillusionment with the current public. Confidence and detente was undermined by a pattern of behavior which seemed to indicate that the Soviets were taking advantage of detente. On one of its levels namely the geo political. But at the same time seeking. To arrive perhaps as an arms control agreement. At another level and the public increasingly became suspicious. The standard is that the public was using then to assess any agreement with the Soviets became high on. Political skepticism became more intense and of course the Republican Party out of power was capitalizing on all of this to claim that the US was being soft not responsive enough
to some of the pressure etc.. That this is saying. I like salt but unless we take some measures to. Counter the Soviet You know political moves. So I was going to die. That's different from saying if we take measures to counter the Soviet political moves and it jeopardizes solved it doesn't make a difference. It is different and but doesn't mean as one proposition validates the other. And first of all it is a fact of life in a democracy. The public attitudes affect the totality of the relationship and it becomes very difficult to compartmentalize the issue. And therefore it is an acknowledgement of fact to say that so that misconduct is going to prejudice the public against any agreements with the Soviets. Secondly that does not invalidate the proposition that some geo political issues may be important enough to press on them even to jeopardize assault. My judgment was that if we did not press
jeopardized anyway because we cannot fool the public into believing that the Soviets are good guys with whom an arms control agreement must be sought almost at any cost while ignoring their geopolitical expert expansion. My view was that I would surface anyway. And therefore both on the merits of the case as well as in terms of political logic. We would be wise to respond. Paul R-Ky. says it's not as important that you deal with that in its own right as good for us it's good for them as long as it's a good treaty and you fight the geopolitical battles on their own terms. Well first of all the people who say that they were prepared to fight the geopolitical battles on their own terms they're in favor of ignoring them not responding because they're so preoccupied with salt. So first of all I don't believe that this is really a true statement of policy. Second it simply doesn't work in real life. The public is not blind. The public sees the geopolitical conflicts and we fail to respond. It's not the support salt because then it was a spec that sold was negotiated out of weakness and we were dealing with the
facts of the situation and the facts are by and large the way I describe them. There was a rising question and. Resentment and opposition to salt. Not so much on the merits of the SALT agreement itself but in reaction to such misconduct. To which we were seen to which we are perceived as not responding effectively or adequately. You appeared on Meet the Press in the spring of 1978 and addressed the question of somebody's expansion is that it might jeopardise secretary vasculitis book that your message was that we would slow down solved was that you know you know. To send them a message was that what you know now is not the message that I was sent now it's merely registering the proposition which to me seems to be almost a truism that American public opinion will not disregard so that misconduct. And if it doesn't disregard it and I don't think it would it will then not support salt. And therefore if we're really serious about getting arms control agreement with the Soviets we better be responsive
to the challenges on other fronts because otherwise we're going to be perceived. As sensually accommodationist and weak. And public suspicions would then crystallize into visible and political effective opposition even to salt. But it meant it. Did you feel that it was worth making a challenge to the Soviets even to jeopardize where you were to ask me that and I said of the issues important of course because I don't make a fetish out of salt. I don't think salt is the most important thing in the world. Why is that issue important. Yes I think third what expansionism in general politically sensitive areas is important. My argument however is that and we responded to it we would be in a better position to negotiate and I was controlling the Soviets and therefore I did not feel that we would have to sacrifice and I felt that we didn't respond. We'll probably end up losing geopolitically and losing soldiers with
some of the clearances from from Washington slowed down and that did have an effect on the SALT talks in Geneva clearances. Well clearances for the negotiating position when they would have to go back to Washington to get clearance a negotiating position. What do you think that you are speaking out of me to past President Carter speaking out in press conferences and write speeches talking about the the effect on the ratification process that this indeed slowed down the negotiations in Geneva. I fail to see that the logic of the argument the president of United States was expressing the position of the United States. Am I to infer that the present United States should defer. To the views of his negotiator in Geneva. No the question was whether or not there was an actual slowing down or a deliberate walk of the negotiating process. That's not up to us. It's up to the Soviets. Not on our part and I wasn't slowing down. No. It's not about China.
What was your primary interest in in normalizing relations with China was it. For the we were just in the in the in the security aspects of the relationship or normalization or something either normalization for its own sake was the most important factor here is a terribly important country occupying a major portion of the Eurasian continent and potentially playing a major role in the world scene would be clearly in the American interest to have a good relationship both with Japan and China at the same time. It would greatly improve our position in the Far East. And in that respect they represent a very and they'd just step forward in creating a more stable international system. Wasn't this a geopolitical move on our part that we could make to counter the Soviet moves in Africa. You know I think countering sudden moves in Africa and was desirable in its own sake but normalization of relations with China was desirable in its own
sake as well. We were seeking some progress in that direction since 1972 and some initial progress under Nixon was badly slowed down under President Ford in part because of domestic difficulties in the United States and some resumption of progress and direction was postulated as one of the key objectives of the Carter administration in the very first two weeks after we took office. Wait a series of planning sessions and we outlined a number of objectives for the Carter administration. The sixth objective but not six in ranking but simply the six objective in our list was to normalize relations with China if possible by the end of 1978. That was the deadline we set for ourselves in the first three or four weeks of the ghat administration. So we moved in that direction and I certainly tried to contribute if I could. To the attainment of that objective and I would I would I we did. But did you. What advice did you give the president about
selling John a dual use so-called dual use technology that was later on that was after normalization. In the course of 1979 I favored it I thought that to expand the relationship with China we need not discriminate against China in this area and China was not posing a major security problem or threat to the United States and therefore the sale of dual use technology to China was justified. Did we sell dual use technology to the Saudis. No. For reasons which I think would be apparent even to the most stupid person watching this program. Did you or what advice did you give the president about arms sales to John a buyout. Oh I don't object to them at all. I thought this was desirable because a strong and secure China was clearly a contributing factor to international stability and was in our interest. So in addition to normalization there was a security. Aspect to this new relation. But of course there is a security aspect to every major relationship. We are interested in security
of Pakistan where interest and security of India. To the extent that China could be secure and stable that contributed to greater stability in the Eurasian continent. And it clearly was in our interest as an interest of international peace as well. Were you trying to. Send a message to the Soviets. No message had to be sent. They clearly knew that an improvement in American Chinese relations was good for the United States. I did not view my position as entailing the responsibility of worrying about so its security. We were involved in the timing of dung tappings visit to the United States yes very much so. What happened when we decided to normalize relations. We extended the invitation to him to visit the United States. There was preliminary bantering about that possibility when I paid my visit to China and in the course of secret negotiations with Han said the timetable for normalization.
But once we moved closer to normalization the president decided that's one very good way of sealing that important event will be to have done shopping visit Washington and therefore we extend that invitation to Don Chopin which he immediately accepted and we all know he came and visited Washington roughly a month or so after normalization was announced. But was not a slap in the face to Brezhnev when Carter and Brezhnev planning a meeting about that. Well it's sort of made that the United States should not be able to meet with leaders of other important countries because that would not be liked but the Soviets never assumed that American foreign policy ought to be dictated by prestige considerations of other leaderships. It should be rather guided by American interests. It was good for the United States to have a good relationship with China and that's why I don't shop and came to Washington. Are you suggesting that the United States should not have this is by the Chinese unless the Chinese so it's approved unless the Soviets came to Washington first.
No I think that I think you wrote that it was. You wanted to solidify the relationship with China before so it was tough. What was signed. No I didn't I didn't write that. I thought it was important to solidify the relationship with the Chinese period. And I was desirable I were not going to that sold later. After all you know the Soviet position was that nothing should be linked to salt and some people in the State Department arguing that nothing should be linked to salt and now all of a sudden suggestions made that we should link how we conduct our relationship with China to salt in order to satisfy the Soviets. That's a rather curious argument. That on the American side nothing should be linked to salt even of our interest involved. But conversely Soviet concerns outside of sold should be respected because of salt. That's a kind of reverse linkage. To the unilateral advantage of the Soviet Union. Again I fail to see the reasoning and support of that proposition. Some say that it delayed by six months instead of being January it was just a
no I think it accelerated it by December of 1978 a large number of issues were unresolved and the Soviets were unyielding on them. After normalization with China. In fact Soviet concessions were forthcoming in the spring of 1979 and in all probability tell you can never prove it. It was so that concerned about the thrust and momentum of the new American Chinese relationship that may have propelled a saw this into making these concessions. Let's talk about the. ICBM vulnerability mix. Did you see a so-called window of vulnerability in 1977. I thought that there was the growing danger that the Soviets would have a one sided advantage in what might be called kind of force systems and that the United States who are both vulnerable to such systems and had no adequate force of its own capable of
certain kind of force missions. I see the problem. Well the one problem was that the Soviets would develop a first strike capability. Some people say that's ludicrous because what about the other two legs of the drive. Well that is true as long as the other two legs of the triad are invulnerable. One of those legs may not be all that invulnerable in a case and the other leg SLBM leg is still invulnerable. We don't know for how long but that doesn't really get at the guts of the issue because the guts of the issue is not of the sole It would someday launch suddenly a preemptive first strike out of the blue and you gauge in a win nuclear war. The question arises in different ways. First of all the asymmetry of vulnerability creates political and psychological conditions which can be destabilizing and also be inhibiting one's own response. And it can be employed in a manner short of an all out attack. To exact a
minute for a political advantage. It is this asymmetry that has always bothered strategic planners who felt that therefore there ought to be some state taken to reduce that vulnerability to make the relationship more symmetrical in terms of degree of vulnerability or security. You mean that perceptions of nuclear superiority paid political dividends. That's one aspect of it but it's more than perceptions it's also the impact that such vulnerability has on your ability to respond in a variety of situations. Short of a total nuclear exchange. Did you feel. Did you agree with with the concerns of the committee on the Present Danger on this. Well you would have to be a lot more specific and precise and I had concerns on my own I didn't need the committee and present danger and they had the right of concerns I had a lot of concerns.
So you have to be more specific as to what you know as they talked about about this and wrote about the possibility of coersion about getting diplomatic advantage because of the perception. Well the way you summarize it it sounds to me not unreasonable I think these problems that arise and they did concern a number of people the ministration Secretary Brown was concerned about it. The J.S. Yes we're concerned about it. The president was sufficiently concerned to approve the deployment of the M-x on a scale which is quite significant. We were planning 200 launchers each with 10 warheads. So the concern was there. The president says. That you ran them down and so forth 1979 did you. Well I'm very flattered to that's what he says that's that is that what he says. Well if that's if that's what he wrote. In fact I'm very flattered That's a rather unique
definition of the relationship between the president of the United States and his national security adviser. But if that is the case I certainly have no regrets regrets about it. Was the reluctant to accept it and what is the impression that when you first came into office you want a freeze on weapon system. The last thing in the world he wanted was a new weapons system. Perhaps. But you know we we live in a real world. And in a real world you are faced with real life threats and then you have to make real life responses to them. When did he become convinced that the Soviets did had developed. Potential hard kill capability. You would have to ask him that. I mean was there a lot I can tell you is when he decided to approve the next which was in the spring of 1979. Prior to the sold to agreement signing in Vienna and we had fairly extensive sessions on this. Very extensive. In fact not only meetings of the special court and nation Committee which I chaired. But also of the National
Security Council itself which the president chaired and we had very extensive discussion both of the desirability of the end the acts. And if we were to move that way. What kind of an IMAX large one of the smaller one of the basing mode for it with Secretary Brown coming up. With a very effective scheme for ensuring its survivability. And it was after this exercise which was very comprehensive and thorough night and in which the issue was well invented. You know the president approved the decision to go with it and that x. Was no one had the NSC formally dissenting from that decision. How much of it was based upon a real concern for the vulnerability of our ICBM force and how much of it was a political decision to get the Chiefs on board of itself could be right. You're asking me to speculate about the president's motives. I have no idea. It's hard for me to say. It may have been a combination of both.
And. It's very hard to judge these things. The vice president incidentally was also involved in the decision and it's quite conceivable that for each participant in that decision the mix of motives may have been very different. Some of that may have been more concerned about the problem of external security. Some may have been more concerned about getting J C S on board as you have said and some may have been concerned. Over senatorial response. Some may have been concerned over the possibility of on going. Past salt to negotiations with the Soviets and the kind of leveraging that this would have. On future sort of positions it could have been any mix of these motives. What was what was your desire to see the next to stabilize destructive situation in the American Soviet relationship in my view of the end that acts would enhance American strategic options and reduce some of the emerging potential instabilities industry.
It has been you know talking about solving a vulnerability problem you're talking about in case of war. That's right that's right because you have weapons you know added to the terror war. But in order to be terror a war you have to have weapons that you can use in a war and you're going to lose most of your weapons in a war and you may be less effective in deterring war. Also there may be wars at levels lower than the total. And you don't want to be faced with a situation in which your only option is responding with everything you have. Or not responding at all and the end acts would have helped to fill that gap. Giving the president given the United States. And greater versatility. In a war fighting situation. What's the relationship between Max and. 15 I know you think you are going but it was in fact the hardware that made a new kind of war strategy. The presidential directive number 59 which did significantly alter.
The U.S. doctrine of deterrence. But also of potential war fighting. Was strongly reinforced. By the decision to move towards the next deployment because would be very difficult to implement. PD 59 in the absence of a system such as the annex. People talk about this is a war fighting strategy is that accurate. No I think the accurate way of describing it is at war. The tearing strategy but the terror war. You have to be able to defeat terror your opponent. In all of the different manifestations of warfighting of which he's capable. Because you can only be terrorism in one respect but not in several others. Then you are failing to determine those other respects. And given the nature of Soviet strategic deployments over the years it is clear that the Soviets are not thinking only of one
spouse make up a clip to talk election change. But they're also thinking of some variety short of that. And we want to deter them. We have to be able to indicate to them that they will not be able to confront us with a choice of either committing suicide. OK deterrence and use options are the same thing. Variety of options to respond matching the other side's capability enhances determines what is the choice between a bigger version of the IMAX or a smaller version. What do you favor. I favor the larger one because it has a larger number of warheads and could therefore give us and a shorter period of time. And a larger capability that we felt was needed. Did you. SUPPORT THE SALT treaty that was finally signed and yes of course I did.
I think I was one of the principal briefless in the White House on the subject and and in fact and the fact that I was doing it quite a bit of briefing. On salt. Was due. To the argument that was made by those who organized these briefings that I was somewhat more persuasive and then some of my colleagues what was in the propounding sold what was important about it when you think it gave us what we thought about. Well it's certainly correct that some of the asymmetries in the American strategic relationship that were sanctioned by sold one. As you'll remember sold to one and in a fact formalized major inequities in the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Soviets had a larger number of. Launchers submarines etc. so sold to first of all it was a significant step in that direction no more genuine strategic equality. Second Assault to involve the first modest step.
To what some reductions in strategic forces. So we were beginning to reverse the trend. Of a kind of spiraling race towards more and more systems. Now I say it was a modest step because was a partial step we were able to read you was in agreement a number of launchers. We were not able to reach an agreement which would have had the effect of reducing the number of warheads and that might have been a follow on accomplishment in a later agreement. Beyond that salt too involved some partially effective. Obstacles to the introduction of new systems. And therefore was also an impediment to an important aspect of the arms race. So I would say in these three elements sold to was a useful important contribution. And therefore I supported it. How do you perceive Soviet involvement in Iran. Was it a problem I worked on. During the hostage or during the revolution.
Somebody devolved into us and marginal and external. Clearly the Soviets were. Abetting and encouraging the Iranians to be as anti-American as it was possible but they were not directly involved as far as I know. Carney said he learned more about the Soviets a few days and yeah than previous years. What did he learn and how do you change his views. Well I assume he must have changes it since he said that. And it wasn't much of a surprise to me. Did you change your views over the four years of the Soviet. Not really I think they confirmed and some of my suspicions. That if you've got a Smith book you know that he did 59 with the capstone of a policy that you've been urging on President Carter for four years. Does that make any sense. If so can you tell us what that policy. Well essentially it was a policy of enhanced deterrence designed to give the United States a capacity. For maintaining a stable strategic
relationship with the Soviets in spite of the massive silvered buildup. Which appears to have been designed to give the Soviets at least some initial first strike capability and also a greater war fighting. Flexibility. So it was essential an attempt to renovate them strategic doctrine. To give it greater flexibility to make it more effective and the likely conditions. Of the remaining years of the 80s and into the decade beyond. Just point of the salt wasn't ratified. Yes I was disappointed but not crushed. What you ask and you look at me. OK good. I'm so I don't understand the question why.
Right right right. It's very hard to summarize or to reduce this to a few words but I try to impress the president with the proposition of the Soviets were a serious competitor and that they were a constant in the pursuit of their strategy and that the only way that was effective in dealing with them was to be firm and constant oneself. So see the large picture and the interrelationship between the different aspects of the American Civic competition the strategic the geo political ideological. That on and then do we maintain and sustain an effective strategy that would do two very important things. Establish a reasonably stable. And not particularly cooperative relationship with the Soviets and convince the American people that we are managing that relationship responsibly and therefore deserve public
opinion support without the public opinion shifting from euphoria to hysteria about called war which are unfortunately very destructive swings in American public attitudes regarding the Soviet Union. You think the Soviet Union is interested in world domination. You can't answer a question like that because that's one of those questions which frankly is so simplistic that either a no or a yes answer is a partial distortion. The Soviet Union wishes to be. Z A number one global power. Now whether that is the same thing as communist domination or not is a very complicated historical philosophical question but it certainly wishes to be the number one global power. I for one do not wish it to be.
- Raw Footage
- Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1986
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- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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- Episode Description
- Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish-American political scientist and geostrategist, was national security adviser to U.S. president Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. In the interview he conducted for War and Peace in the Nuclear Age, Brzezinski reveals the prominent role he played in shaping foreign policy in the Carter administration. He chastises those who would make "a fetish out of arms control" and forget the far-reaching competitive relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union. Reflecting an internal dispute within the administration, Brzezinski amplifies his views that the Soviet Union, building upon post-Vietnam malaise, was aggressively expanding its sphere of influence through proxi-military forces. Of particular concern was Soviet expansion in the Horn of Africa, which Brzezinski sees as key to flagging interest in arms-control talks and dwindling public confidence in detente. "SALT lies buried in the sands of Ogaden," he maintains. He challenges those who believed that Strategic Arms Limitation Talks with the Soviet Union should have impacted the timing of China's Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping's visit to Washington. He further recounts the process for normalizing U.S. relations with the People's Republic of China, which insisted that it be regarded as the sole legal government of China. Brzezinski also discusses his support for the large, super-accurate MX missile that the United States created to expand its strategic options and to avert a situation in which "your only option is responding with everything you have or not responding at all." These views culminated in August 1980's Presidential Directive 59 (PD 59), which introduced into the basic nuclear-war plan the idea of striking at the Soviet command structure. For Brzezinski, PD 59 provided "enhanced deterrence" by presenting greater war-fighting flexibility during a protracted limited war.
- Asset type
- Raw Footage
- Carter, Jimmy, 1924-; Deng, Xiaoping, 1904-1997; Ogaden (Ethiopia); Horn of Africa; China; United States; Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II; Vietnam War, 1961-1975; MX (Weapons system); Intercontinental ballistic missiles; nuclear warfare; Schmidt, Helmut, 1918 Dec. 23-; Kohl, Helmut, 1930-; Nuclear arms control; nuclear weapons; Warnke, Paul C., 1920-2001; Cruise missiles; Pakistan; Somalia; Afghanistan; Great Britain; Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994; Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006; Brezhnev, Leonid Il?ich, 1906-1982; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; First strike (Nuclear strategy); Neutron bomb; International Relations
- Rights Note:,Rights:,Rights Credit:WGBH Educational Foundation,Rights Type:All,Rights Coverage:,Rights Holder:WGBH Educational Foundation
- Media type
- Moving Image
Publisher: WGBH Educational Foundation
Writer: Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 1928-
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: b40cdf14602522c925ec9b47af9ebf0429c1c1d6 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
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- Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1986,” 1986-11-19, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed November 30, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-k93125qk3q.
- MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1986.” 1986-11-19. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. November 30, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-k93125qk3q>.
- APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1986. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-k93125qk3q