Brzezinski has argued that negotiations with Taliban elements, not an increased war effort and grand goals of military victory, may be the key to a more stable Afghanistan. He says: “I would have to be convinced that we were going to be driven out or defeated if we don’t increase forces – but if the increase in forces is designed to achieve some sort of a victory, then I think it is the wrong path … Is becoming more and more deeply engaged in a conflict which involves not just Afghanistan but Pakistan in the long range interests of the US?”
On Iran, Mr Brzezinski worries that the negotiations currently being considered by the US are unlikely to prosper because they are too focused on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear status, to the exclusion of Iran’s concerns.
“If we refuse to discuss other issues that the Iranians wish to discuss, we will encourage the Iranians to refuse to discuss the issues that we want to discuss,” he says. “It’s as simple and basic as that. And we cannot engage the Iranians in serious negotiations if we at the same time publicly discuss more severe sanctions, not to mention that other options [by which he means military force] are on the table.”
As for the administration’s efforts on Middle East peace, Mr Brzezinski’s frustration is all too clear. “So much time has been spent diddling around,” he says, arguing that an “evasive compromise” on settlements will do little to advance a final agreement. “I haven’t given up hope, but hope isn’t everlasting,” he says, mournfully. [continued…]