February 24th, 2012
02:49 PM ET

Watch GPS: Brzezinski "embarrassed as an American" by GOP candidates

On Fareed Zakaria GPS this week at 10am and 1pm ET on CNN: America’s road ahead in Syria, Iran, Egypt, and more.  Fareed is one-on-one with former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.

The foreign policy theorist also shares his thoughts on the world view of the GOP candidates. Also on the show, What in the World: While worrying about Islam, the West seems to have forgotten about Egypt’s real enemy – the military.

And we have an all-star GPS panel on the economy: Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget David Stockman, the Financial Time's Gillian Tett, and Zanny Minton Beddoes from The Economist.

On the GOP

Fareed Zakaria: In this fall’s election, you still prefer Obama to the alternative?

Zbigniew Brzezinski: Oh, without a question, without a question. I mean, look at those Republican debates. I must say I literally feel embarrassed as an American when I see those people orate. One of them sounds like a medieval Savonarola. Another one is trying to explain why he has some of his wealth located in the Cayman Islands. And someone else would go back to 1780. And then there is someone who is using his credentials as a repudiated speaker of the Congress to be president. I mean, this is just embarrassing....

On America's global role

Fareed Zakaria: So when you read Mitt Romney and his advisers saying 'America is number one, this is an American century, we should just assert our power'?

Zbigniew Brzezinksi: Well, the last three Republican presidents [said] God chose America and history commissioned America to be playing that kind of role. And that kind of rhetoric is just divorced from reality to the point of absurdity, actually to the point of danger for us.

On Iran

Zbigniew Brzezinksi: We don’t need to go to war. And we have to make that very clear to our Israeli friends. We’re not going to go to war. They’re not going to go to war by flying over our airspace over Iraq. We’re not going to support them. If they do it, they will be on their own. The consequences will be theirs, because the price we’ll all pay, based on a massive war, which the Iranians interpret as being done with our connivance, will be disastrous for us in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in the terms of oil, but also in the Middle East more generally.

On Syria

Zbigniew Brzezinksi: My approach would be somewhat differently shaped or defined than the one we’re pursuing right now. I would take the position that we will support anything that the Turks and the Saudis jointly contrive, because they’re our friends in the region. They’re responsible. They’re very interested. And they have the capacity to play a decisive role. We can then back them if they do it. But I certainly wouldn’t get out front.

Fareed Zakaria: Isn’t what happening in Syria, though, a kind of proxy or a cold war with the Iranians supporting the regime and the Saudis increasingly supporting the opposition?

Zbigniew Brzezinksi: Yes, it’s even more complicated because the Israelis also have an interest, and they certainly don’t have an interest in a strong, united Syria again reemerging, although that’s rather flightless these days in view what has happened. But we shouldn’t be careless in any comparisons between Assad and Gadhafi. Gadhafi was far more vulnerable than Assad is. I think it’s far from clear yet that Assad can, in fact, be overthrown.

Watch the full show Sunday at 10a and 1p Eastern on CNN.

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Topics: GPS Episodes • GPS Show • Iran • Syria • United States

soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Ray Smith

    I enjoy reading Zakaria's material, but his choice of Brzezinski demonstrates why there are no comments – he is irrelevant today.

    February 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Reply
    • DavidWm

      "...........Brzezinski demonstrates why there are no comments – he is irrelevant today."
      One of the greatest problems we have in this country is that we can almost elect Sara Palin as the VP and put her a breath away from the presidency while making the greatest minds in the world "irrelevant".

      February 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        True, Sarah Palin is gone, but the others – Romney, Gingrich and Santorum – make themselves a laughing stock abroad. I understand that Zbigniew Brzezinksi is embarassed to hear this bunch of madcaps and lunatics blaring out American foreign policies.

        February 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
      • sylvia de g

        Not seeing how irrelevant Gingrich, Romney, or Santorum are is quite a problem with the status quo Republican establishment. But not seeing how irrelevant Obama has become because of his expansion of the wars, and his Keynesian economics is the downfall of the Democrats. Even brilliant minds like Brzezinski can't defend the uncertainty of these wars and economy that Obama helped create. Ron Paul is our last hope, to bring back an America with a strong foundation of the free market, limited government, peace, and liberty. If Brzezinski calls this embarrassing or provincial, too bad.

        February 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
      • alumette

        exactly right. We have this wind of people whose minds belong in the middle-ages hoping they may have a chance to govern the largest western country....unless the voting machines are rigged, they have no chance. I do not believe the majority of the US people would be dumb enough to vote for these dangerous fools. It would be our demise.

        February 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
      • Tshering

        Perhaps Newt has overstepped the lmitis of human decency by suggesting these people need a bath and a job. Communism has always welcomed those who don't want to work, at least that is what these people have been led to believe. Yes, Marxism welcomes the lazy talentless people with open arms and provides them with a bullet to the back of the head enough room to spend eternity with other non-productive in a mass grave. Marxism works so well t can well afford to take care of the useless and untrained workers who want to be parasites and free loaders.These poor saps think Capitalism is a cold hard system; they should spend some time in a workers' paradise and see how much the workers actually enjoy paradise. LOL They should see how many of those Marxist workers would give anything for an opportunity to take part in this Capitalist Hell.Reply

        April 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • j. von hettlingen

      Zbigniew Brzezinksi made a point. America doesn't need to go to war with Iran. If Israel wants it, it's its business. Unfortunately anybody who opposes to supporting Israel in this foray will be branded as an anti-Semitist.

      February 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Reply
      • Travis

        Well said, j. von hettlingen. While I'm not anti-Semitic, I don't believe that Israel should attack Iran in any case. We need a leader from some third country to diffuse the tensions between the two countries. Moreover, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are all a national disgrace by going around vomiting out their hitler-like foreign policies. These guys are all as nutty as they can be!

        February 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
      • miriam

        Brzezinski demonstrates how out of touch or blatantly anti-Israeli he is.
        To claim that only the Likud leaders of Israel are pushing for an attack on Iran is false.

        Firstly, nobody is pushing for an attack but have been discussing what to do if Iran gains a nuclear weapon, given the threats that the Islamic Republic repeats about the destruction of the Jewish state.

        However, the individual in the Israeli leadership who is most vocal about the need for military preparedness is the defence minister, Ehud Barak, who recently left the left-wing labour party to form his own left-wing alternative.

        It is obvious and logical that Brzezinski emphasizes US interests, however it is naive and arrogant to ignore the fact that other nations have their own interests and that the US does not have the influence it did in the time when he was an official. Why else would he object to Israel violating US airspace, airspace over Iraq!

        Fareed, you may consider him the "wiseman" of US foreign policy but I suspect you are in a minority.

        February 26, 2012 at 8:26 am |
      • miriam

        Brzezinski demonstrates how out of touch or blatantly anti-Israeli he is.
        To claim that only the Likud leaders of Israel are pushing for an attack on Iran is false.

        Firstly, nobody is pushing for an attack but have been discussing what to do if Iran gains a nuclear weapon, given the threats that the Islamic Republic repeats about the destruction of the Jewish state.

        However, the individual in the Israeli leadership who is most vocal about the need for military preparedness is the defence minister, Ehud Barak, who recently left the left-wing labour party to form his own left-wing alternative.

        It is obvious and logical that Brzezinski emphasizes US interests, however it is naive and arrogant to ignore the fact that other nations have their own interests and that the US does not have the influence it did in the time when he was an official. Why else would he object to Israel violating US airspace, airspace over Iraq!

        Fareed, you may consider him the "wiseman" of US foreign policy but I suspect you are in a minority.

        February 26, 2012 at 8:28 am |
      • Labomba

        From a nazi german to agree with a nazi pole. What's new?

        February 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
      • Hannah

        I totally agree, I wish more people could understand that

        February 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
      • Hannah

        I agree with you hettlingen

        February 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • gok

      Whats a mans relevence have to do with him sharing his ideas and wisdom? You'd rather vote for the popular guy then the obviously more intelligent experienced gentleman this guy seems to be.(never heard of btw, never heard of alot of people). Id say youre the irrelevent one 😉

      February 25, 2012 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • Risin

      Hey genius, of course there 'd be no comments if you were the first to rush to read this article

      February 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Reply
    • Hannah

      what do you mean he is irrelevant? everything he said concerning our foreign policy was very much relevant and I wish we had more smart people like him in office that can publicly say what needs to be said without conceding because of political pressure. He said it like it is. I cant wait to get his book and read it. He is a very smart man and was very much on target with everything he said. loved the interview

      February 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
      • Joe

        Reading your remarks you said you'd like to read his book. I'd be very surprised if you know how to read.

        February 28, 2012 at 10:41 am |
      • An Irrelevant Person

        Joe wrote "Reading your remarks you said you'd like to read his book. I'd be very surprised if you know how to read."

        And your point is? Really stupid post, Joe. You may be watching too much Fox News. Attacking the person instead of providing a considered counter argument, is the cancer of the US media and political dialog. Don't play along.

        March 3, 2012 at 2:12 am |
      • Achilles

        can i have The English.I'll provide you my asdreds later.Thank you very much in advance.anyway, i stumble upon your blog when i am googling' for online bookcover for 120 malay movies, so i am also asking your permission, to use the photo you have uploaded here at my blog.if you disagree, i'll remove it.

        March 14, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • Kenny

      Not only is he irrelevant but he is infactuated with the worst president since one of his first bosses, Jimmy Carter. I am new to Zakaria GPS, this being the second episode I have watched.

      Fareed, I am disappointed that you embellished his psychotic and stupid comments and views.

      February 28, 2012 at 9:51 am | Reply
    • Gary Burns

      Ray...you don't seem to know too much about how the world works so I wish you wouldn't comment on some one who's expertise is highly regarded throughout the world.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  2. Mauricio Villamil

    Thanks a lot, Mr. Zakaria for your always sharp and accurate comments, reports and interviews with the right people at the right time. I agree with Secretary Brzezinksi: GOP Candidates are a shame to the United States and the Republican Party, if there is one still there....

    February 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Reply
  3. jal

    Good interview. Maybe because he makes all of my points and I can just go back to eating cookies. Also, I think we are missing a new major player in the Arab Spring, the RED CROSS. .

    February 24, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  4. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The GOP mantra: Turn all the Old, Sick, Poor, Non-white, Non-christian, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, White, Christian, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military.

    February 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  5. matt a.

    The U.S. can't really afford to initiate a war with any country. But that hasn't stopped the U.S. in the last ten years.
    This is the time for America to play a supportive, but subordinate role.

    No, I don't think any Republican candidate is impressing the country. Award one of them a Nobel prize upon attaining the Presidency, and see if they manage economic and foreign policy effectively.

    Hillary Clinton is our foreign policy–operating very well I might add. Who's running the business side?

    February 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  6. George Patton

    This time Zbigniew Brzezinski is quite right. Republican Presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are truly a disgrace to this country as their love for bloodshed and war is exceeded only by the pride that they take in it!!!

    February 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Reply
    • traderjose

      i think he is also embarrassed by ron paul, too. the one that wants to go back to 1780s.

      February 26, 2012 at 4:54 am | Reply
  7. Eugene Levich

    Hmmmmm . . . A series of ad hominem attacks minus any intelligent commentary on policy. . . how useful!

    February 25, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
  8. Toppolina

    Totally agree with Brzezinski on his opinion on the GOP candidates; they are ignorant, pretentious, arrogant, and most definitely embarrassing. As to the world politics the few videos included show how well knowledgeable he is of world affairs. A brilliant politician

    February 25, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
  9. ifiwereking

    Oh, by the way, did Mr. Zakaria mention that Mr. Brzezinski is a Democrat?

    February 25, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • Bill from BC

      Yes, yes he did. Twice. What's your point?

      February 27, 2012 at 1:06 am | Reply
  10. whatsgood

    As much as I like or used to like Fareed Zakaria's show, more and more, it just sounds like an arm of Obama's/the Democratic Party's spin machine. When Fareed's not lecturing or denigrating the Republican candidates, he's providing "suggestions" for how Obama should be reelected. There are almost always two reasonable sides to every issue, and journalists, if Fareed considers himself one, must make every effort to be objective. I mean, come on, CNN runs this headline as if Brzezinski is some sort of non-partisan figure.

    February 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    • Bill from BC

      Just because there are two reasonable sides to the issue doesn't mean the republicans are one of them, assuming that both sides must always be part right or part wrong is the golden mean fallacy, and blindly yelling back the claims of each side without comment isn't journalism or objectivity, it's merely spreading propaganda for both sides. The Republicans have stated in no uncertain terms that their first goal is to make Obama fail regardless of the effect on the country and everything they've done since 2009 has been a cynical political ploy to obtain that goal.

      February 27, 2012 at 1:11 am | Reply
  11. Benedict

    I thought that America was tired of war and you want to elect another to continue strafe ?!! Unending war or not?!!

    February 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  12. ma & pa

    Step away from that mid-east powder keg...keep all matches in pockets.

    February 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  13. Some Guy

    Given that Brzezinski drew up the blueprint for the US power grab in Central Asia (The Grand Chessboard), it's a little late for him to be turning dovish. Frankly, I think he's a liar playing a PR game. He unleashed the enormous bloodshed in Afghanistan in 1979; he belongs in a dock in a courtroom, not being treated like an elder statesman on TV.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:43 am | Reply
  14. J.J.W. van Waning

    Excellent choice of guest in these troubling times, and a good interview – thank you Fareed Zakaria!

    February 26, 2012 at 8:35 am | Reply
  15. john

    Sheesh when you watch Brzezinski talk and the wisdom he speaks with and then you think of the 4 clowns we watched in the debate the other day, it makes wonder how these people rose to candidate for president status.. Mr Brezezinski may be accurate in his language when he refers to the GOP hopefuls as primitive.

    February 26, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
  16. David juma

    Let us use our responsibility more than our rights.

    February 26, 2012 at 11:29 am | Reply
  17. Gary

    Mr Brezezinski "Hit the Nail on the Head" The four remaining GOP candidates are "clowns or better still buffons" . What a joke, the Republicans might as well ask "Joe the plumber" to run in this race and Palin could be his running mate.

    It seems to me that the whole electorial process needs to be changed and made more selective by making sure that people running for government offices whether it be at the State level or federal level, must meet rigorous high standards by way of proper credentials and competency. Don;t know how Perry and Brewer ever got into office at the state levels in Texas and Arizona respectively.

    Another issue that needs attention is that there are far too many congressman and senators in government that should be put out to pasture, it's a real joke watching the house in progress on TV and seeing these ancient old members who can't even keep their eyes open. In other words these positions should be limited to 2 four years terms just like the President.

    Really enjoy your show and look forward to it every Sunday.

    Gary
    Vancouver Island
    BC Canada
    garpea@shaw.ca

    February 26, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Gene

      "It seems to me that the whole electorial process needs to be changed and made more selective by making sure that people running for government offices whether it be at the State level or federal level, must meet rigorous high standards by way of proper credentials and competency."

      And what level of a test would one need to have that would actually enable Obama to pass it? A community organizer who had never accomplished a single thing in his life? A state senator with propensity to vote "Present" on controversial issues? Someone who has never held a single job in his entire life, never had a boss, never created a single job? Seriously... Embarrassed to have an idiot for president. He makes Sarah Palin look like a Rhodes Scholar.

      March 8, 2012 at 5:20 am | Reply
    • Alexies

      Ideally I would like to avoid spoilers. One of the tnghis on my to-do list is implement tags like [spoiler] [/spoiler] for notes/synopsis/character fields that will be invisible by default unless you ask to be spoiled. Then we'll be able to do both.

      March 12, 2012 at 5:23 am | Reply
  18. Marie

    Zbigniew Brzezinski needs to look in the mirror. Who is an embarrassment to this country? Mr Zrzezinski , your extreme bias is showing. Poor choice for CNN to have him on GPSr program.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  19. Suzanne Avila

    Always watch GPS,fair analysis of world issues. I agree with Mr. Brzinski

    February 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Reply
  20. Hannah

    everything he said concerning our foreign policy was very much relevant and I wish we had more smart people like him in office that can publicly say what needs to be said without conceding because of political pressure. He said it like it is. I cant wait to get his book and read it. He is a very smart man and was very much on target with everything he said. loved the interview

    February 26, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  21. Suzanne Avila

    Continued Mr.Brzezinksi is right on target,we shouldn't get involved in every war. We also cannot turn our back on countries that massacre innocent civilians. That would be irresponsible,that includes the involvement of our allies. We don't always need to be the heros of the world.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  22. Count to 4

    Your final panel all bashed the Republican candidates for their proposed lowering of taxes and policies which would actually increase the national debt, and therefore further weaken our economy and world position. There are four candidates; that is not a very bid number to count to. Ron Paul's entire campaign is based on lowering our spending and our national debt. If none of the media is willing to recognize a candidate with specific economic solutions, we can not expect real solutions to be presented to the American people during the campaign. Start covering his ideas and you will at least see real issues being discussed by the candidates. Shame on you for not bringing up this point. I would love to see you invite him to your next show. Having him on before Super Tuesday would really shake things up. It would at the very least be interesting TV for a change.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  23. David Hawthorne

    Isn't anyone even the least bit concerned that the world may not think well of us if they have to live under an umbrella of US drones? If we're wondering why The Second Arab Spring is bringing a bumper crop of anti-Americanism with it, we ought to understand that our 'lack of respect for our own laws' (eg. due process, habeas corpus, privacy, respect for human rights) has put American government in the same behavioral category as the other petulant tyrants that ordinary people are rebelling against the world over. Haven't we noticed, that mobile phones and wireless internet have reached nearly 80% penetration levels in even the poorest societies? They get the news too! When idiotic candidates for the Presidency of the US explode their political IEDs (Idiotic Extemporaneous Diatribes) millions of innocent bystanders get wounded by the shrapnel. God forbid that any of these gonzo wannabes gets into office. Do you think the world will forget the venal disrespect and sheer contempt they've spewed over the other people on the planet? Can a Chinese, Muslim, Middle Eastern, European, Latin American, or African leader credibly stand on a platform beside a President Gingrich, Santorum, Romney, Paul, Perry, or Cain and not feel compelled to express the pepsis building up in their people under the deluge of contempt for others spewed by men so backward that they can still say stuff in Florida thinking it won't be consumed in Michigan? Listen up! The whole world is watching, not just the your back-slapping PAC men in the back room. Decorum isn't about being polite, its about being 'aware.' Our domestic politics are making this a much more dangerous and unfriendly world for Americans. Why would Afghans accept an apology for urinating on their corpses, or burning the Quran, when they can hear and see what our politicians are saying about them?

    February 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Reply
  24. orlando

    I am embarassed too. The GOP runner for President will be eaten alive at debate time by The current President.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • Gene

      As long as they let him use a teleprompter.

      March 8, 2012 at 5:23 am | Reply
  25. Jay

    Brzenzinski is right. America doesn't need any more wars. It doesn't need to destabilize the middle east. That will be detrimentAl to her economy. The republican candidates? They are out of touch with reality.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      How about obama bombing Libya and you be sure he will intervene in the civil war in Syria.

      February 28, 2012 at 10:49 am | Reply
  26. Ramiin Shams

    Dear sir,
    I was shocked to see Berzensky in your program, don't you know that he has been a very active member of Iranian lobby since President Carter? You are losing your prestige and credit for us "the real Iranian"!

    February 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
    • Sam DAN

      Brzezinski was the person who influenced Carter to allow Islamists to overthrow the Shah of Iran and established the Theocratic regime in Iran. Then Bush 2 removed Saddam in Iraq -the main rival to Iran. Great job!! [sarcasm}
      Now Brzezinski is saying Israel should accept possible suicide in order that Obama wins the coming presidential election. Overstatement?? I think not. The UN scientific body was denied access to IRAN nuclear facilities again. They agree with the Israeli assessment of the Iranian timetable to achieve an atomic bomb capability.
      Who cares!!!

      February 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Reply
  27. Bianca

    Finally, someone said it. Congratulations. But if the Republicans keep going at it the way they have, it will be an easy win for Obama.
    "Democrats fight and argue and make up. Republicans eat their own", a phrase I recently heard from a member of Congress, and so true.
    For the person who claims Berzensky as a Nazi should check their history before making such stupid claims.

    On another note, I'm very upset that this show is on ONLY 2 times per day in the Pacific region. What is going on with CNN? It's repeat, repeat and more repeats of shows full of opinions and entertainment.

    February 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
    • Doug

      Berzensky nailed it today.
      Hopefully your president is re-elected.
      A concerned Canadian.

      February 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
      • Gene

        Back in the 1930's we also appeased a leader of a country simply because none of us wanted to go to war. Can any of you comprehend what would have happened if Hitler had obtained a nuclear weapon before us? And now, we just want to sit back and appease the Iranians? Has anyone learned from history? Perhaps Obama and a few of your who commented here have forgotten your history lessons. US has enemies, they are real and they want us dead. The only question is whether we want to stand up to them.

        March 8, 2012 at 5:28 am |
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