Brzezinski: Balancing the East; Upgrading the West
February 26th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Brzezinski: Balancing the East; Upgrading the West

By Zbigniew Brzezinski, Foreign Affairs

The United States' central challenge over the next several decades is to revitalize itself, while promoting a larger West and buttressing a complex balance in the East that can accommodate China's rising global status. A successful U.S. effort to enlarge the West, making it the world's most stable and democratic zone, would seek to combine power with principle. A cooperative larger West - extending from North America and Europe through Eurasia (by eventually embracing Russia and Turkey), all the way to Japan and South Korea - would enhance the appeal of the West's core principles for other cultures, thus encouraging the gradual emergence of a universal democratic political culture.

At the same time, the United States should continue to engage cooperatively in the economically dynamic but also potentially conflicted East. If the United States and China can accommodate each other on a broad range of issues, the prospects for stability in Asia will be greatly increased. That is especially likely if the United States can encourage a genuine reconciliation between China and Japan while mitigating the growing rivalry between China and India.

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Topics: Asia • Foreign Policy • United States

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Milt Capps

    Just saw Zakaria's interview with Brzezinksi. Please make a printed transcript available as soon as possible online. This was one of the most intelligent, insightful interviews on the realities and opportunities confronting the U.S. and the world in a very very long time. Milt Capps – Nashville, Tennessee, USA

    February 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
    • V balest

      Milt,
      You are totally correct in your observation.

      February 26, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Reply
    • Hassen bettaieb

      Absolutely, that was a wise and rational man speaking. A good perspective on things from a realist angle. I will buy his book. I concur with a another commentator who said the following : "....Just saw Zakaria's interview with Brzezinksi. Please make a printed transcript available as soon as possible online. This was one of the most intelligent, insightful interviews on the realities and opportunities confronting the U.S. and the world in a very very long time."

      February 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  2. E. Southwick

    Please send Mr.Brzezinksi back to the Carter Adminestration where he belongs. He obviously doesn't understand
    the current state of the world.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  3. Liz

    E. Southwick, agreed. I'd go a step further and say that Zbig. 'didn't understand' the past, nor does he 'understand' the current state of the world. One only has to read his 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (readily available on the internet) to know what I'm talking about. It is very informational. Brzezinski was and still is bad news.

    February 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Despite might be over-optimistic about enlarging the West and "making it the world's most stable and democratic zone". Each country is a rational actor and has its own national interest in mind. There will always be a East/West and a North/South divide. No doubt the U.S. will still remain an "indispensable nation", as it – together with the E.U. – might be the only ones in the world of realpolitik that provide for the international common good.

      February 27, 2012 at 3:34 am | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        please read: Brzezinksi might be over-optimisitc.....

        February 27, 2012 at 3:36 am |
  4. GG Pinter

    Mr.Brzezinksi may be an outstanding thinker on other topics in foreign policy, dut not on Iran. He and President Carter both faced so ineptly the revolution which put an end to the Shah's rule that he has no claim to ask us to listen to his advice on Iran.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  5. krm1007

    PAKISTAN.....The New Gateway to Central Asia and Europe.
    With a population of over 180 million most of whom are well educated, English speaking, entrepreneurial and a cultural and social fit with Central Asians...Pakistan will now become the new face and gateway to Central Asia and Europe. Pakistan will thus span this region and provide the impetus for growth, prosperity and unity among these countries. These are new and exciting times for Pakistanis who should now look forward to their new leadership role aligned with Central Asia and Europe rather than the Subcontinent. We wish them much success as they have sacrificed the most during the past 30 + years creating a new world order.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  6. billy_Spudd

    Wow! CNN let a person with a real American voice on the air....how did THAT HAPPEN????!!! Where were the shouting, ignorant, lying Zionist to shout him down and sing the praises of Israel? I am going to recommend as many friends as I can to view this interview. Brezinzski understands and voices what is a fundamental (and used to be commonly understood) principle in statesmanship. You look to your own best national interests FIRST and those interest of other nations that don't forward that, can go suck eggs.

    February 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  7. Nelson Smith

    As the international relations "genius" of the Carter administration, Brezinski produced some of the most disastrous foreign-policy decisions in the last 50 years . Why on earth would anyone care what he thinks? He was appeasing the Iranians in the 70s and is still doing it today. I appreciate Fareed's show when he has guests who can actually contribute something intellectual to a discussion. This long ago discredited hack needs to be teaching at a junior college.

    February 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  8. rcjinvegas

    Well Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) stooge Fareed Zakaria has put on another blatant CFR informercial. This week on Fareed Zakaria CFR we had Fareed Zakaria (CFR board member), Zbiniew Brzezinski (CFR member), David Stockman(CFR member) and Robert Reich (CFR member). CNN should be ashamed to put this scripted CFR claptrap on the air. It's absolute nonsense.

    February 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  9. Superman

    A one world democracy? First we need to eatablish world peace to accomplish this and how do we obtain world peace? Well there you have it war its not even going to happen in our time unless we FIGHT for it!! So if we want this dream we have to calm the middle east completly which means what? And then we can attain our goal of a one world democracy. Other wise, forget it

    February 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
  10. matt a.

    I might have preferred a short term world economic analysis rather than a long term, foggy speculative diagnosis.

    Let the economic collapse hits before offering preemptive prescriptions.

    February 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  11. krm1007

    There is no comparison between China and India. China is light years ahead of India in every aspect of the development life cycle. So referring to them in the same context is humorous at best. On the other hand, India's frame of reference should be Bangladesh and Burma.

    February 27, 2012 at 8:27 am | Reply
  12. Stopoilnow

    You are becoming irrelevant in discussions of Iran if the issue of the extreme Islamic theology is not even mentioned. Is it because you are a Muslim and you want to ignore that issue and your quest (Brzezinski) does not want to offend you? Iran’s Supreme Leader, a Mullah sees their mission as spreading Islam worldwide even by martyrdom. Your answer is to ignore the obvious, kick the can down the road, allow Iran to have nukes and Israel to trust a "shield" by America as a deterrent against an Iranian attack. Not even to talk about Iran's Islamic fundamentalism makes you as relevant as the white housewives in the movie "Help".

    February 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  13. Website Design Christchurch

    You can certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

    April 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Reply

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