To: bruce laingen , Harrison Symmes , "Robert V. Keeley" , Ed Kane
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 16:22:27 -0500
Subject: Zbig's Remarks
Richard Parker wrote:
> You may find useful the following text of Zbigniew Brzezinski's 's remarks
> to the Middle East
> Institute banquet on November 7. As far as I know this has received no play
> in the press, but
> it is a good speech and well worth reading. Members of he Academy mght be in
> tereeted in receiving it.
> > Thank you very much, Ambassador Walker, Your
> > Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. Fifteen years after winning the Cold
> > War, America’s
> > leadership role in the world today, in my view, is in serious
> > jjeopardy. If we look around the world, in different parts of that
> > world, regions are beginning to think increasingly of their own
> > collectiive self-interest while quietly detaching themselves
> > from their close connection ? in some cases, organic connection ? with
> > the United States. This is happening in the Far East, where
> > the beginnings of an Asian community of interests is taking shape and
> > doesn’t see itself as doing that on a trans-Pacific basis
> > but on an Asian basis.
> > In a more subtle way in Europe, the sense of
> > European identity, over the years so closely tied to a
> > shared sense of mission with the United States, is less and less being
> > defined on a transatlantic basis and more in terms of a European
> > role in the world. In the last few days the president of the United
> > States was in Latin America. I don’t think I need to elaborate
> > on the kind of issues that arose in the course of his visit.
> > The fact is that for anyone seriously concerned
> > with the large global picture and America’s place in it, we are today
> > facing a serious crisis of American credibility, of American
> > legitimacy and ? it pains me particularly to say ? of American morality.
> > I think that cumulatively has implications for our
> > long-term security.
> > All of that is very much at work particularly in
> > the Middle East. Our response in the Middle East after 9-11 in many
> > respects has been the catalyst for these, in my view, serious
> > trends. After the terrorist attack , and I emphasize, a
> > criminal terrorist attack , on the United States, instead of isolating
> > our enemies our policies have tended to generate support for them,
> > particularly because of the enlargement of the sphere of conflict by our
> > own decisions. Instead of discrediting publicly the
> > chief propagator of terrorism, our emphasis on his proclamation of the
> > jihad has elevated his status in the eyes of many people to
> > that of a prophet.
> > Instead of mobilizing Muslim moderates on our side,
> > some of our officials in their public statements have come close to
> > using Islamophobic terminology, particularly in their
> > insistence always on identifying the terrorists as Islamic terrorists.
> > We don’t dothat when we talk of IRA terrorism in Northern
> > Ireland. We don’t go around saying it’s Catholic terrorism. We don’t do
> > it when we talk of the Basques in northern Spain. We don’t
> > say this is Catholic terrorism. Unfortunately the use of these
> > over-archimg adjectives tends to create a subconscious
> > identification of those people who see themselves as Muslims or
> > Islamists with those who are being identified. That is the way the
> > psychological mechanism works. This is why we don’t call the IRA
> > terrorists Catholics.
> > Occasionally we will even go further than that. We have
> > talked, at very high levels, of a crusade. We have talked aboutwaging a
> > war against an Islamic caliphate. We have even referred to
> > Islamo-fascism. This is not helpful.
> Worse than that, I think it is posing the danger
> > of the United States gradually sliding into a lonely American war against
> > world of Islam. That is to be avoided. It’s not in our interest. It’s not
> > the interest> of the world of Islam. It certainly is not inevitable. But
> it is
> > happening and one has to think about the implications of that seriously.
> > In my view, it follows that a course correction isneeded in
> > our policy, in our posture. Not a change in our commitments, not a change
> in our
> > traditional values, not a change in our sense of obligation to those who
> > maybe threatened or insecure, but a course correction in the way we
> > our affairs.
> > Let me suggest to you four changes , course corrections, if
> > you will , which I think are desirable, starting first with the easiest
> and then
> > going on from there.
> > The first can be put quite simply: watch your language. Avoid
> > religious connotations. Don’t undertake rhetoric that has the effect of
> > political grievances with religious fanaticism. Both exist ; political
> grievances exist and
> > so does religious fanaticism. But it is not in our interest to facilitate
> > process of fusing the two.
> > Let us avoid semantic traps which limit our freedom
> > of action and which create uncertainty as to what our true objectives
> > are. No one in America opposes democracy anywhere,
> > including in the Middle East. Everyone in America favors democracy,
> > including in the Middle East. But it should not be a codeword for
> > destabilizing regimes for this or that reason unrelated, in fact,
> > to the cause of democracy. It should not be a codeword for avoiding
> > the real problems. The vice president speaking
> > such a long time ago in Davos at the annual meeting made it
> > very clear that, in his view, peace in the Middle East between the
> > Israelis and the Arabs could only take place once there is
> > democracy in the region. When reasonably can we expect that to be the
> > case? If so, does it mean that peace is deferred until then? Or
> > does it mean that the quest of democracy is so accelerated that in fact
> > nilly-willy , but perhaps willy , it becomes in fact the codeword for
> > destabilization?
> > What we say counts. It doesn’t help for the country that has
> > been the principal symbol of freedom, legitimacy and morality
> > in our very troubled age now to be saying to the world, as
> > so often we have in the last several years, “if you’re not with us,
> > you’re against us.” That has been said so many times,
> > scores of times. I’ve run it through the computer just to see how often
> > a particular individual in the US government has used that
> > phrase. I often wonder whether he himself knows who the original author
> > of that phrase was. Those of you who are not historians of
> > Marxism-Leninism may not be aware of the fact that that phrase was
> > coined by Vladimir Lenin to justify the elimination by the
> > Bolsheviks of their Social Democrat rivals. “Since they were not with
> > us, they were against us, and therefore they should be
> > eliminated.”
> > So my first admonition simply in changing course,
> > in a course adjustment, is watch your language.
> > The second is a little more specific and concrete.
> > It is that the United States should become more specific about the
> > destination of the Roadmap for the Israeli-Palestinian peace.
> > There is no benefit in a process that perpetuates the conflict,
> > intensifies mutual suspicions, reinforces the presumption that the
> > other side is always going to cheat and is determined to outmaneuver the
> > other side while moving on the road to this unknown
> > destination.
> > So, we should be more specific. I strongly believe
> > that clarity by the United States on this subject would help the peace
> > process, would help to mobilize the majorities among the
> > Israelis and Palestinians in favor of peace by clarifying what peace
> > would really involve. Not in any great detail, but at least by
> > codifying the key responses to the most fundamental issues. In fact, a
> > lot of them already exist. Some of them are part of the record.
> > But they haven’t been jointly codified in a clear and politically
> > compellin fashion.
> > The president, in his letter of a year or so ago to
> > Prime Minister Sharon, in fact did address two key elements in saying
> > that a final peace solution will involve no comprehensive
> > right of return and no return automatically to the 1967 lines. Much as
> > it may be difficult for the Palestinians to swallow that,
> > that in fact is a realistic statement. It is difficult to imagine a
> > viable solution which would not include these two principles.
> > But the president also earlier this year, speaking
> > jointly in the Rose Garden in the presence of President Abbas, stated
> > that any changes in the 1967 lines ? to which there will be
> > no automatic return ? have to be by mutual consent. Mutual consent,
> > which tends to rule out unilateral changes or their
> > imposition. And that the Palestinian state needs to be a viable state
> > with contiguity, which implies something significant on the Israeli
> > settlements.
> > Hence, all that is missing from a truly open and
> > forthright codification that becomes a compelling definition of the
> > ultimate destination is the statement that territorial
> > compensation will have to be part of the arrangement for territorial
> > changes, since they are going to be by mutual consent anyway, and that
> > a formula for the sharing of Jerusalem has to be part of the eventual
> > outcome. Ultimately everybody knows that this is
> > the necessary collection or the codified definition of the ultimate
> > process. But the point is that, if it is on the table, it
> > becomes more difficult either to seek an imposed solution or indeed to
> > maintain a position of quietly abetting violence as a way of derailing
> > the Roadmap. So peace would benefit from it and would certainly help to
> > address one of the major issues in the region that
> > has contributed to a high level of political emotions, to political
> > grievances, to intense resentments.
> > The third step that is needed, which is even
> > perhaps more difficult, is for the United States to clarify the options
> > for Iran so that the Iranians themselves know ? and even more
> > importantly their publics know ? that Iran faces a basic choice, either
> > of persisting and damaging isolation ? indeed, eventually
> > self-isolation ? or the benefits of beneficial inclusion in the
> > international community.
> > Our policy toward Iran is a combination of
> > abstinence from serious engagement in dealing with the problem and
> > intensely hostile rhetoric, which has the effect of intensifying
> > political insecurity on the part of the ruling elite ? but worse than
> > that, of creating the fusion between Islamic fundamentalism and Iranian
> > nationalism. We talk about regime change. We talk about rogue state. We
> > talk about criminal activities. All of that intensifies
> > the insecurity of the rulers while arousing the patriotism of the
> > masses, whereas inrecent years there was an obvious tendency for an
> > evolutionary change, which separated particularly the younger generation
> > from the ruling mullahs.
> > Worse than that, we’re not seriously engaged in
> > dealing with the nuclear problem. I invite you to think of another
> > country, which in our elegant political rhetoric was also included
> > in the designation “axis of evil.” Iran of course was one of them, but
> > North Korea was the other. What have we been doing toward
> > North Korea? We have been participating in multilateral discussions
> > regarding the challenge that North Korea poses in
> > the nuclear area. We have been actively participating with the South
> > Koreans,the Japanese, the Russians, the Chinese, and last
> > but not least, the North Koreans themselves. We have been sitting around
> > the table negotiating with them. We categorically
> > refuse to do that with the Iranians. We want the French, the British and
> >the Germans to do that.
> > But that’s not all. After refusing to do so for
> > quite a long time, in addition to engaging in multilateral negotiations
> > with the North Koreans we are simultaneously conducting bilateral
> > negotiations with the North Koreans. Despite their apparent membership
> > in the axis of evil, we’re negotiating with them
> > directly. We wouldn’t dream of doing that with the Iranians, on the
> > grounds that it might, according to one of our top officials,
> > “legitimate the regime.” I do not know whether we have now decided to
> > legitimate the North Korean regime or not, but somehow or
> > other that does not prevent us from engaging in a bilateral dialogue in
> > order to reinforce the seriousness of the multilateral
> > dialogue.
> > Thirdly, with the North Koreans, both in the
> > multilateral setting and the bilateral setting, we are implicitly
> > committed to being direct participants in any quid pro quo that
> > emerges from the negotiating process ? if it does. That is to say, if
> > there is an arrangement that is mutually beneficial, there will
> >be North Korean concessions of the kind that we desire regarding their
> > nuclear arsenal and there will be benefits flowing to North
> >Korea ? not just from the Chinese or the South Koreans or the Russians
> > or the Japanese, but also from us. That is simply out
> > of the question in our position toward Iran.
> > Hence, I am sorry to say that our policy toward
> > Iran is part of the problem that we confront today in the Middle East.
> > It really is not a policy. It’s a posture. A posture by itself
> > does not often lead to desirable consequences. We need to do more than
> > that and we can. I would think that our approach towards
> > North Korea is the way we ought to be dealing with Iran, and in the long
> >run that in my view has the highest probability of
> > eventually creating a separation between the aspirations of the younger
> > generation of Iranians and the fundamentalism of the present
> > regime. Don’t forget, Iran is a country with an ancient history, a
> > serious culture, a sense of historical self-worth, highly
> > educated, with more women in universities than men and with women
> > playing important roles in the professions, and one of them> recently
> winning the Nobel Prize for Peace. It is not a country that you cansimply
> define away with some sort of label.
> > The fourth task that confronts us and which in my
> > judgment calls for a course correction is the most difficult at all. I
> > believe we
> > need in our interest ? in our urgent self-interest
> > ? a serious scaling-down of the definition of expected success in Iraq.
> > We need
> > then to act accordingly on it, and preferably
> > sooner rather than later.
> > We need to redefine what success in Iraq means.
> > That definition until now has been a viable, democratic state, secular,
> > embracing
> > our values, sharing our unique love of freedom,
> > which others apparently find difficult to partake. The Iraqis are
> > expected to make
> > that leap soon and we are going to see an Iraqi
> > state that’s a genuine democracy, a viable united state in which the
> > different key
> > components cooperate in it on the basis of a truly
> > successful self-determination.
> > That strikes me as not a very realistic objective.
> > If convinced that the situation on the ground is actually improving ?
> > which I’m
> > not ? it follows from it that we better face that
> > reality sooner rather than later. That we better undertake an analysis
> > of the
> > relationship between costs and benefits and the
> > costs are certainly rising ? in blood, in money and in our international
> > standing.
> > Do we really have a solid basis for concluding that
> > the situation will improve? Certainly the evidence until now does not
> > support
> > that. There were incidentally far-sighted people
> > even before the war who warned about it. Let me read you a couple of
> > passages
> > from what I thought was a very perceptive and
> > prescient analysis of the crisis in Iraq prepared by the U.S. Army War
> > College
> > just before the war started.
> > “Long-term gratitude is unlikely and suspicion of
> > US motives will increase as the occupation continues. A force initially
> > viewed
> > as liberators can rapidly be relegated to the
> > status of invaders should an unwelcome occupation continue for prolonged
> > time.
> > Occupation problems may be especially acute if the
> > United States must implement the bulk of the occupation itself rather
> > than
> > turn those duties over to a postwar international
> > force.”
> > The case goes on to argue, “After the first year,
> > the possibility of a serious uprising may increase should severe
> > disillusionment
> > set in and Iraqis begin to draw parallels between
> > US actions and historical examples of western imperialism.”
> > In my view, if we leave sooner rather than later,
> > perhaps after the full adoption of the constitution and the referendum
> > and
> > elections, we still have a high chance of having a
> > relatively viable Iraqi state, dominated by a Shi’ite-Kurd coalition to
> > which the
> > Sunnis will have to adjust given the enormous
> > imbalance of power between the two sides. But the longer we stay, the
> > less likely
> > that conflict within Iraq is likely to be resolved
> > because we’re not staying there in sufficient force to crush it
> > entirely, but we are
> > staying there in sufficient force to let it
> > percolate and percolate and percolate. As a result, we see the
> > intensification of two
> > conflicts: a sectarian conflict between the
> > Shi’ites and the Sunnis and a nationalist reaction against the external,
> > alien occupying
> > force.
> > The art of statesmanship is at some moment to cut
> > the Gordian knot. To me, the war in Iraq has the closest analogy to what
> > France faced in the war in Algeria. General de
> > Gaulle had the stature to face that. I think it’s in our interest that
> > we do so.
> > But I want to end by saying that none of those four
> > corrective steps stands on its own feet. All four of them have to be
> > pursued
> > at the same time. A single one will not resolve our
> > dilemmas. A single one will not diminish the threat. A single one will
> > not end
> > the kind of volatile dynamic that is at work in
> > this very large and historically important and economically important
> > and
> > geopolitically important region. That is the
> > challenge that we face. The recognition of the interconnection between
> > the need for
> > course corrections in several domains is only
> > likely to happen if the decision-making process is open and not closed,
> > if it doesn’t
> > operate in a narrow group-thinking in which
> > conviction becomes dogmatism, in which simple slogans substitute for
> > reason.
> > So this is the reason why I share these concerns
> > with you. This is why I offer these remedies, because I think we are at
> > a stage in
> > which the challenge of statesmanship but also of
> > civic responsibility is to raise these issues with a sense of genuine
> > gravity and
> > with a sense of urgency about the need for a
> > serious course correction.
> > Thank you.