Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council

By Karl F. Inderfurth; Loch K. Johnson | Go to book overview
Save to active project

19
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI

Dom Bonafede

The national security adviser in the Carter Administration, Zbigniew Brzezinski became
an active public advocate for a range of foreign policy initiatives, competing at times (a
la Kissinger) with the secretary of state for the job of spokesman for the United Nations in
its international affairs.

U.S. foreign policy had been dominated so long by Henry A. Kissinger that when President Carter appointed Zbigniew Brzezinski as his assistant for national security affairs last January, it was inevitable that comparisons would be made. And they have been, to the possible disservice of both Kissinger and Brzezinski, who despite their common credentials as foreign-born intellectuals with impressive academic credits, served different Presidents in different times.

Yet the specter of Kissinger, who shuttled across the world stage for eight years on errands of personal diplomacy, was unlikely to vanish quickly and Brzezinski, aware of the savagery of academic, press and political critics, was too smart and cautious, as his tour of duty began, to subject himself to premature analogies. For the most part he stayed in the shadows of the presidency. Furthermore, Carter had set down a commandment that foreign policy would be directed from the Oval Office, albeit with the cooperative assistance of a triumvirate composed of Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, Defense Secretary Harold Brown and Brzezinski, director of the National Security Council (NSC).

Now, after nine months, there are signs that Brzezinski is coming out of the shadows and into the light, confident of his position among the architects and executors of Carter's foreign policy and of the role established by the White House-based NSC staff. He has survived the early months of the Administration without a glove being laid on him by pedagogical combatants who do their verbal brawling in ivy-covered faculty clubs.

During a recent interview, Brzezinski conceded he had been purposely keeping a low profile. "When I first came here, I operated under a cloud of suspicion that I would use this office to undercut either the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense," he said. "I have no intention of so doing and I've said so from the very beginning. But I was sensitive to the fact that if I started running around being the object of numerous interviews and television programs, that this impression would be abetted and people would simply thrive on it…. Moreover, I do think that "in avoiding this", I can be more effective in influencing what is of central importance, namely the direction of things."

Influencing the direction of things, subtly and discreetly, and not in the flashy style of Kissinger, is indeed Brzezinski's raison d'etre as Carter's in-house foreign policy adviser. Notwithstanding his brief spell at the White House, Brzezinski already has revised his notion of what his function should be. Prior to taking over the NSC staff, he said that he would give the President advice only when asked and that he did not visualize himself as a policy maker. He saw his role, he said, as being mainly that of an operational line officer. Possibly, Brzezinski made the remark because he held an innocent view of his forthcoming role, but that seems inconceivable considering his background as a

From Dom Bonafede, "Brzezinski—Stepping Out of His Backstage Role," National Journal (October 14, 1977): 1596–1601.

Dom Bonafede was a reporter for the National Journal in Washington, D.C.

-194-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 378

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.