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Remembering Carter adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski

May 27, 2017 at 6:01 PM EDT
President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has died at the age of 89. For the past four decades, he has remained an influential voice in U.S. foreign policy. The NewsHour Weekend's Megan Thompson has more on his legacy.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has died at the age of 89. For the past four decades, the Polish-born Brzezinski remained an influential voice in U.S. foreign policy. NewsHour Weekend’s Megan Thompson has more.

MEGAN THOMPSON: As President Carter’s national security adviser during the Cold War years, Zbigniew Brzezinski was seen as hawk and he managed crises from the Soviet Union to the Middle East.

In a statement today, former President Carter said, “He helped me set vital foreign policy goals, was a source of stimulation for the Departments of Defense and State, and everyone valued his opinion.”

In 1978, Brzezinski traveled to China to initiate talks that led to restoring full diplomatic relations with Beijing.

In 1979, after Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Brzezinski advocated arming Afghan rebels and backed the solidarity movement against Communist rule in his native Poland.

Brzezinski supported the military mission to rescue the 52 hostages held by radicals in Tehran. But it failed when aircraft crashed in the desert

Bard College professor Walter Russell Mead knew Brzezinski well.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Brzezinski’s ability to package his depth of insight and depth of vision into a form that worked in the foreign policy process was really an outstanding accomplishment.

MEGAN THOMPSON: After the White House years, Brzezinski wrote more than 30 books and was a mentor and a commentator. On the NewsHour in 2012, he discussed his book about a shift in global power with the NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown.

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Global power is becoming diffuse and no longer concentrated in the west or in the hands of the United States. There is no larger organizing vision for a world that for the first time needs to address global problems.

MEGAN THOMPSON: Former President Obama said of Brzezinski, “I was one of several presidents who benefited from his wisdom and counsel. His ideas and advocacy helped shape decades of American national security policy.”

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