In an interview, Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of America’s leading strategists, discusses shifting global power, looking at China, Europe, Turkey, Russia, the US, and the Arab Spring.
Michael Bonfigli / The Christian Science Monitor/File
Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of America’s leading strategists, was national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter. His just published book is “Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.” He spoke on Friday with Global Viewpoint Network editor Nathan Gardels.
Nathan Gardels: The core of your strategic vision for the future is of a “larger West” comprised of democratic powers that accommodates China. Yet the West, starting with the US, is in a period of political decay.
As you have noted, while China focuses on the long term and plots out its future, the US in particular is beset with a short-term mentality. In effect, we are no longer an “industrial democracy” in the strict sense, but a “consumer democracy” where all the feedback signals – the market, the media, and politics – are short-term and geared to immediate gratification.
Doesn’t that give China the competitive advantage of political capacity in the times ahead?
Zbigniew Brzezinski: Obviously so.
Gardels: How can America’s short-term mentality be changed? Are the West’s political institutions up to the challenge?
Brzezinski: Yes, if we develop a more effective and longer-range response to the current crisis instead of simply wallowing in the present difficulties – which is likely to further produce the same negative effects that got us into this mess. We are so preoccupied with the current crisis and so lacking in a longer-term perspective that we have no strategic vision which would give us some sense of historical momentum.
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