From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
Zbigniew Brzezinski doesn't believe in speaking down to his audience.
The former national security advisor to Jimmy Carter introduced Obama at Ashford University in Iowa today, after decrying what he called the Bush administration's colonialist policies in a postcolonial world, adding the Administration had "used mendacity" to justify the war and that "it has discredited America as a whole."
For Brzezinski, 79, support for Obama means support for a radical change in direction of American foreign policy. But some argue Brzezisnski's support could hurt Obama, particularly with Jewish voters. The Politico today wrote Brzezinski came under fire this summer for an essay he wrote in the journal Foreign Policy, "defending a controversial new book about the power of the 'Israel Lobby' in American politics."
"The fact of the matter is that I'm part of the only administration that brought about peace between Israel and its neighbors," Brzezinski said in an interview with NBC News/National Journal in Iowa on the day Obama delivered his Iraq policy speech, which he said he did not have a direct hand in. "And so I'm proud of my record in the Middle East."
Talking of his support for Obama, Brzezinski evoked the mantle of former presidents Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy Jr. "What makes Obama attractive to me," he said, "is that he understands that we live in a very different world where we have to relate to a variety of cultures and peoples."
Brzezinski says that willingness to understand the subtext of culture allows for a more informed foreign policy that can create a comprehensive strategy in Iraq that is inclusive rather than delineating the region into those who are allies of the United States and those who are against it.
Obama's emphasis on speaking to foreign leaders could be echoes of Brzezinski viewpoints. Brzezinski emphasized the need to engage Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, to help stabilize Iraq. He dismissed the notion that leaving Iraq could leave it open to civil war and a wider sectarian conflict that could engulf the region, a fear that U.S. Amb. to Iraq Ryan Crocker alluded to in his testimony before the Senate yesterday.
"The administration is really putting American in the position of being a prisoner of uncertainty," he said. "We know the engagement is costly to us. We don't know what the consequences of disengagement will be, but the administration always says it will be the worst possible."
Brzezinski said Iran would be a partner in helping the situation in Iraq rather than the foe that the Bush administration claims it to be because it could face instability within its own borders if Iraq were to "blow up."
"If you look at the math," he said, "the overlap between Iran and Iraq, Iran has an enormous stake in Iraq not blowing up because it itself could blow up," he said.