Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor to President Carter, strongly criticized Newt Gingrich’s statements on Palestine and gave Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s job performance a positive review during an interview on WAMU 88.5 and NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show today.
Brzezinski, a counselor and trustee at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and foreign policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, visited the program to discuss his new book, Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.
Asked what his thoughts were on presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s claim that Palestinians are an “invented people,” Brzezinski told Rehm: “As I recall, Newt Gingrich justified his employment with Fannie Mae by saying that he’s a historian. I don’t think that statement of his regarding the Palestinians enhances his qualifications as a historian, so perhaps Fannie Mae ought to ask for a refund.”
Also in today’s interview, Brzezinski offered his assessment of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s management of foreign policy:
“I’m quite impressed by her performance. I think it’s impressive, it’s energetic, and it’s intelligent. And, of course, in a way, that summarizes her. She’s intelligent, energetic, effective. So I think she does a very good job. I have no doubt the overall philosophy of the administration is shaped by the president, and I think that’s the way it ought to be in our system. But I think she is a very loyal colleague assistant to the president, and her performance internationally is really effective. She talks well, she articulates well, she has good instincts, so I am high on her.”
Brzezinski also pushed back against criticism by a caller to the show of the Carter administration’s role in the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which resulted in the removal of the Shah of Iran.
“The Shah was removed by the Iranians. Actually, if you read the record, you would notice that I actually favored crushing the opposition and I talked to the Shah about that, and then told the Shah ‘crush it, and then move toward wide-ranging reforms.’ He didn’t have the guts to do it. He left the country. A lot of Iranians … fled instead of staying and opposing Khomeini. Khomeini took over. I think this was a big disaster, first of all, for Iran, but also for us. But the United States didn’t have the obligation to save Iran if Iranians like the caller were not prepared to do it themselves.”
Audio and a full transcript of today’s conversation will be available online by 5 p.m. ET: http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-01-26/zbigniew-brzezinski-strategic-vision-america-and-crisis-global-power