Former hawk sees hope in Russia

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Zbigniew Brzezinski has evolved.

He’s a former Cold War hawk who detested the Soviet Union. And with good reason. He fled his native Poland for a new life in the United States when Poland was controlled by the Evil Empire.

He became a national security expert and joined President Carter’s inner circle as national security adviser. He feuded with doves within the president’s Cabinet, most notably Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who then quit because he’d grown tired of the internal strife.

What is Brzezinski’s take on Russia these days? He’s less wary of the Russians and sees them a possible partners.

There once was time when Zbig would have counseled reprisal against Russia for encroaching on the airspace of a U.S. ally, such as Turkey. The Turks shot down a Russian warplane recently and the Russians have responded with some economic sanctions against the Turks.

Brzezinski doesn’t see that as a deal-breaker with the Russians.

Politico asked the former cold warrior about how worried he is about the shooting down of the plane.

He responded: “These tensions are serious but not fatal. In some ways, if good sense and intelligence prevail, they could even prove to be salutary, not only for dealing with a nasty regional problem but addressing the potentially more generally destructive consequences of a global system dominated by three superpowers. ”

Man, he sounds rational and reasonable.

There’s more. He was asked to define “salutary.” He said: “I don’t think anyone thinks that escalating this dispute is worth a major conflict with truly destructive consequences. In early October, in a piece I wrote for the Financial Times, I urged an effort to engage Russia in serious negotiations about the future of the region. I think perhaps we may now be doing what needs to be done [in talks in Vienna], given the common threat inherent in the delicacy of the relations between the nuclear powers.”

Advancing years — and profound change in the world alignment of power — does produce wisdom.

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