The outgoing 2012 year was marked, among other things, by the publication of Zbigniew Brzezinski's book “Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power” (Strategic vision: America and the crisis of global power) . (1) The author is known, let's say, for his extremely caring attitude towards Russia. There is much debate about the extent of its influence on US policy - the assessments are directly opposite. However, there are indeed unmistakable criteria. Just look at the reasoning he regularly publishes, and then compare them with those or other actions of the US administration, especially with doctrinal documents of the US National Security Strategy some time later, and you can easily notice numerous direct influences. Sometimes the difference is only in style and that Brzezinski, who is not bound by official posts, formulates many of his thoughts much more directly and even cynically.
Anyway, the last book of Brzezinski can be boldly called a prelude, as it echoes the ideas of the prognostic report of the US National Intelligence Council “2030 Global Trends” (which we will have a separate discussion) later on. Some even liken this book to Churchill's famous Fulton speech. I must say that Brzezinski carefully reviewed the “Strategic Vision” introduced to the new US Secretary of State John Kerry, who wrote in a review of this work that “everyone who is interested in foreign policy must read it.”
The book "Strategic Vision" appeared exactly 15 years after another landmark book by Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard (American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives). Between these dates lies that period in stories The United States, which can be estimated as a devolution from global omnipotence to its rapid loss in many parameters that constitute the sovereign power. Recall that devolution (coagulation, regression) - the opposite of evolution (deployment, progress) - in English also means the transfer of power or authority. And in this sense, this term is the best suited to what Brzezinski describes. The main thing in his new book is not a statement of system errors, which led to a further weakening of the US position in the world, which is clear to many without Brzezinski, but recipes for the transfer of power to "someone" or "something" that is replacing the American leadership. Paraphrasing V.I. Lenin, who, as is known, considered Leo Tolstoy to be a “mirror of the Russian revolution,” Zbigniew Brzezinski should be called a “mirror of American devolution.” So, if you look at the arguments of Brzezinski from this point of view, you will find that there is no fundamental gap between Brzezinski 15-year-old and Brzezinski present and can not be. His ideas of delegating leadership to someone most often turn around the rationale for the need to preserve these powers for America, only without loud words and under a different sauce.
When the “Strategic Vision” only appeared, many, including in Russia, were quick to declare this work a complete rupture of Brzezinski with previous views expressed in the “Great Chessboard”, and he himself almost turned from “Saul” into “ Paul's. Brzezinski is allegedly speaking now for multipolarity and for the United States abandoning the role of "God-chosen hegemon in world politics," so that America does not repeat the fate of the USSR. Brzezinski, they say, no longer considers Russia a “black hole”, but advocates its inclusion in the West. However, a careful analysis of the two books shows their organic kinship and continuity with all the terminological mimicry. And then, and now, for Brzezinski, America is the “Colossus over the World,” and the upcoming multipolarity is an objective given that he cannot ignore and which he calls to adapt. At the same time, it is striking that the reasons for "American devolution", according to Brzezinski, are mainly subjective - the wrong decisions of the American administrations. And September 11, followed by the ill-considered and costly projection of US power, primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan, is perhaps the main reason for the weakening of American hegemony. It turns out that the terrorist attack on the twin towers is the most effective force operation in world history. Believing in the exclusive destiny of America, Brzezinski still cannot accept the truly visionary statement of another famous researcher Paul Kennedy, made by him as early as 1987 in the extensive study “The Rise and Fall of Great Powers”. (2) P. Kennedy convincingly proved then that, owing to the category of “imperial overheating” formulated by him, no state could and could never be a hegemon on the world stage for a long time. Already then, according to his estimates, the United States, along with the USSR, entered the phase of "imperial overheating", and their decline is inevitable, regardless of the will of certain politicians.
15 years ago, Brzezinski categorically argued that "over the next few decades, a truly functioning system of global cooperation can be created, built with the geopolitical reality in mind, which will gradually take on the role of an international regent capable of bearing the burden of responsibility for stability and peace in all the world. The geostrategic success achieved in this matter will properly legitimize the role of America as the first, the only and the last truly world superpower. ” (3) At the same time, America’s global primacy will directly depend on how long and effectively its superiority will be maintained on the Eurasian continent. (4)
Meanwhile, Brzezinski and then realized that before America as the leading power of the world is open only a narrow historical opportunity for the "constructive exploitation" of its status as a world power. This period, he admitted, may be relatively short. Democracy has never before achieved global supremacy. The pursuit of power, and especially economic costs and human sacrifice, which often requires the implementation of world power, as a rule, are incompatible with democratic societies. Democratic type of device prevents imperial mobilization. He believed that "a comprehensive and coordinated geostrategy with respect to Eurasia should be based on the recognition of the boundaries of America's effective influence and the inevitable narrowing of the scope of this influence over time." In the end, world politics will certainly become less and less characteristic of the concentration of power in the hands of one state. Consequently, "the United States is not only the first and only superpower on a truly global scale, but, most likely, the last."
And yet, in order not to miss this historical opportunity, Brzezinski called for America’s active intervention in the affairs of peace "with special attention to strengthening international geopolitical stability, which can revive a sense of historical optimism in the West." Therefore, now moaning over the “erroneous interventions”, he would be able to entrust himself and his appeals with a fair amount of responsibility, since all these actions were carried out under the pretext of “ensuring stability”.
The general meaning of his reasoning at that time was that America should achieve the status of “indispensable power” (which, in particular, former US President Bill Clinton, in particular, stated publicly), without whose leadership the world would be doomed to chaos. At the same time, Brzezinski referred to the works of another ruler of the thoughts of the American elite, Samuel Huntington, who wrote: "In a world where there is no supremacy of the United States, there will be more violence and disorder and less democracy and economic growth than in a world where the United States continues more influence global issues than any other country.The permanent international primacy of the United States is most important for the welfare and security of Americans and for the future of freedom, democracy, open omy and international order in the land. " (5)
Regarding Russia, Brzezinski in the “Chessboard” found words not just unflattering, but derogatory, calling it a “black hole” in the very center of Eurasia and suggesting that it would be better for it to split itself into at least three parts. However, the long-term task of the United States, formulated by him, did not exclude Russia entirely from a geographic map, but demanded “not to allow the revival of the Eurasian empire, which could hinder the implementation of the American geo-strategic goal of forming a larger Euro-Atlantic system, with which Russia could be firmly in the future securely connected. " (6)
At the same time, to the disappointment of the Russian admirers of Atlantism, Brzezinski expressed the firm conviction that any rapprochement with Russia on the issue of NATO expansion “should not lead to the actual transformation of Russia into a decision-making member of the alliance, which would diminish NATO’s special Euro-Atlantic nature, but time relegating to the position of second-rate countries newly admitted to the alliance of the state. " This, in his opinion, would open up for Russia the opportunity to renew its attempts "not only to regain lost influence in Central Europe, but also to use its presence in NATO to play on the American-European differences to weaken America's role in Europe."
In general, despite all the obstacles noted by him for the preservation of world hegemony for the USA, Brzezinski assigned to the “Chessboard” for this period, when hardly anyone would dispute America’s status as the first power in the world, more than 30 years, because “not a single A nation-state may not be able to equal America in four main aspects of power (military, economic, technical and cultural), which together determine the decisive political influence on a global scale. ”
(1) In a generally successful Russian translation, the title of the book is not translated in the best way: Brzezinski Zbigniew. “Strategic view: America and the global crisis”. M., Astrel, 2012.
(2), Vintage Books, NY, 1987.
(3) Brzezinski Zbigniew. Great chessboard. M., International Relations, 1998, p. 112.
(4) Ibid. S.18.
(5) Samuel P. Hantington. Who International Primacy Matters // International Security. - Spring 1993. - P. 83.
(6) Brzezinski Zbigniew. Great chessboard. M., International Relations, 1998, p. 48.
Slava M.S. Is Gorbachev infectious?
Half of the thirty-year thirty-year term of unbroken US domination in the world, exactly 15 years, allocated in the stage book of Zbignev Brzezinski, exactly 1 years, and now in the new book Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power, he stated the acceleration of the process of devolution of American power. Brzezinski admits that “overwhelming optimism” about the omnipotence of the United States did not last long. Consumer culture and economic deregulation led to a burst stock market bubble and a large-scale financial crisis. The wars of Bush-junior turned out to be ruinous for the country, even earlier - Clinton's Balkan adventures and the collapse of American foreign policy as a whole. “There is indeed an alarming similarity between the Soviet Union at the end of its days and America at the beginning of the 21st century,” notes Brzezinski ... (XNUMX) The balance of world forces began to shift steadily from West to East. Growing doubts about the viability of the American system strongly shaken the faith in this "prosperous legacy of the West." If "the American system loses its relevance in the eyes of the public, it may well overshadow the Chinese with its success."
And then throughout the whole book Brzezinski, noting the narrowing of the limits of the influence of the United States on many of the parameters of the sovereign power, seeks to show how bad will be humanity without their beneficial effects. The most likely danger arising from the dispersal of forces, he calls the "potential instability of the global hierarchy." Proceeding from this, he characterizes the entire coming period of international life as “post-American confusion”.
Especially he rests on the future "Asian rivalry", in which the troublemaker will be, above all, China. Brzezinski, declaring Asian countries as rivals resembling in some respects the European Atlantic countries of the era of colonial and then continental rivalry for geopolitical supremacy, is frightened that this rivalry "eventually resulted in two bloody world wars." (2)
Brzezinski warns that even though the West is still alive, "its global dominance is already in the past." To survive, the West must understand that its “place and role in a global context” will depend on the strength of the American system and the actions of America abroad. Its sunset carries the danger to the whole West. Brzezinski rather angrily condemns the European Union for not realizing this and not helping the United States to maintain its leadership. Too self-centered European Union, in his opinion, behaves as “as if its main political task is to become the world's most comfortable home for the elderly”. (3)
As for Brzezinski’s readiness to “include Russia in the expanded West”, it must be said that he does not see an equal partner with his interests in Russia. Russia rather acts in his role as a kind of geographical space, which is suitable for development, but in which even for the Russian supporters themselves such a “rapprochement” of the place under the sun may not be. Brzezinski frankly dreams of those times when "the weakening Russian presence in the Far East will receive an influx of new economic and demographic forces from the West." Vladivostok "may become a European city, while remaining a part of Russia." (4) With regard to the Russian Arctic and the opportunities opening there, Brzezinski argues in the chapter with the remarkable name “Alienated World Heritage”, expressing fear that Russia’s “seizure” of its share of wealth in the region could “provoke a serious bias in the geopolitical landscape” in its favor.
In this sense, with the exception of a more cautious choice of words, today's position of Brzezinski in relation to Russia is not much different from his own position, formulated by 15 years ago in the “Chessboard”. Russia almost everywhere appears to him as not a subject, but an object with which it is necessary to do something — to “join”, “engage”, “master”. He condemns the “Russian elite” for refusing to draw closer to NATO, but even against logic, he still warns against giving Russia full membership in the bloc, since “any step in this direction will contribute to the more familiar Russian task of weakening NATO”. (5)
In general, the irrational desire to prick Russia more painfully leads Brzezinski to sometimes absolutely paradoxical, clearly below the bar of such a thinker. He, in particular, writes about the historical weakness of Russia, whose victories stemmed ostensibly mainly due to the mistakes of others, in this example. “Do not attack Napoleon on Russia in 1812, it is unlikely that Russian troops would enter Paris in 1815”. (6) The question is, why would they go there at all?
Sometimes Brzezinski's cynicism still “rolls over”. For example, he derived a group of states that he called "geopolitical analogues of endangered biological species." (7) They say that they will certainly disappear if the United States does not want or can no longer fulfill its obligations to them. It is characteristic that in the first place among such endangered states he put Georgia, then Taiwan. The list also included Belarus and Ukraine. It is not difficult to notice the suggestive meaning of such allegations, imposing wariness on these states against Russia.
In general, a kind of inversion takes place in the “Strategic Vision”, when in words Brzezinski seems to be abandoning the previous concepts of “American hegemony” and “world leadership”, but the new definitions introduced by him essentially aim at the same thing. The future “double”, as he writes, the role of America Brzezinski sees in that “it must become a conductor and guarantor of expanded unity in the West, and at the same time a peacemaker and intermediary between the major powers of the East”. (8)
At the same time, evidence of the need to preserve the leadership of the United States, albeit in a new shell, is based on the fact that there is no power in the world capable of becoming in their foreseeable and long-term perspective. It probably is. What Brzezinski does not want to understand or accept, oddly enough, is the possibility of building a democratic system of international relations without clearly defined leadership states.
The assertion that without the mentoring of America, the rest of humanity will become entangled in contradictions and “disappear” is untenable for obvious reasons. In many regional conflicts and global problems, America’s role is more destructive than stabilizing. For example, the key issue for the situation in the entire Middle East is the Palestinian-Israeli settlement has not been resolved for decades, primarily because of the obstructionist position of Washington. The international community has long developed and agreed upon a fairly solid foundation of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Everyone understands that it is only the White House. The crisis in the Afghan-Pakistani zone, seizing the whole of Central and South Asia, is also a consequence of US imperial ambitions. Desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction by a whole series of states, does it not come from the fact that there is a completely distinct threat to their independence on the part of American “civilizers”? The programs of re-equipment of many powers, including Russia and China, are not due to the fact that the expansion of American bases and the formation of formal and informal military alliances directed against them, as well as the construction of all kinds of missile shields, continue along the perimeter of their borders? What is the main obstacle to the implementation of the Kyoto protocols on greenhouse gas emissions? US position. The same can be said about many other vital world problems.
Turning these problems one by one, it is easy to see that without the intervention of the United States they could be solved much more successfully. Where does all this absurd opinion come from, that without Americans, all of humanity will certainly rush into a war of all against all in accordance with the Huntington Doctrine? On the contrary, taking on the mission of a mediator and gendarme in all regional conflicts, Washington objectively becomes a party interested in their eternal non-extinguishing, for it is only in this way that it can continue to claim the role of "indispensable power" with all the benefits arising from this status. Old as the world, the imperial principle of "divide and conquer" is most convenient to implement it in this situation. We dare to say that America, of course, is not a “black hole” and will not disappear from a geographic map, but at the same time, without its annoying desire to interfere in everything and manage all the processes on the planet, the rest of mankind decided more peacefully and peacefully there would be many old disputes. Much points to the fact that the future does not have to be chaotic at all, but can be organized on the principles of a “concert of great powers,” filled up by new members as they mature. The real task of “American devolution” should have been done, as far as possible, in making America “equal among equals”. However, Brzezinski is naturally infinitely far from such a goal, as well as bye, and in general the American elites. Therefore, it can be expected that the processes described by him will be extremely painful both for America itself and for the rest of the world.
And one more is striking - the recipes offered by Brzezinski for the recovery of America itself. It's just some kind of deja vu. It seems that one of his consultants was none other than Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. Brzezinski articulates the need for restructuring and renewal in America, calls for new thinking, the mobilization of deeply rooted spiritual forces of society, although he previously noted the absence of this ability as one of the reasons for the future weakening of the country. Unless about publicity yet speaks. Is this not another sign that the United States is indeed in the position of the late Soviet Union? Such helpless appeals in themselves reflect the depth of the systemic crisis in which not only America, but also its intellectual elite found themselves.
(1) Brzezinski Zbigniew. “Strategic view: America and the global crisis”. M., Astrel, 2012, s.9.
(2) Ibid. S.33.
(3) Ibid. S.56.
(4) Ibid. S.234.
(5) Ibid. S.222.
(6) Ibid. S.212.
(7) Ibid. S.136.
(8) Ibid. S.276.