Published in partnership with MintPress News.
UNITED NATIONS — President Barack Obama’s remarks to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 28 defensively addressed critics of U.S. foreign policy:
“It is not a conspiracy of U.S.-backed NGOs that expose corruption and raise the expectations of people around the globe; it’s technology, social media, and the irreducible desire of people everywhere to make their own choices about how they are governed.”
Yet it is no secret that the CIA and the National Endowment for Democracy have been funding dissidents and violent protest movements around the world for the past five decades, hoping to create instability and regime change. And although Zbigniew Brzezinski was not mentioned by name at the recent U.N. General Assembly, the shadow of the 87-year-old global strategist was cast over the body’s proceedings. As the U.S. and its allies attempted to defend or gloss over the existence of the policies that have become Brzezinski’s legacy, rising opponents of the United States around the world loudly castigated them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin compared U.S. foreign policy under the Obama administration to that of the former Soviet Union, saying: “It seemed, however, that far from learning from others’ mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them, and so the export of revolutions, this time of so-called democratic ones, continues.”
He described the results of U.S. support for so-called “revolutionaries” in Libya and Syria:
Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life. I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation: do you realize now what you’ve done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that.
Drugs, Saudi money, and CIA revolutions
Zbigniew Brzezinski’s ascent to the height of power as a crafter of U.S. foreign policy can be largely attributed to the U.S. defeat at the hands of the National Liberation Front of Vietnam. After years of bombing and war that killed millions of Vietnamese people, along with over 58,000 U.S. military fatalities, the U.S. was forced to withdraw from Southeast Asia. In light of this historic defeat, the strategy of all-out war — with B-52 bombers, napalm, and troop deployment, utilized in the Korean and Vietnamese conflicts — was reconsidered.
During his presidency, Jimmy Carter pardoned those who had fled to Canada to avoid military conscription, welcomed Chinese President Deng Xiaoping for an extended tour of the country, and attempted to present a new image of U.S. society to the world. During his presidential campaign, Carter described himself as a student of Brzezinski’s, and he later welcomed the well-known Polish-American strategist to the White House as his chief adviser.
Brzezinski’s strategy consisted of utilizing the CIA in place of the Pentagon, and creating instability and chaos to topple governments that defied Washington. As Russian President Putin recently noted, Brzezinski consciously worked to copy the rhetorical style and foreign policing messaging of the Soviet Union, and portray the United States, not as imperialist, but as “aiding revolutionaries” who fought for “human rights.”
Brzezinski directed the Carter administration to adopt the strategies he had pushed for within the Johnson administration and other presidencies throughout the Cold War. He bragged in a 1998 interview that he created “the Afghan trap” for the Soviet Union, funding violent religious insurgents to battle the People’s Democratic Party when it took power in Afghanistan.
In order to make U.S. support for the Afghan forces less obvious, Saudi Arabia was utilized as a middle man. A wealthy Saudi construction firm heir named Osama bin Laden became a key organizer of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, quietly taking U.S. money and weapons while loudly denouncing the “decadence” of Western society and calling for a return to Salafist Islamic society.
Unlike the Vietnam War, U.S. efforts to destabilize and eventually depose the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan were widely popular around the world. This can be credited to the efforts of U.S. media. It was documented by the New York Post and the Columbia Journalism Review that CBS News went so far as to air fake battle footage boosting the image of mujahadeen. Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, the first U.S. journalists granted permission to enter Afghanistan after 1979, described the coverage of the Afghan war in Western media as a “Ramboesque struggle of holy warriors against the evil empire.” The less romantic and glamorous aspects of the war, like 2 million deaths and 6 million people fleeing the country as refugees, were ignored.
Most of the leftists who had protested the Vietnam War in the U.S. and Europe were attracted to the romantic Che Guevara-esque image of “holy warriors” in the Afghan mountains. Meanwhile, the minority of radicals who denounced the mujahedeen were labelled “Stalinists” and “Soviet apologists.” With the excuse of “Soviet aggression in Afghanistan,” Carter was able to reinstate draft registration for young men across the U.S., boycott the 1980 Olympic Games, and increase military spending.
Speaking to MintPress News, Sara Flounders, co-director of former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center, noted that U.S. intervention in Afghanistan was not, as is widely believed, a response to Soviet action, saying: “It should be remembered that Brzezinski bragged that U.S. intervention pre-dated Soviet’s 1979 assistance to the Afghan government.”
When asked about whether he regretted aligning with bin Laden, Brzezinski replied:
“That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”
Brzezinski was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981, and continued to play a prominent role in setting U.S. foreign policy during the Reagan administration. During this period, the U.S. continued Carter’s Afghan policy, and also supported the violent insurgents who battled against the Sandinistas. U.S.-aligned media portrayed the CIA-trained forces in Nicaragua as “freedom fighters” as they slaughtered entire villages. Saudi Arabia again functioned as the “middle man,” transferring money and weapons to U.S.-aligned anti-government fighters in Nicaragua.
“The extension of Brzezinski’s murderous policies of massive destabilization, arming reactionary religious mercenaries and warlords, and inflaming sectarian, tribal and cultural differences in Afghanistan is now standard U.S. policy,” Flounders observed.
Another tactic utilized for Brzezinski’s projects in Nicaragua and Afghanistan was the trafficking of narcotics. Heroin poppy fields sprouted up across Afghanistan, and cocaine was processed through Central America. It is widely proven that U.S. intelligence was involved in securing their allies’ ability to participate in the drug trade in order to generate additional funding, and further destabilize Afghanistan and Nicaragua.
Brzezinski’s continuing impact on Central America and Afghanistan is by no means small. Though poppy fields were suppressed by the Taliban during the 1990s, since the 2002 U.S. invasion, Afghanistan has become the heroin capital of the world. U.S.-aligned countries in Latin America such as Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras remain plagued by the “narcos” and violence surrounding the drug trade, carried out almost exclusively with U.S.-made or -imported weapons. Further, Flounders noted, “In the past 35 years these divide and rule tactics have created millions of refugees in Central and Western Asia and North Africa.”
Beyond Latin America and Central Asia, Brzezinski advised the CIA and its National Endowment for Democracy as it went to work in Eastern Europe, courting alienated youth. The National Endowment for Democracy was created in 1983, as Gerald Sussman of Portland State University explained in his study of the organization: “Unlike the CIA, NED’s extensive operations abroad create opportunities for political operatives who need not assume underground lives and identities.” The NED functions as a private entity, though its actions are completely directed by the CIA, and it works to promote the economic interests of U.S. corporations.
Under Brzezinski’s direction, young artists and writers who criticized the socialist Warsaw Pact governments were funded and promoted, escalating alienation as part of a process that eventually culminated in bringing down governments. The result was economic ruin in most of Eastern Europe, as somewhat stable Marxist-Leninist regimes were replaced by the rule of organized crime, and the rise of drugs and sex trafficking under new pro-Western regimes. Under the control of Western banking institutions, the standard of living rapidly dropped throughout Eastern Europe during the 1990s.
The instability and extreme poverty resulting from Brzezinski’s policies does not end with the destruction of the targeted “rogue state.” It continues indefinitely, ensuring that no stable source of opposition to Western economic dominance can emerge.
Brzezinskism in the 21st Century?
Brzezinski’s tactic of heavily funding and arming anti-government forces and then promoting them in international media with rhetoric about “human rights” is now a permanent staple of U.S. foreign policy. Governments that dare maintain economic and political independence from the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund are routinely targeted by U.S.-directed “human rights organizations” and NGOs, such asFreedom House Inc. and the Albert Einstein Institute, among others. While labor unions in the U.S. grow weaker and face less legal protections, funding from the U.S. props up anti-government labor unions in defiant regimes across the world.
As has been extensively documented by WikiLeaks, the U.S. has spent billions of dollars on funding anti-government fighters in Syria, as have the U.S.-aligned regimes in the region. Religious extremists from as far away as Malaysia have found their way to Syria and joined the anti-government killing spree. The result is a global refugee crisis and humanitarian disaster that has left over 250,000 dead, as money and weapons continue to flow over the Turkish and Jordanian borders.
Libya is in a state of ruin since the U.S. and NATO bombed the country in the name of supporting a U.S.-funded and armed group of “revolutionaries.” It has been revealed that U.S. intelligence forces have been working with Jundallah terrorists to destabilize Iran, in addition to the existing relationship between U.S. officials and the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran. (Also known as the MEK in its Persian acronym, it was recently delisted by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.)
Like the Russian President, Cuban President Raul Castro touched on Brzezinskism in his U.N. remarks, saying:
The militarization of cyberspace, and the covert and illegal use of information and communications technologies to attack other states is unacceptable, as likewise is the distortion of the advancement and protection of human rights used with a selective and discriminatory approach to justify and impose political decisions.
He was likely referring to the recently exposed U.S.-funded plot to create a Cuban version of Twitter to coordinate anti-government protests.
During his recent visit to the U.S., Chinese President Xi Jinping defended China’s new laws restricting the activities of foreign-backed NGOs, saying: “So long as their activities are beneficial to the Chinese people, we will not restrict or prohibit their operations… On their part, foreign NGOs in China need to obey Chinese law and carry out activities in accordance with the law.”
In his U.N. remarks, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro channeled his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, by offering bold condemnation of U.S. regime change:
Is Libya a more stable country economically, socially? Is it a united country? Is it a country? Is it a country at peace? And who will pay for the crimes in Libya, and Iraq and Afghanistan? Who will acknowledge them? And Syria? It seems one of those horror films made in Hollywood. A policy of terror, a horror movie: the terrors of war.
President George W. Bush’s unilateral direct military attack on Iraq in 2003 was wildly unpopular throughout the world. Within the ruling circles of the U.S. many clearly hoped that a shift back to Brzezinski-style “soft coups” under a commander-in-chief named “Barack Hussein Obama” could restore credibility to the U.S. However, aside from Western Europe, the world seems to be equally outraged by these policies. As the Obama presidency draws to a close, Brzezinskism, like Bushism, is now loathed by people across the planet.
In his address to the U.N., Maduro went on to express what millions of people around the world are feeling:
No one in this world has the right, by the Charter of the United Nations or by any right, to judge, prejudge the political regime of another country or to pretend to overthrow the regime of any government or system in the world. No one is entitled to that.