In recent years, as too many elected representatives and so-called experts rushed to support the Bush Administration’s foreign policy misadventures, former Carter Administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski has emerged as perhaps the sharpest voice of dissent in Washington’s foreign policy establishment.
Last Thursday, Brzezinski gave a fascinating talk sponsored by the New America Foundation, where he labeled Israel’s ferocious military bombing of Lebanon “dogged, heavy-handed, politically unproductive and morally wrong.”
“What Israel is doing today in Lebanon is in effect the killing of hostages,” Brzezinski said. And the US government enabled the military campaign “by abandoning the tradition of being a negotiator to a promise of complete partiality.”
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should pull a Kissinger, Brzezinski said, and “stay in the region” until the fighting stops. To that end, Brzezinski offered five practical suggestions for how the Bush Administration might quell the violence.
1. Recreate viability for the Palestinians by working with Hamas.
2. Talk to the Syrians, with or through the French.
3. Talk to the Lebanese government, so they don’t just appear as victims screaming for help.
4. Talk to Hezbollah through Syria.
5. Negotiate the sequential release of prisoners between Israel and Hezbollah.
Of course, the Administration refuses to negotiate with Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. But the US essentially has two options: engage or do nothing.
“Either she’s doing what she should be doing,” Brzezinski said of Condi, “or she’s sitting in front of a mirror, talking to herself.”