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The Real Grand Chessboard and the Profiteers of War

14/08/2009 13:22

 

by Prof. Peter Dale Scott

The Myth of the Grand Chessboard: Geopolitics and Imperial Folie de Grandeur

Brzezinski himself has recognized how his gratuitous machinations in Afghanistan in 1978-79 produced the responses of al Qaeda and jihadi terrorism. Asked in 1998 whether he regretted his adventurism, Brzezinski replied:

"Regret what? The secret operation was an excellent idea. It drew the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? On the day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, saying, in essence: 'We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.'"

Nouvel Observateur: "And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?"

Brzezinski: "What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?"

When he was asked whether Islamic fundamentalism represented a world menace, Brzezinski replied, "Nonsense!"

* Le Nouvel Observateur, January 15-21, 1998. In his relentless determination to weaken the Soviet Union, Brzezinski also persuaded Carter to end U.S. sanctions against Pakistan for its pursuit of nuclear weapons (David Armstrong and Joseph J. Trento, America and the Islamic Bomb: The Deadly Compromise (Steerforth, 2007). Thus Brzezinski’s obsession with the Soviet Union helped produce, as unintended byproducts, both al Qaeda and the Islamic atomic arsenal. Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: basic Books), xiii, 30, 40.

This kind of brash talk is not unique to Brzezinski. Its call for unilateral dominance echoed the 1992 draft DPG (Defense Planning Guidance) prepared for Defense Secretary Cheney by neocons Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis "Scooter" Libby: "We must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."[10] It is echoed both in the 2000 PNAC Study, "Rebuilding America’s Defenses," and the Bush-Cheney National Security Strategy of September 2002 (NSS 2002).[11] And it is epitomized by the megalomanic JCS strategic document Joint Vision 2020, "Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations."[12]


Such overblown rhetoric is out of touch with reality, dangerously delusional, and even arguably insane. It is however useful, even vital, to those corporations who have become accustomed to profiting from the Cold War, and who faced deep cuts in U.S. defense and intelligence spending in the first years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They are joined by other groups (discussed below) that also have a stake in preserving the dominance mindset in Washington. These include the new purveyors of privatized military services, or what can be called entrepreneurial violence, in response to defense budget cuts.

 

[10] Memorandum of February 18, 1992, 
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nukevault/ebb245/index.htm

[11] For specific parallels to The Grand Chessboard, see Scott, Road to 9/11, 191-2.

[12] "Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance," DefenseLink, 
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=45289, emphasis added.