Top Carter aide Brzezinski dies at 89

Mr Zbigniew Brzezinski, a tough critic of the Soviet Union, served as former US president Jimmy Carter's national security adviser.
Mr Zbigniew Brzezinski, a tough critic of the Soviet Union, served as former US president Jimmy Carter's national security adviser.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Mr Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish Cold War strategist and ex-top aide to former United States president Jimmy Carter, has died at 89, his family said.

"My father passed away peacefully tonight," MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski said on Instagram on Friday. "He was known to his friends as Zbig, to his grandchildren as Chief and to his wife as the enduring love of her life. I just knew him as the most inspiring, loving and devoted father any girl could ever have," she wrote.

His Polish diplomat father moved with the family in Canada, where he attended McGill University in Montreal. Later, he earned a doctorate from Harvard and became a US citizen.

After serving President Lyndon Johnson, the Polish-born academic was Mr Carter's national security adviser during the 1979-1981 Iranian hostage crisis. He was a leading force behind the failed US commando mission to rescue the hostages, after which he resigned.

He thought that Soviet influence would sweep over Iran if US strength did not prevail.

Nominally a Democrat, he leaned conservative on security matters.

A tough critic of the Soviet Union, he also helped broker the Camp David talks and worked on normalising relations with China. Though a rigorous anti-communist, he held that US interests around the world should be addressed in terms of strategy and practicality, not ideology.

"He was an important part of our lives for more than four decades and was a superb public servant," Mr Carter said in a statement. Mr Brzezinski passed away in Falls Church, Virginia, his family said.

Mr Brzezinski was an active professor and author well into his 80s. He did not support President Donald Trump's election, and criticised his foreign policy as vague.

"Does America have a foreign policy right now?" he tweeted in February. "The President should outline why America is important to the world, but also why the world needs America."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 28, 2017, with the headline 'Top Carter aide Brzezinski dies at 89'. Print Edition | Subscribe