Gazeta Wyborcza: In the Soviet Union during the cold war, Zbigniew Brzezinski was considered omnipotent man and thought he was behind the election of John Paul II to the post of Pope. You write about this in his book and say that when Karol Wojtyla met with Brzezinski, jokingly thanked for the help. What contribution to the overthrow of communism has made the adviser to Jimmy Carter, really?
Lubovsky Andrzej (Andrzej Lubowski): the Role it played for the democratic opposition in Poland and throughout the Eastern bloc cannot be overstated. It was he during the cold war contributed to the emergence of a politics of human rights protection. It was followed by the material and, equally important, moral support. America has actively stood up for dissidents. It was Brzezinski saved from the closure of the Polish Bureau of “Radio Liberty”, with whom he collaborated in his youth. We gradually forget, what was this radio station. And she was the most important and sometimes the only source of reliable information and moral support. Poland has always remained in the heart of Brzezinski, he was very disturbed by what happened in our country in recent years.
— This support was due to the fact that he knew the intentions of the Soviet leaders? In the 1960-ies, when all of America was admired by Leonid Brezhnev, he was advised not to rate the leader of the USSR in his foreign costume. He had no doubt that he will maintain a totalitarian regime.
Brzezinski harbored no illusions about the nature of this regime and the intentions of the Soviet leaders. The Kremlin does not accidentally hang a label on it its main enemy. It was not the Soviet persecution mania, Brzezinski began to publish critical texts on the topic of the Soviet Union when he was an adviser to Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He knew the regime, clearly others saw appear on his facade cracks, and was the first person in the USA who predicted the final collapse of the Communist system. The fall of communism was, of course, the multicast process, but if I had to choose one person who launched it, this would be it Brzezinski.
It is the best understood of the risks posed by the USSR, and saw the Soviet imperialism, the greatest threat for the West and democracy. He wanted a counterweight to Moscow was China. It was Brzezinski, not Nixon and Kissinger, urged China to turn to the world. A large role was played by his personal relationship with Deng Xiaoping. Brzezinski continued to be in China with the honor guard as a very important person even when he has not occupied any official posts.
Although Ronald Reagan was a Republican, he had a high opinion of Brzezinski for his accurate estimates and sober understanding of the Communist threat, and even wanted to invite him to stay on the post of national security adviser. But the Democrat Brzezinski was against it. He believed that the President needs fresh blood and new faces. In addition, such a prospect is not liked by some important allies of Reagan, they believed that Brzezinski them Eclipse.
— He was a difficult character? In the US, it still remains a controversial issue, many media have accused it of arrogance.
Brzezinski often compared with Kissinger, who had great PR: he tried to maintain good relations with journalists, was the darling of the press. When I was working on a book about Brzezinski and talked with dozens of people in Washington, I realized that all of his respect, but not all love. Before he was labeled an anti-Semite, it is called Russophobia. To many it seemed logical: he is a pole, it probably does not like Russian Jews. He never fawned before the press and refused to talk on trivial topics. He adhered to the iron logic and expect that his interlocutors will understand the topic and it may seem like arrogance.
To gain his trust and respect, to break through this Professor’s armor, it was really hard, but underneath lurked a soulful, ironic and wise man. He was always ready to dialogue and discussion, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a clear opinion on the key issues.
— Has he ever been wrong?
He has made a mistake with Dmitry Medvedev when he was President of Russia, overestimating its independence. For a while he harbored hopes that Medvedev, not spoiled KGB man, whose biography is different from biography of Putin, will be an independent player, and Russia will have a chance at a more democratic leadership. The reality, as we know, it turned out, however, is completely different.
Meanwhile, Brzezinski harbored no illusions about who Putin is and what he seeks. So it was worried about contemporary policy of Poland, which we moved away from the core EU countries. Zbig always said that Poland should be an important part of the European Union, from which position we will take, depend on our relationships with other major players.
Some criticized Brzezinski that he spoke strongly against Ukraine’s membership in NATO.
— No major power, including Kiev itself, does not advocate the country’s accession to the Alliance, didn’t like neither America nor the European Union. Ukraine has always been dear to the heart of the Professor. Ten years ago, he said the key role in shaping the identity of Europe will play its attitude towards Turkey and Ukraine. It was still under Viktor Yanukovych, now this idea looks like a prophecy. He asked me, do not remind me of Ukraine to Poland in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. In those years, the magnates did not think about the sufferings of the country, was not considered with interests of the people and agreed with anyone who was willing to pay more.
Brzezinski believed that Poland and the entire EU should lend Ukraine a helping hand, because if they slam the door for her, she falls into the arms of Putin. He believed that President Obama made the mistake of thinking that the US will not supply the Ukrainians offensive weapons, although Russia had committed a clear act of aggression. Brzezinski believed that the American President is not obliged to report all his intentions, but he should not talk about what he’s not going to do. The issue of arms supplies to Kiev is not the only case, when Zbig critical remarks about Obama. Very bad, seemed to him the wording of the President about Syria and Assad chemical weapons when Obama said that America will give a tough response if Syrian dictator crosses the “red line”.
Assad crossed it, but there is nothing particularly wrong with him there. Brzezinski was always concerned a situation that can compromise the USA and their President, although he enthusiastically welcomed the election of Obama, and he wanted to make Zbig as its official Advisor. On most issues, even the most controversial, their opinions coincided. For example, they’re both pretty critically evaluate the foreign policy of Israel.
— Because of this, in some circles, Brzezinski for many years considered an anti-Semite.
— He got this position including for this reason, although he could not accept it himself, because he was then 80 years. Brzezinski had the guts for 50 years to criticize Israel’s policies, because it is easy to pass an anti-Semite. But he never was. Liberal Israeli politicians said Israel should have more friends like Brzezinski. He considered misguided policy of expanding Jewish settlements and the cessation of dialogue with the Palestinians. The same opinion was shared by Obama, who was, to put it mildly, not the easiest relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu.
Brzezinski has repeatedly stressed that the formation of foreign policy must consider not only private interests but also values. He spoke in this context about Donald trump?
— Very negatively. Brzezinski wrote several times that America, even making mistakes, is the last Bastion of stability, and this role will remain with her forever. Therefore, he was concerned about what brought trump. Zbig thought that in a world of chaos, which is full of conflicts and fears, the White house should send a very clear signal. Now they are not. The slogan “let’s Make America great again,” as Brzezinski put it, good for stickers on the car, but not for foreign policy.
He knew Putin’s methods, realized his ambition and cynicism, and therefore felt a special concern about trump’s relationship to Russia and the Kremlin. In this regard, he harboured no illusions.