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Carter Administration set up today's US-Mid-East conflicts

In his 1980 State of the Union Address, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed,

An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.1

Presidential Directive/NSC-63, signed by Zbigniew Brzezinski one year later, recalled that particular quotation, and set up a plan to protect those interests by,

-- building up our own capablities to project force into the region while maintaining a credible presence there;

-- developing a broad range of military and related response options in and outside the region against the Soviet Union, including U.S. force projection into the region, to compensate for the current Soviet regional advantage in conventional forces;

-- making the Soviet Union aware that it will also face a wide range of economic and diplomatic sanctions on a worldwide basis if it intervenes in the region;

-- assisting countries in the region: to deter and diminish internal and external threats to stability; and to contribute to deterring and resisting Soviet penetration -- political, economic, or military;

-- diminishing radical influences in the region and enhancing US security by working for progress toward a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace settlement;

-- improving access to facilities in the region while remaining sensitive to the special historical experience of the region and not placing in jeopardy our relationships or the internal stability of the countries concerned by insisting on formal basing arrangements;

-- taking a regional approach to securing our economic and political interests rather than basing their defense wholly on drawing a line to protect specific countries in the region.2

"The Military Component" specifically calls for

A. U.S. Force Capabilities, including forces, lift, facilities access, overbuilding and prepositioning of supplies, exercises, and presence in the region.

B. Local Defence Capabilities, improved through security assistance, advisory programs and enhancement of local facilities and military capabilities in order to support U.S. force projection and local defense developed by joint planning, combined exercises, consultations, and other appropriate means...3

"The Foreign Policy Component" calls for peace in the Middle East "as rapidly as feasible," "improved security relations" with Turkey and Pakistan, "improved ties" with Somolia, Djibouti, and Ethiopia, and agreements with allies in Europe in Asia to provide points from which to support U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Among the "Economic Issues" is "to ensure availability of oil at reasonable prices and to reduce Western dependence on Gulf oil."

Finally, it discusses the "Intelligence Issues":

The Director of Central Intelligence has the principle responsibility for developing an effective regionally integrated intelligence program which is fully supportive of the tasks and objectives in the military, diplomatic, and economic components.4

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in a memo to President Carter, "preliminary thoughts" on "What is to be done":

A. It is essential that Afghanistani resistance continues. This means more money as well as arms shipments to the rebels, and some technical advice;

B. To make the above possible we must both reassure Pakistan and encourage it to help the rebels. This will require a review of our policy toward Pakistan, more guarantees to it, more arms aid.

C. We should encourage the Chinese to help the rebels also.

D. We should concert with Islamic countries both a propaganda campaign and in a covert action campaign to help the rebels;

E. We should inform the Soviets that their actions are placing SALT in jeopardy and that will also influence the substance of the Brown visit to China, since the Chinese are doubtless going to be most concerned about implications for themselves of such Soviet assertiveness so close to their border. Unless we tell the Soviets will not take our "expressions of concern" very seriously, with the effect that our relations will suffer, without the Soviets ever having been confronted with the need to ask the question whether such local adventurism is worth the long-term damage to the U.S.-Soviet relationship;

F. Finally, we should consider taking Soviet actions in Afghanistan to the U.N. as a threat to peace.5

In a 1998 interview by Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski was asked if "American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention." He responded,

Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

"We didn't push the Russians to intervene," he clarified, "but we knowingly increased the probability that they would." He said that the secret operation "had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap."

He was then asked, "And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?" He responded,

What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?6

Brzezinski had encouraged President Carter to support the Taliban and Islamic extremism in Afghanistan. He continued to defend the move two decades later, calling it "Nonsense!" that "Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today."

Islamic fundamentalism is at the very least a "menace" today. At the same time, it is increasingly reported by experts to be related to increased tensions between the U.S. and Russia. The Soviet Union collapsed due in part to the Afghanistan trap the Brzezinski takes credit for. But, as the U.S. and Russia build up arms and continue to fight for influence in the Middle East, can we really say that has the Cold War ever ended? Carter's National Security Directive 63 set up a Cold War battle in the Middle East that continues today.

Now, in 2008, Brzezinski is again a foreign policy to a presidential candidate.7 That candidate is Barack Obama.


  1. Carter, Jimmy, "State of the Union Address", January 23, 1980. accessed 02/27/2008.
  2. Carter, Jimmy, & Brzezinski, Zbigniew, "Presidential Directive/NSC-63", January 15, 1981. accessed 02/27/2008.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Brzezinski, Zbigniew, "Reflections on Soviet intervention in Afghanistan", memo to President Carter, December 26, 1979. accessed 02/27/2008.
  6. "The CIA's Intervention in Afghanistan", Le Nouvel Observateur, January 15-21, 1998. accessed 02/27/2008.
  7. "The War Over the Wonks", Washington Post, October 2, 2007. accessed 02/27/2008.

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