John Helmer: Zbigniew Brzezinsku, the Svengali of Jimmy Carter’s Presidency, Is Dead, But the Evil Lives On

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

If ever there was a man who displayed on his face the evil on his mind, it was Zbigniew Brzezinski, (lead image, right) who died last week at a hospital near Washington.

Former President Jimmy Carter, who employed Brzezinski as his National Security Advisor between 1977 and 1981, the only high official post Brzezinski reached, said he “helped me set vital foreign policy goals, was a source of stimulation for the departments of defense and state, and everyone valued his opinion.”  Of Carter’s three claims, only the first is true; the second is ironic hyperbole; the third is completely false. If Carter cannot tell the truth now about Brzezinski, after having 36 years to reflect on it, Carter reveals the principal source of Brzezisnki’s power, when he exercised it.   For Carter was no innocent ventriloquized by the evil Svengali (lead image, left), as in the original Svengali tale. Carter was simply more mendacious than Brzezinski, and is entirely to blame for doing what Brzezinski told him to do.  

Brzezinski was an obsessive Russia-hater from the beginning to the end. That led to the monumental failures of Carter’s term in office;  the hatreds Brzezinski released had an impact which continues to be catastrophic for the rest of the world.

Carter and Brzezinski in Carter’s study, six weeks into the presidential term — April 19, 1977.

To Brzezinski goes the credit for starting the organization, financing and armament of the mujahideen, the Islamic fundamentalists who have metastasized —  with US money and arms still —  into Islamic terrorist armies operating far from Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Brzezinski started them off. Only today,  Russia – the target of Brzezinski’s scheming —  is relatively better prepared and safer from the terrorists than the countries of western Europe and the US itself.

To Brzezinski also goes the credit for projecting Iran on to its nuclear-armed path against the Great Satan and US allies in the Middle East, making the sunni-shia sectarian division into a cause of international war which it was not,  before Brzezinski began. That it was not is due to the power of the secular Arab leaders to sustain an alternative to religion for governance.  Brzezinski’s idea was to target them as Kremlin stooges and overthrow them. To Brzezinski also goes the credit for releasing Israeli ambition under Menachem Begin and his successors on the Israeli right; the promotion of Egyptian corruption and  weakness under Anwar Sadat and his successors; and the destruction of the Palestinians.


Left: Sadat standing up, with Begin and Carter at the signing of the Camp David accords, September 17, 1978. Right, Sadat’s downfall in Cairo at the Egyptian Army’s annual victory parade, October 6, 1981.

In Carter’s obituary, he also gives Brzezinski the credit for “an essential role” in two other achievements Carter still claims for himself:  “normalization of relations with China [and the] signing of the SALT II treaty.” Carter is exaggerating the little he did, after his predecessors Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford had initiated and negotiated the terms for both. Carter says nothing about his failure to influence the course of US nuclear weapon designs that continue to evolve unhindered, and the schemes of first-strike war-fighting against both Russia and China which are virtual, if not quite stated US policy today.

Brzezinski thought he knew how and why to start war against Russia. But he couldn’t calculate  more than two or three moves ahead, before his adversary’s tactics failed to meet Brzezinski’s strategic anticipation. He didn’t know what to do when outwitted several moves along in his strategic plan. He didn’t comprehend how to end wars he started but couldn’t win. Never-ending war was Brzezinski’s monomania – he had a clinical case of the pathology.

Read Carter’s statement on Brzezinski again for a glimmer of light; click. Apart from the reference Carter makes first to his wife Rosalynn’s views, there is no illumination.  In 1977 Rosalynn Carter had  different views from her husband’s, but regarding Brzezinski and others in the Carter White House, she never dared to express them in public. On pain of instant dismissal nor did anyone else in the White House then. And there were no leaks.

Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter, February 1979.

If not for Carter, Brzezinski would have remained the marginal voice he was before and after the four-year Carter term. From the start of that term, in the first six months of 1977, Carter was also warned  explicitly by his own staff, inside the White House and working on his confidential instruction, not to allow Brzezinski to dominate his policy-making to the exclusion of all other advice, and the erasure of the evidence on which the advice was based.

I know this because I was a member of the staff in those days. I know because I drafted the terms of a series of staff investigations which Carter requested and then authorized of how the advice he was receiving at his desk was influencing the choices and policy options he had to decide – memoranda from the cabinet departments, briefs from the intelligence agencies, and commentaries from different elements of the White House organization itself.

The investigation of two of Brzezinski’s policy recommendations to Carter was assigned to a US Airforce officer on secondment to the White House staff at the time, Len Vernamonti; and to me. We were part of a group of 25 titled the President’s Reorganization Project (PRP). Our offices were in the New Executive Office Building, the red-brick structure across the street from the State, War and Navy Building, aka the Old Executive Office Building (OEOB);  in Mark Twain’s epithet, the ugliest building in America. Twain was referring to what the inhabitants of the building did, not to the exterior or interior decoration, which was grand. Brzezinski’s staff operated in the OEOB.  He himself, like his predecessors, kept his own office in the West Wing of the White House, diagonally across the lobby from the Oval Office and Carter’s personal study.

The PRP, a Carter election campaign invention unprecedented in White House history, had the job of preparing a study for the president on how his White House operations might be organized to expand his policy choices, enlarge the evidence available for him to read – Carter was very keen on reading — anticipate consequences,  and curb bureaucratic empire building outside the Oval Office. The staff had mostly come, as had I, from Carter’s campaign advisors. Major Vernamonti, as he was then, had come to the PRP by secondment and by chance.

The idea of reorganization at the top of the US government bureaucracy wasn’t novel; it most often accompanied incoming presidents whose party had been out of office for a long time and who wanted to purge non-loyalists and find jobs for their own people. But the idea of opening up the president’s files and reassessing the decisions he had made in his first six months had never been attempted before.

Military, intelligence and foreign policy topics were off-limits because of the classification and security clearances required, so the PRP focused on domestic policymaking.  In organizational management  terms, they amounted to the same thing.  We compiled a list of topics for investigation from among the public and private priorities of the new administration; Carter was asked to select which he wanted us to study. About 30 topics were selected; two were assigned to each of a dozen  two-man teams. By Carter’s order, we had authority to open all files, including those of the National Security Council (NSC).  Bzezinski didn’t like that; he resisted; he lost the first round

The subjects of the Brzezinski investigation remain classified. It’s exactly 40 years since I last saw the papers. They were secret at the time, but there was a deeper, darker secret.

When Vernamonti and I had written up our two reports, we concluded that Brzezinski had been deliberately and systematically misinforming and misleading Carter in his policy memoranda. He withheld evidence; mistook or  misrepresented what other officials and their agencies were saying; and manipulated the decision and action tails of his memoranda, so that Carter would think he had little option but to do what Brzezinski told him to choose. Our job, Carter had told us when we commenced work, was to spot the fox in the hen house, and warn him before there were fatal consequences. He had been a Navy officer and a submariner; also the Georgia State governor. So he knew about the pathologies of command and control; he also knew about fatal consequences. But neither he nor we anticipated that the fox would turn out to be  Brzezinski, nor the chicken turn out to be Carter himself.

No president had ever been presented with such a stark analysis of his own reading of papers and his own decision-making. I knew that because I had consulted with senior White House staff directors going back to Franklin Roosevelt’s time.

The recommendations Vernamonti and I drew from the decision-making research were revolutionary. We proposed that Carter retain a personal national security advisor with a staff restricted to sub-advisors amounting to less than a score. The large NSC  bureaucracy, growing across the driveway in the OEOB, was to be broken up and returned to the mainline departments. Our idea was that the National Security Advisor would be restricted to being just that – an advisor in a staff function. Line command and control, which McGeorge Bundy started with President John Kennedy in 1961, and Henry Kissinger perfected under Richard Nixon between 1969 and 1975, was to be halted because it encouraged a government-wide war for the president’s mind, which usually ended badly – not for the advisor but for the president.

There were more than 300 pages in the final PRP report, including the executive summary and the recommendations, plus the case studies. Brzezinski got early warning of the studies, and then received the drafts, plus a copy of the cover memorandum with recommendations. He saw at once the danger, and went to work on our superiors. The upshot was that on the weekend before our staff was due to present the report to Carter at a White House meeting, and answer his questions, Vernamonti and I were called in to an urgent meeting with the PRP leader, and his superior, Harrison Wellford.

Like several of us on the staff, Wellford was a Harvard graduate, with an equable, jocular Massachusetts manner of dealing in tight spots.  He describes his background on the Carter campaign and then on the presidential transition team of 1976 here.  But on the day Wellford called Vernamonti and me into his office, Wellford was not his usual self. He made clear that Brzezinski was furious, and would not allow our conclusions to go to Carter. Wellford himself didn’t disagree with the evidence or the findings. He didn’t disagree with the recommendations either, he said. But he lacked the power to fight Brzezinski with Carter, he conceded.

In his encomium on Brzezinski’s death, Carter said last Friday: “Having studied Zbig’s impressive background and his scholarly and political writings, I called on him to advise me on foreign policy issues during my first presidential campaign.  I liked him immediately, and we developed an excellent personal relationship.” That much is true. Carter also remembers: “He was brilliant, dedicated, and loyal.” From the Harvard point of view, the first adjective was unexceptional – there are hundreds and thousands of ”brilliant” Harvard graduates; about a dozen of them in the Carter White House.  But dedicated and loyal Brzezinski was solely to himself – not  to Carter nor the presidency he had been elected to run. Brzezinski’s choices were among the reasons Carter was defeated in the landslide election of November 1980.

But that’s getting ahead of our little tale. Wellford told Vernamonti and me he had no choice but to give us strict orders for the meeting scheduled the following week with Carter. Our case studies might, he said, be included in the tabs to the PRP briefing book we would present to the president. But the conclusions, and the recommendations for reform of the National Security Council, would be eliminated. Then Wellford added an ultimatum:  Vernamonti and I would be allowed to sit at the meeting with Carter. But we were to say nothing unless Carter spoke to us. If that happened, we were not to mention our recommendations on Brzezinski. If we did that, we would both be fired instantly.  That would have meant the end of Vernamonti’s airforce career.

Wellford added this was a secret we were not to tell to anyone.

The upshot was this. Wellford, plus the PRP team leader (a Georgian like Carter whose name I’ve forgotten),  the others on our staff;  Vernamonti and I met with Carter to present our report. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room. Vernamonti and I sat to the right of our superiors; Carter was across the table, his back to the windows. Brzezinski was present, along with other senior White House staff advisors of the day. The big briefing book lay in front of the president. He spoke of congratulations for the originality and painstaking work we had done, and promised to read every word. He asked questions, but not of Vernamonti or me. We stayed shtum. We walked out keeping our jobs, as did everyone else, especially Brzezinski.

Our defeat stayed secret for years. Ours was not the nail for want of which the shoe was lost, the horse, the knight,  the battle, etc. There were many other nails, shoes, horses and knights lost, starting with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, but he died in 2002 without telling as much as he could and should have done. Carter, however,  did lose his kingdom, ignominiously. That still stings with him. Vernamonti (pictured recently, below left) went on to a brilliant USAF career,  managing the purse which paid for US ballistic missile programs.  Wellford (right) has managed the legal side of some of the largest energy businesses in the US.

Many years later, after the New York Times reported how thorough and effective Carter’s reorganization of the White House had been, I responded with a letter detailing part of the Brzezinski record of 1977. I omitted Vernamonti’s name, in case he was still in the Air Force; I included Wellford’s. The letter was cued to be published, according to a Times editor who telephoned to check a couple of name-spellings and dates. But the letter never appeared. I was told by the Times that in advance of publication, Brzezinski was shown the text, and he commanded that it not appear. The newspaper did what it was told.

Brzezinski is not the only Russia-hater of extraction from the minor Polish nobility to make a career of his monomania. For more of what he and Carter failed to achieve in Syria, read thisand in Ukraine, this.   For the other Polish monomaniac of recent times, Radoslaw Sikorski, read more.

Brzezinski is the only national security advisor in American history to succeed at mesmerizing his president into singing his songs, as the character of Svengali did to Trilby O’Ferrall, an Irish working girl, in the best-selling novel of 1894 by George du Maurier.

Carter is mesmerized still. Without Carter,  Brzezinski would have remained an inconsequential academic among many contending to be heard. Carter gave the power of the White House stage to Brzezinski’s voice. The ruin which has followed  is Brzezinski’s evil, but the evil-doing, that’s Carter’s fault.

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  1. Disturbed Voter

    Mika, his daughter, continues the Deep State work, in the MSM. And advisor Brzezinski wasn’t the only cold warrior around in those days. Senator McCain carries that torch still, from the Hanoi Hilton.

    1. esb

      Right you are. This woman is truly dangerous, sporting her famous name and spewing her hateful, disruptive prattle, esp. due to her pairing with the faux-Republican Scarborough, who himself is a bizarre combination of neocon and progressive.

      1. sgt_doom

        Well, around 1963, the Deep State would be the super-rich families who called the shots, notably through such minions as Allen Dulles, (his cousin) Tracy Barnes, McGeorge Bundy, and a slew of others. Those richest families at that time were the Rockefeller, DuPont, Morgan, Harriman (Poindexter), Cabot (and Lodge), Forbes, Mellon and a few others.

        Remember, please, the Blackstone Group was founded by Rockefeller protégé, Peter G. Peterson, with Rockefeller seed money.

        The Carlyle Group was started by David Rubenstein (nephew of a dude named Jacob Rubenstein, before he changed his name to Jack Ruby) and Frank Carlucci, former CIA dude, with seed money from the Mellon family.

        Presently, one of the largest or more powerful of the private intel contractors, Booz Allen Hamilton is owned by the Carlyle Group, last time I checked. Carlyle also owned ARINC for quite a few years, yielding incredible corporate intel from such as they!

        So Robert Scheer, who wrote this book (“They Know Everything About You”) where he remarked a bit on Palantir (started by Peter Thiel, primarily with CIA contracts, now a private intel company), and pondered in his book how Thiel came to know Richard Perle, who steered Thiel into Adm. Poindexter for those CIA (Total Infomration Awareness-like) CIA contracts?

        Of course, Scheer is used to robotically repeating CIA disinformation stuff so is unable to pursue simple investigative reporting techniques which would have yielded that Peter Thiel sat on the board of “American Friends of Bilderberg, Inc.” (according to their 990 tax forms) along with Richard Perle (from whence he knew him, ‘natch!) and David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger, etc.

        I trust I have added to your worldly sophistication?

        1. Disturbed Voter

          You know you are in, when you are in the Carlyle Group. Not just the founders like the Bush family, but neo-libs like the Clintons. I am sure the Obama crime family will be invited into that exclusive private country club, if they continue to play ball the CIA way.

        2. financial matters

          JFK and RFK took on US Steel as well as wanting to not escalate in Vietnam. This essentially probably got both of them killed.

          Trump seems to be more circumspect in taking on the deep state.

        3. Just Checking

          There are so many of these interesting “coincidences” surrounding the JFK murder, but I’m not finding any evidence for David Rubenstein being the nephew of Jack Ruby. Ruby’s brothers and sisters were listed in the Warren Commission report (I know, I know, but I think we can assume this low level of fact-finding is reputable) as summarized here. A basic search on David Rubenstein lists his father’s name as Robert, which doesn’t match up to any of Ruby’s siblings in that summary. May I ask what your basis is for saying he’s Jack Ruby’s nephew?

      2. Disturbed Voter

        When you are the law, like the Nixon presidency, there is no need to file, your taxable income is whatever you say it is. The Deep State is that part of the organized crime syndicate, that is not only beyond morality, but beyond its own faux law (that it enforces against the uppity ones).

  2. Ignacio

    I woludn’t blame Brzezinski for the sunni-shia divide in countries like Irak. For this I would blame the british.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I think thats overstating it. But it was certainly during the Carter era that the notion of setting the secular (Iraq) and Sunni States against Iran became policy – albeit after the Iranian Revolution. And of course it was during this period that it became someones bright idea that providing arms to extreme islamacists was a good strategy. I doubt they consciously decided to set sunni against shia, but that was one result.

      But ultimately of course much of the problems in the middle east can be traced to the failure of the West to support secular States for Cold War reasons. Brutal and all as Assad (Sr) and Hussein were, they kept the lid on religious tension and were a vital counterbalance to the Gulf theocracies. And of course the CIA removed a genuinely popular reformist President in Iran in favour of a dictator. Helmer is right that the monomaniacal obsession with blocking the USSR caused all sorts of unnecessary bloodshed and chaos in the Middle East and Asia, although its overstretching it I think to blame so much on Brzezinski.

      And its not all hindsight. I keep going back to Graham Greene’s novel ‘The Quiet American’ from 1955 as an explanation for why so many supposedly smart foreign policy wonks could cause such havoc. Read that one book and so much becomes clear.

      1. johnnygl

        Yes, ideological hatred of the soviets was clearly present at least as far back as the truman admin when nsc-68 was published. That was a break from the original, limited idea of george kennan’s’ containment’ policy.

        1. hemeantwell

          Surprising stuff from Helmer….

          A 1976 Slavic Review article by Wright, “Mr. X and containment” is useful for pointing out that Kennan’s recommendations were contradictory. While he was nominally arguing for a less alarmed (aka victimized anticommunist) position, the strategy of containment was still pitched at confrontation, and was very cut off from the possibilities of cooperation that were in the Yalta air. Kennan’s idea that Russia would, like a wind-up toy, pursue an expansionist policy based on “military industrialization” was, in my view, an ideological spew by someone already submerged in it. Nowhere does Kennan encourage serious consideration of the possibility that the Soviets might have reason to feel threatened, “existentially,” when they looked to the west, and for reasons having nothing to do with their by then desiccated Bolshevism.

          1. Mark P.

            Nowhere does Kennan encourage serious consideration of the possibility that the Soviets might have reason to feel threatened, “existentially,” when they looked to the west…..

            Everybody has reasons.

            Given Allied intervention in Russia during and immediately after WWI against the Soviets, the Soviets absolutely had reason to feel threatened existentially.

            But also given the many millions of deaths under Stalin’s regime, the West had reason to feel threatened existentially after WWII.

            And also given the centuries-long histories of Polish-Russian wars, with Poland once occupying Moscow and later Russia controlling much of Poland in the 19th as well as in the 20th century — and factoring in Lenin’s plan to expand the Soviet regime westwards by occupying Poland which led to the Polish-Soviet War of 1918-19 and the agreement between Stalin and Hitler that let the USSR occupy Poland in 1939 (which included the Katyn massacre) — the Poles have reasons to feel threatened by the Russians.

            Brzezinski’s strange, maniacal hatred of Russians isn’t strange and maniacal given that history. For that matter, given the Soviet occupation of Hungary, during the Cold War Hungarians like John von Neumann and Edward Teller had reason for their strange, maniacal hatred of the Russians.

            So while it’s tiresome for the rest of us to deal with the attitudes of the Poles — including Brzezinski — and the other peoples who live in the territories adjoining Russia, the historical truth is that Russia — whether as Muscovy, the Russian empire, or the Soviet Union — has a many centuries-long history of being heavy-handed with its neighbors.

            The hideousness of U.S. behavior in Latin America — and we can all agree it is hideous — is comparable, but arguably not even in the same league as the way the Russians have historically — and in the memory of some still living — treated their neighbors.

            So everybody has reasons. Everybody has reasons.

            1. Plenue

              But did Brzezinski hate Russia because of the history of what it’s done to Poland, or because the Soviets deprived his family of their cushy aristocratic existence? At this point I’m not particularly inclined to think that toffs as a general rule view their lower-class countrymen as anything other than tools to serve and enrich themselves.

            2. berit

              …the historical truth is that Russia — whether as Muscovy, the Russian empire, or the Soviet Union — has a many centuries-long history of being heavy-handed with its neighbors.

              In the far north this historical “truth” does not withstand scrutiny. Russian soldiers beat the German occupiers and liberated Finnmark, Norway. several months before the victorious allies took Berlin and WWII ended. Then the Russians retreated voluntarily back across our common border. Finland, Swedish for 700 years, then occupied by Tsar Alexander I of Russia, was accorded independence by the Bolsheviks after the revolution in 1917. Russian rulers are probably able to consider more then one option at a time, nonthreatening neighbors and peace along the borders a prime consideration, which in our time USA, and NATO should respect – if keeping peace is truly the primary and ultimate aim.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Except for Israel (that area was always weird due to distance from major powers*), the maps of the modern Middle East are strangely reminiscent of the old Ottoman provinces. The blaming of colonial powers is true in Africa where ocean going vessels altered what the colonial powers could achieve versus local powers, but the problem in the Middle East is the ability of foreign powers to influence and prop up poor governments who wouldn’t otherwise be able to survive and weaken more stable governments. The Saudis and Israelis act boorish because they can go hide behind the U.S. whenever things get too hot.

      *Jerusalem is the last place a major player could fortify before being forced to invade another major player in pre-modern days due to water concerns. This is why Jews exist. Jerusalem is too important to not fortify but is too distant and rural to bother with too, giving the locals a culture that appropriated everything but could never truly be overwhelmed. A Jerusalem sized city closer to the Nile would become Egyptian, and a city closer to Persepolis would become Persian through natural trade and extension of power. If Jerusalem wasn’t a dependable city, no one would care.

      1. Mark P.

        The blaming of colonial powers is true in Africa where ocean going vessels altered what the colonial powers could achieve versus local powers,

        Ocean-going vessels but also the machine gun. As Hilaire Belloc wrote:

        Whatever happens, we have got.
        The Maxim gun, and they have not

        When the first machine guns appeared circa. 1860 much of Africa’s interior remained unmapped and terra incognito to the Europeans. By 1915, conversely, every territory in Africa — except for Ethiopia — was not only mapped but a colonial possession of one or another of the European powers.

    3. olga

      Yes, and if one thinks long enough – it seems that many problems we are dealing with today can be traced directly to the so called British empire (including the divide and conquer strategy the Brits so skillfully employed). The empire only lasted 200+ yrs, but we’ll be cleaning up its messes for the next 500.
      And a bit of mittel Europa humour on ZB’s escapades: when you let a goat go free, she’ll go ice skating …

    4. PlutoniumKun

      Incidentally, this article by Andrew Hobbs in Warisboring gives on explanation for why the blob doesn’t actually care if its cultivation of Sunni extremists causes terrorism blowback:

      Again, most of this is increasingly well-known, but conventional wisdom seems to think that Saudi extremism and terror ties are contradictory to the United States’ interests in supporting the regime. But it’s contradictory only if terrorism poses a strategic threat to the West—it does not.

      Quite simply, terrorism in Europe or the US simply doesn’t bother the Blob – its not a strategic issue, and they love to think of themselves as big strategic thinkers, too important to worry about mundane issues like civilian deaths. Terrorism works well for them – its not a real threat and every bomb blowing up tweens going to a concert just results in more money going to the securicracy.

    5. River

      Sunni-Shia divide happened when Mohammed died. As for countries like Iraq, that would be the Ottomans who exacerbated that particular rift, themselves being Sunni.

  3. TheCatSaid

    What an important piece of history this is. Thank you John Helmer and NC for the post. It’s of critical importance for understanding why the geopolitical chessboard looks the way it does today, including US-created “Islamic extremism” tool that has since grown and morphed and escaped into the “wild”.

    I wonder if Carter will ever learn how the crucial report contents were hijacked by Zbig at the last moment.

    Interesting to learn of Rosalyn Carter’s concerns. Is more info available about this?

  4. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you to JH for this fascinating insight.

    With regard to Radek Sikorski, there is some dispute as to whether he really is (minor) nobility. At Oxford, where he became friends with Alex (aka Boris) Johnson and David Cameron, including being initiated into the Bullingdon Club (or the Buller as members call it), one British journalist, author (of How To Lose Friends And Alienate People) and free / charter school “entrepreneur” said there was something improbable and even impostor-ish about Sikorski, including claims of nobility and being related to the Polish WW2 general of the same name. The hack said that Sikorski would probably be unmasked as an encyclopaedia salesman from a hick town in the US.

    A few years ago, at a City reception, I met a UBS banker who is in the well known picture of the Bullingdon Club with Johnson and Cameron. Sikorski and his wife, the so-called journalist Anne Applebaum, were riding high in the UK media /establishment at the time, and still do to a lesser extent, and have made enough money bashing Russia to be able to send their two sons to Eton. The banker expressed unease then about Sikorski and his Russia bashing, as if Sikorski and Applebaum were not quite kosher and trying to ingratiate themselves with the rich and powerful.

    Apparently, General Wojciech Jaruzelski was also minor nobility. There’s a lot of this pretence about, including the pair in London and NYC who milk having the same surname as the Rothschilds. The UK’s current Home Secretary (minister for law and order) once ran a firm that supplied upper class extras to film productions (e.g. Four Weddings And A Funeral) and anyone who wanted to pretend having upper class connections.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for that insight, Col. You mention Anne Applebaum – I used to marvel a few years ago at her writings in Slate magazine and wonder how someone who knew so little about the topics she wrote about could get such good writing gigs.

      1. Indrid Cold

        Yeah. That’s the Deep State in action there. The one that guy was asking snarkily if it paid taxes. Its members do. But not like me or you.

      2. witters

        She singlehandedly turned me off the NYRB, which has since continued its slide, culminating in the hysterics of Snyder.

    1. oho

      Jimmy Carter’s mainstream hagiography has been pretty much set in positive stone—the ‘aw shucks’ president who meant well and did what he could, not the naive outsider who let other forces co-opt his foreign policy.

      1. Indrid Cold

        Carter is a personification of America. “He meant well but made some errors along the way and regrettably, civilians were injured.”

        1. sgt_doom

          Like that presidential directive utilizing Saudi “help” in shipping Wahabist Islamic extremists to the northern border of Afghanistan and the old Soviet Union to raise hell and incite rebellion? Eventual outcome: 9/11/01!

          Or Carter’s abolishing federal anti-usury regulations?

          Or his deregulation of the natural gas industry (involving firing the head of the National Geological Survey, if I recall the proper career scientist he fired, because the fellow admitted to the press when asked that there wasn’t any natural gas shortage), airlines industry and trucking?

          Or . . .

          (In all honesty, though, I did respect his daughter Amy Carter — I thought she was the Real Deal!)

      2. ger

        Alas, we have seen other hen house foxes besides Bzig …. Kissinger, Albright, even the adorable HRC, in administrations wherein the Rooster turned out to be the Hen.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I believe Carter knows. It’s part of his post-Presidency motivation. “The Simpsons” famously called Carter “History’s greatest monster. ” The two guys who crafted that scene and joke knew what a crummy President he was. I doubt it’s been lost on Carter.

  5. financial matters

    That’s a tall order for Brzezinski which I’m sure he played a significant role.

    Stephen Gowans has an interesting new book out ‘Washington’s Long War on Syria’ which is recommended by Eva Bartlett.

    “”If there were any references in Western media to the Assad government’s commitment to the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party’s values of freedom from foreign domination, state direction, planning and control of the economy, and working toward the unity of the Arab nation, I’m not aware of them.””

    “”The thesis of this book is that Wall Street’s war on Syria was motivated by the same aim: the de-Ba’athification of Syria and the elimination of secular Arab nationalist influence from the Syrian state, as a means of expunging the Arab nationalist threat to U.S. hegemony.””


    We support corrupt states like Saudi Arabia that buy our arms and let us exploit their natural resources and are favorable to our banks and oil companies but don’t tolerate states that are more interested in being free of American imperialism such as Libya, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

    This could be said to have been set in motion after World War I when the Arab nation was carved up into individual countries separated by borders drawn in imperial map rooms.

    1. LT

      Military strategy (no matter waht country): divide and conquer.
      Intelligence agencies help to pave that way.

      They Sykes-Picot Treaty was the source of the “creative” map drawing post-WWI.
      A couple of the highlights being the creation of “Syria” (resources for France) and “Iraq” (resources for Britain).
      After WWI, it’s been written that the “Arabs” really felt the USA would help them get the fairest deal. They should have taken a real hard look at the Philipines and Cuba, countries the USA helped against Spain.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, LT.

        France’s former president Valery Giscard d’Estaing is related to Picot. One of his grandmothers, Genevieve, was Picot’s sister.

        The Giscard family, who adopted the aristocratic d’Estaing name to the disgust of the descendants of the d’Estaing family, had business interests in Syria. The family had interests in former colonies by way of their (former) ownership of Club Med. Some of them came to Mauritius when Club Med opened in Albion, near where I spend the festive season.

        Another family that had colonial business interests are the Levy, including Bernard-Henri and Justine. BHL cashed out to Vincent Bollore before he destroyed the company and used the EUR 200m pay off to fund his political playboy lifestyle that included, briefly, plans for a philosophy magazine in Afghanistan.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Re: … “a philosophy magazine in Afghanistan”?… Seriously? How quintessentially French, and absolutely the best idea evah. Thanks so much for making my day!

          1. witters

            What is perhaps even more French is the fact that BHL claims to BE a philosopher.

  6. Damson

    An excellent precis from Helmer as always.

    He is one of the very few writing today that can be trusted to give a truthful and thorough analysis of geopolitical events, and to stick to the known facts.

  7. TheCatSaid

    For those not yet following George Webb’s YouTube, he’s unraveling and exposing a number of interwoven illegal enterprises (“rat lines”). He’s today revealed he’s had assistance from insiders in French, Dutch and Serbian intelligence among others, and insiders in US agencies as well. Names have been named, lots of specifics coming out each day. What’s the connection to Helmer’s post here? Webb today described the foulness of the intelligence agency activities in recent years as having originated with Brzezinsky, with things becoming steadily more foul since then, but in a direction, mindset and way of operating that Brzezinsky had created.

    Webb also makes a side comment about Brzezinsky’s cause of death not being disclosed. He mentions it was a murder, and wonders aloud if it was because he’d had a recent change of heart and was about to tell prior secrets.

  8. optimader

    If ever there was a man who displayed on his face the evil on his mind
    Yeah yeah…

    No fan of ZB, but what the heck?

    Lets see a current picture of John Helmer and I’ll break out my trusty craniometry handbook make up some stuff that ties how he “looks” to behavior and intention.

    1. Susan Nelson

      I got that far and almost didn’t read the rest, I thought it was such a stupid remark. The history is important, especially on a day that TV is devoting to remembering all the good stuff.

  9. wellstone's ghost

    I’ve never read the book The Grand Chessboard by Brzezinski, but my understanding is that it outlines the policy of containment of the Eurasian landmass which seems to be the US position at this time. Quite foolhardy in my opinion.
    In Carter’s defense, he has gone on the record and stated that the US today is now an oligarchy. Not exactly a “pass the buck” statement by a former president. He knows he got played by the Iranian hostage crisis and the dirty tricks of the Reagan campaign/CIA head William Casey. I think he believes he took one for the team(America), hence his dedication to charitable causes all these years as atonement for his mistakes.

  10. StephenVerchinski

    Political Ponerology by Lobachewski. Zbig did symie its publication according to the author. Zbig, was like many of our powerful, also a war criminal.

  11. footnote4

    Great to have Helmer’s insight into the history. Carter needs to address it, and Brzezinski’s recent change of heart as well:

    The main architect of Washington’s plan to rule the world has abandoned the scheme and called for the forging of ties with Russia and China. While Zbigniew Brzezinski’s article in The American Interest titled “Towards a Global Realignment” has largely been ignored by the media, it shows that powerful members of the policymaking establishment no longer believe that Washington will prevail in its quest to extent US hegemony across the Middle East and Asia.

  12. horostam

    contrary to what is taught by the traditional left in America, Iranians widely believe that it was Carter’s decision to get rid of the Shah and install the islamic regime… which would fit with the general pattern in the middle east. they also believe that it was british agents who spurred the unrest. All this “backlash from Mossadeg in the 50’s” narrative is not held by actual iranians at all

  13. McWatt

    Not only should everyone read “The Quiet American” but the movie is also a must see.

    This one book and movie show the world the evil of imperial desire.

  14. robnume

    I agree, McWatt. I am a huge Graham Greene fan; I have almost all of his books. “The Quiet American” is a real lesson in what would become our foreign policy in Southeast Asia. Besides Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” it is one of five or six books which I re-read on a regular basis; every five to ten years or so. I can only assume that you’ve seen both versions of the movie. Which do you prefer and why?

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I agree, the book’s a must-read. And prescient, too– published in 1955.

  15. Wellstone's Ghost

    Thank you footnote4 for the link to the Counterpunch article regarding Brzezinski’s change of heart on the Grand Chessboard theory. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Scary to think that even a steadfast cold warrior could see the future better than the neocon/neoliberal fools running the show today. Watch out Mika!

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