* Died "peacefully" - daughter
* Was Carter's national security adviser
* Nurtured diplomacy between the United States and China
By Bill Trott
May 27 Former U.S. national security adviser
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who established himself in the Carter
administration as a hardliner on foreign policy, died on Friday,
his family said. He was 89.
Brzezinski's daughter Mika, a host on MSNBC's "Morning Joe"
show, said on social media that her father died peacefully. She
did not give the cause of his death.
"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 said on Instagram.
Brzezinski, the son of a Polish diplomat, was national
security adviser for all four years of Jimmy Carter's
presidency. He helped Carter contend with several major
international events, including the Iranian revolution that
overthrew the Shah, the taking of 52 Americans as hostages in
Tehran and a failed rescue mission, and the Soviet invasion of
Brzezinski, plucked by Carter from the academic world, saw
many of the Soviet Union's foreign policy moves as evidence it
could not be trusted.
That placed him at odds with two of Carter's closest
advisers: Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, who pushed for a
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT-2) with Moscow, and
Defense Secretary Harold Brown, who urged a U.S.-Soviet accord
to curb conventional forces in Europe.
When Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan, Brzezinski strongly
backed the arming of Afghan rebels in response.
His hardline stance on U.S.-Soviet relations led Pravda, the
Soviet Communist Party newspaper, to denounce him as a "foe of
President Carter said in a statement that Brzezinski was
brilliant, dedicated and loyal.
"Rosalynn (Carter's wife) and I are saddened by the death of
Zbigniew Brzezinski. He was an important part of our lives for
more than four decades and was a superb public servant," Carter
While he was skeptical of Soviet motives and objectives,
Brzezinski nurtured a diplomatic friendship between the United
States and China, which culminated in a trip to Beijing in June
1978. Six months later Carter announced a decision to
re-establish diplomatic ties with China starting in 1979.
Brzezinski's view of the Soviet Union may have been colored
by his childhood experiences. Born in Warsaw, Poland, on March
28, 1928, he was taken as a youngster to Canada where his father
served as a diplomat. When the communists took over Poland at
the end of World War II, the family remained in the West.
Brzezinski received a doctorate from Harvard University in
1953 and became an American citizen in 1958.
He voiced support for U.S. policy in Vietnam in the
mid-1960s, and served on the policy planning staff of President
Lyndon Johnson's State Department in that era.
Along with David Rockefeller, chairman of the Chase
Manhattan Bank, Brzezinski helped to found the Trilateral
Commission, a private group that promoted closer ties between
North America, Western Europe and Japan.
Linas Linkevicius, Lithuanian foreign minister, paid tribute
to Brzezinski during a global security forum in Slovakia,
describing him as a strategist, a great statesman and friend of
the Baltic States.
Carter had known Brzezinski before his election to the White
House in 1976 and asked him to leave Columbia University, where
the effects of Soviet communism had been the focus of much of
Having regular access to Carter gave him vast influence in
Washington, which for a time led to recurring reports that he
and Vance were rivals for the president's ear. The rivalry
lasted until Vance resigned after the aborted mission to rescue
American hostages in Iran in April 1980.
Before the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979,
Vance had resisted Brzezinski's proposal that Washington back a
military crackdown against Iran's radical Islamic forces.
Once the embassy was taken by followers of Islamic leader
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Vance sought Carter's backing for
an attempt to come to terms with Khomeini. Brzezinski
characteristically favored military action to free the 52
American hostages and punish Iran.
Carter eventually accepted Brzezinski's proposal for the
ill-fated rescue mission, in which eight servicemen died.
Brzezinski also took part in negotiations toward the
Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in 1979, which was seen by many as the
major achievement of Carter's presidency.
In the arms control field, Brzezinski, despite his lifelong
antipathy to Soviet communism, joined Defense Secretary Brown in
spearheading the unsuccessful drive to win Senate approval of
the 1979 SALT-2 accord with Moscow.
Although it never cleared the Senate as a result of the
Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, SALT-2
remained unofficially in effect even beyond its original
After the Carter years, Brzezinski became a consultant on
international affairs and a senior adviser for the Georgetown
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He
also taught American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University.
He frequently wrote opinion articles for newspapers and
published several books, including "Strategic Vision: America
and the Crisis of Global Power" in 2012.
Vice President George H.W. Bush, trying to build up his own
image as a tough foreign policy realist, considered it a coup to
secure Brzezinski's support in his 1988 presidential campaign.
Brzezinski was at times critical of the foreign policies of
both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He was sharply critical of
Bush's "war on terror" and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In August 2007 Brzezinski endorsed Democratic presidential
candidate Barack Obama, saying that Obama "recognizes that the
challenge is a new face, a new sense of direction, a new
definition of America's role in the world".
Brzezinski and his wife Emilie had three children.
(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Andrew Bolton)