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The Interview: Zbigniew Brzezinski via The Diplomat

As the world changes so too must U.S. foreign policy. The Diplomat asks Zbigniew Brzezinski about America’s role in the ‘Asian Century.’

The Diplomat’s Assistant Editor Zachary Keck sat down with former U.S. National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to discuss America’s role in world affairs, the shifting geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific, the feasibility of eliminating nuclear weapons, and rising powers growing involvement in America’s backdoor.

Many of the U.S.’s most celebrated diplomats, including many of your contemporaries, have strongly endorsed abolishing nuclear weapons. In Strategic Vision you discuss at length the potential dangers of horizontal proliferation-particularly from quasi-nuclear weapon states like Japan, South Korea, and Germany- as well as the vertical proliferation threat from countries like Russia, China, and India. At the same time it seems to me that you were somewhat less enthusiast about the global zero movement, although more recently you have on occasion cautiously endorsed it. I am therefore wondering if you could elaborate a bit on your thinking on this issue. For instance, do you see other more viable alternatives for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons?

I have no problem with the global nuclear zero movement but I think that it is an objective that will be achieved only slowly, with a gradual settling down of the current era of turmoil, and perhaps in a context in which the major powers of the world will find it more feasible and productive to engage in a genuinely serious cooperation. The prospects for that in the short run are relatively tenuous and not very hopeful, and as a result I do not see much point in becoming very actively involved in what I view otherwise as a positive aspiration.

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