Second Chance

I hadn’t realized that Zbigniew Brzezinski had a new book out. It did, however, spark a great David Ignatius column noting that “Brzezinski was right about Iraq, warning early and emphatically of the dangers of an American invasion at a time when most foreign policy pundits (including this one) were, with whatever quibbles, supporting President Bush’s decision to go to war.”

Brzezinski paid a price for being outspoken — he was excluded from some of the inner circles frequented by former national security advisers who don’t rock the boat. In this respect, Brzezinski’s cranky outsider status served him well (and the uber-insider status of his life rival, Henry Kissinger, proved something of a hindrance for the former secretary of state). So on matters of foreign policy, we should listen especially carefully to what Brzezinski has to say.

James Lindsay is somewhat less impressed but still offers some serious praise. “What Second Chance does offer is a wise insight that should guide any effort to fashion a strategy to restore American leadership . . . if the United States is to avoid becoming the target of their resentment, its foreign policy must be seen as serving their interests as well as its own. That means exercising self-restraint rather than pressing every advantage that comes to a superpower; it means listening to others and not just working to preserve our own peace and prosperity but helping others to build their own.”