The death this past week of former National Security Adviser and foreign policy intellectual Zbigniew Brzezinski calls to mind two thoughts: how rare the gift of strategic thinking, which Brzezinski possessed, truly is; and how great a contribution foreign-born intellectuals have made to U.S. foreign policy in the post-World War II era.
The foreign policy community lost one of the rare big thinkers with the death of Brzezinski at age 89 this past week. He was a commanding figure, always assessing the crises of the day with a long-term view of strategic interests. He served a Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, as national security adviser, but following his government service, his policy positions over the years would seem more compatible with conservative views. His sometimes iconoclastic takes of how American leaders should navigate the rocky shoals of the post-Cold War world could cause surprise.