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Scowcroft, Brzezinski Address Senate Armed Services Committee

Jan. 21, 2015 (EIRNS)—Sen. John McCain’s first hearing as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, devoted to the alleged national security threats from Russia and China, and the explosion of violent jihadism in the Middle East, featured a surprisingly thoughtful discussion with two senior U.S. foreign policy figures, General Brent Scowcroft (who had advised Republican presidents since Richard Nixon) and Zbigniew Brzezinski (who had advised Democrats since the Carter era).

After McCain’s and ranking member Jack Reed’s general opening statements, Scowcroft began. His remarks were directed to presenting the complexities of the current world crisis, in the frame of reference of the Treaty of Westphalia, which he sees as being disrupted by intrusive globalization. By that, he meant the information society (as in social media organizing the masses) and climate-change. His view was clearly that the nation-state system should not be discarded. He also directly attacked the idea that nuclear war is winnable, and put on the table a previously raised proposal for an international nuclear fuel bank, that would address problems with states like Iran.

Brzezinski said he basically agreed, and while using some inflammatory rhetoric against Putin and specifically advocating beefing up NATO in the Baltics and Poland, he concentrated on proposals to defuse the situation. These included the U.S. guaranteeing Moscow "non-NATO status" for Ukraine, and measures to "try to avoid universalizing the current conflict in Europe into a worldwide collision with Russia," particularly in the Middle East.

He also reiterated his view that nations in Southwest Asia must be the ones to deal with the crisis there, including Iran. He went on to say we needed: "Saudi restraint, somewhat overdue. Egyptian participation in seeking, if possible, some form of compromise in Syria, and elimination of the regional extremists." He opposed "boots on the ground" from the outside.

He even concluded by warning Obama not to try to enlist India against China, during his upcoming trip.