The US appears headed on a collision course with Iran that could lead to a war with “disastrous” consequences, an ex-advisor to former US president Jimmy Carter has said.
“We think we are going to avoid war by moving towards compulsion,” Zbignew Brzezinski, who was national security advisor to Carter in the late 1970s, told an audience at an Atlantic Council think tank event in Washington late on Tuesday.
“But the more you lean towards compulsion, the more the choice becomes war if it doesn’t work. That narrows our options in a very dramatic way,” said the former official, who remains an influential voice on US foreign policy.
Brzezinski said he was concerned about an escalation in “rhetoric,” as the US approach to Iran’s nuclear program appeared solely focused on forcing Tehran to comply with international demands, leaving Washington little flexibility.
“A lot of small decisions are being made which in the meantime narrow your freedom of choice in the future,” he said.
Brzezinski warned repeatedly of his concerns that the US could stumble into a war with Iran.
“If we slide into a conflict with Iran, in this or that fashion, the consequences for us will be disastrous, disastrous on a massive scale and also globally at the same time,” he said.
Brzezinski said there was a need “to galvanize this country into a deeper understanding” of international challenges facing the US.
“One of the most appalling things that I see is that we are more challenged than before in a more complex fashion,” he said.
“Our public is driven by fear, ignorance, demagogy to a very high degree and that I think has a paralyzing effect in intelligent management,” of foreign policy, he said.
Brzezinski, who endorsed US President Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign, described what he called a “strange situation,” with Obama and the Democrats failing to assert leadership while their Republican rivals were advocating extreme or ill-informed policies.
“The party in power is frozen, and the party out of power is raving mad,” he said.