Obama's foreign policy guru Zbigniew Brzezinski, about 80 years old now, seems to me an enigma.
I read his "out of control" several years back which correctly forecast a lot of the last decade's events. His sentences are choppy and structured strange, but he's sure a thinker.
He is a believer in geopolitics.
He was at Columbia same time as Obama.
Here's quotes from his "Grand Chessboard" (which i must disclose i haven't read, got these from internet)
Moreover, they [the Central Asian Republics] are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely Russia, Turkey and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold." (p.124)
"The world's energy consumption is bound to vastly increase over the next two or three decades. Estimates by the U.S. Department of energy anticipate that world demand will rise by more than 50 percent between 1993 and 2015, with the most significant increase in consumption occurring in the Far East. The momentum of Asia's economic development is already generating massive pressures for the exploration and exploitation of new sources of energy and the Central Asian region and the Caspian Sea basin are known to contain reserves of natural gas and oil that dwarf those of Kuwait, the Gulf of Mexico, or the North Sea." (p.125)
"Uzbekistan is, in fact, the prime candidate for regional leadership in Central Asia." (p.130)
"Once pipelines to the area have been developed, Turkmenistan's truly vast natural gas reserves augur a prosperous future for the country's people.” (p.132)
"In fact, an Islamic revival - already abetted from the outside not only by Iran but also by Saudi Arabia - is likely to become the mobilizing impulse for the increasingly pervasive new nationalisms, determined to oppose any reintegration under Russian - and hence infidel - control." (p. 133).
"For Pakistan, the primary interest is to gain Geostrategic depth through political influence in Afghanistan - and to deny to Iran the exercise of such influence in Afghanistan and Tajikistan - and to benefit eventually from any pipeline construction linking Central Asia with the Arabian Sea." (p.139)
"Turkmenistan... has been actively exploring the construction of a new pipeline through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea..." (p.145)
"It follows that America's primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it." (p148)
"China's growing economic presence in the region and its political stake in the area's independence are also congruent with America's interests." (p.149)
"America is now the only global superpower, and Eurasia is the globe's central arena. Hence, what happens to the distribution of power on the Eurasian continent will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy and to America's historical legacy." (p.194)
"Without sustained and directed American involvement, before long the forces of global disorder could come to dominate the world scene. And the possibility of such a fragmentation is inherent in the geopolitical tensions not only of today's Eurasia but of the world more generally." (p.194)
"With warning signs on the horizon across Europe and Asia, any successful American policy must focus on Eurasia as a whole and be guided by a Geostrategic design." (p.197)
"That puts a premium on maneuver and manipulation in order to prevent the emergence of a hostile coalition that could eventually seek to challenge America's primacy..." (p. 198)
"The most immediate task is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role." (p. 198)
"In the long run, global politics are bound to become increasingly uncongenial to the concentration of hegemonic power in the hands of a single state. Hence, America is not only the first, as well as the only, truly global superpower, but it is also likely to be the very last." (p.209)
"Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." (p. 211)
I'm just not smart enough to figure out whether he's a benevolent genius or a madman.
But I do believe he's the fellow Saul Bellow alluded to in Ravelstein as ".. enjoys tossing about continents..."
I think i need to read Zbig's chessboard book, much as i dread the awkward prose.
my point being: world affairs, particularly in mideast, probably will not take that warm and fuzzy left turn.