Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's security adviser, dead at 89

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish Polish-born Cold War strategist and former top aide to United States president Jimmy Carter who influenced key policy decisions on Afghanistan, China and the Middle East, has died, his family said.

His death was announced by his daughter, Mika Brzezinski, who's a co-host on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "I just knew him as the most inspiring, loving and devoted father any girl could ever have", she wrote.

The former president says Brzezinski became a natural choice for his national security adviser when he became president.

Although he played a secondary role in the Camp David negotiations that produced the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, Brzezinski and his staff did contribute to expanding the US role in the greater Middle East by crafting the Carter Doctrine as a response to the Iranian crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He advocated a commando mission to rescue the hostages that ended in failure.

"Dr. Brzezinski's influence spanned several decades".

Brzezinski was a staunch foe of the Soviets who instead encouraged developing ties and normalizing relations with China.

Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, right, testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing July 9, 2014 in Washington.

He also authored several books on foreign policy.

He voiced support for USA policy in Vietnam in the mid-1960s, and served on the policy planning staff of President Lyndon Johnson's State Department in that era.

Having regular access to Carter gave Brzezinski vast influence, leading to reports that he and Vance were rivals for the president's ear.

Brzezinski was born in 1928 in Poland.

Carter had known Brzezinski before his election and asked him to leave Columbia University, where the effects of Soviet communism had been the focus of much of his work. He attended McGill University in Montreal then earned a doctorate from Harvard, later becoming a U.S. citizen.

"M$3 y role was that of supporting the president, helping him formulate the USA strategic approach and sometimes indicating to him my own view that we ought to be tougher on some issues, that we ought to be more compromising on some issues; in effect, playing the role of a personal strategic adviser", Brzezinski told NPR in 2003. He took part in the long-awaited reunification of Europe as a delegate to proceedings created to bring the former Soviet republics into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Brzezinski continued to engage in spirited public advocacy after leaving the White House and joining the Center for Strategic and International Studies as counselor and trustee. For the White House, the differences between Vance and Brzezinski became a major headache, confusing the American public about the administration's policy course and fueling a decline in confidence that Carter could keep his foreign policy team working in tandem.

As well as his daughter Mika, he is also survived by his wife, Emilie, and sons, Ian and Mark.

In 2006, he strongly criticized the George W. Bush administration's war effort in Iraq and the wider idea of a "war on terror", which he told NPR was a "demagogic slogan".

  • Larry Hoffman