Zbigniew Brzezinski is pictured in a file photo. [Photo: 360doc.com]
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to former US President Jimmy Carter, has died at the age of 89. Brzezinski's passing was announced by his daughter, Mika, late Friday.
Brzezinski was known as an important figure who helped to lay the groundwork for the normalization of ties between the US and China.
Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1928, Brzezinski moved to Canada with his family in 1938. He moved to the US and received a doctorate in government from Harvard University in 1953.
Due to his books and articles on the Soviet Union in the 1950s, Brzezinski established his status as an expert on the Soviet Union and began to attract the attention of the White House. He served as a counselor to former US President Lyndon Johnson from 1966 to 1968 and was Carter's National Security Adviser from 1977 to 1981.
In May 1978, Brzezinski paid his first visit to China to lay the groundwork for the normalization of the relationship between China and the US. Speaking in 2014, Brzezinski said meeting with the Chinese leadership in 1978 was "one of the most intense, significant and engaging activity" in which he had participated.
"I do have to say, and particularly so to Chinese friends, that getting to know Deng Xiaoping was a source of enormous gratification to me. This was a genuine leader with a sense of direction but also with a sense of the larger picture in which you would operate," remarked the former US official.
Also in 1978, Brzezinski helped Carter to attain the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. He was a major player behind the failed US mission in 1980 to rescue US hostages held in Iran after the overthrow of the Shah of Iran.
Brzezinski was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1981 for his role in the normalization of the US-China relationship and his contributions to US national security policies and human rights.
After the Carter presidency, Brzezinski became a professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University and a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.
Despite his retirement from US politics, Brzezinski remained an acute observer of later US administrations and US-China relations. He was an outspoken critic of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq from the very beginning.
Speaking late last year at a joint session with Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai, Brzezinski called on both China and the US to keep closer dialogue against an increasing complex world political background.
"I think the final analysis is the question of frequency of contact at higher levels and genuine openness and sincerity in the interaction. Unless we do that in a systematic basis, the process will become increasingly formalistic and meaningless. And I think the right time for doing something like this is now," said Brzezinski.