Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish Polish-born Cold War strategist and former top aide to US president Jimmy Carter, has died, his family said. He was 89.
“My father passed away peacefully tonight,” MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski said on Instagram late on Friday.
“He was known to his friends as Zbig, to his grandchildren as Chief and to his wife as the enduring love of her life. I just knew him as the most inspiring, loving and devoted father any girl could ever have,” she wrote.
Born in Warsaw to a diplomat father, Brzezinski moved with his family to Canada in the late 1930s. He went on to attend McGill University in Montreal then earned a doctorate from Harvard, later becoming a US citizen.
After serving under president Lyndon Johnson, he went on to become Carter’s national security adviser during the Iranian hostage crisis.
He was a driving force behind the failed US commando mission to rescue the hostages, after which he resigned. He believed Soviet influence would sweep through Iran if US strength did not prevail in the drama.
Nominally a Democrat, he leaned conservative on security matters. A tough critic of the Soviet Union, he also helped broker the Camp David accords and worked on normalizing relations with China.
Though a rigorous anti-communist, he held that US interests around the world should be addressed in terms of strategy and practicality, not ideology. (AFP)
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Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter, center, talks with Zbigniew Brzezinski of Columbia University and Carters foreign policy advisor, left, and Stuart Eizenstat, director of issues and policies, second from left, Thursday, July 29, 1976, Plains, Ga. Carter is being briefed on foreign policy in the Carter pond house which is used as country home. The man on the right is unidentified. (Photo: Peter Bregg/AP)
President-elect Jimmy Carter talks with his new appointees after they were named during a news conference in Plains, Ga., on Thursday Dec. 17, 1976. They are from left: Rep. Andrew Young (D.Ga.) to be U.N Ambassador; Zbigniew Brzezinski, head of the National Security Council; Charles Schultze, Chairman of the Economic Advisors council. (Photo: AP)
Huang Chen, chief of the liaison office of the People’s Republic of China, left, meets with President Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office in Washington, Feb. 8, 1977. From left are Huang; Hsu Shan Wei, an interpreter; Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security advisor, and Carter. In the background are newsmen. (Photo: Harvey Georges/AP)
Vice President Walter Mondale right, pauses during his day at the White House, Monday, July 19, 1977 to chat with secretary of State Cyrus Vance, left, and Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, assistance to the President for national security affairs. (Photo: AP)
National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, left, chats with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin during a breakfast meeting at Blair House in Washington Wednesday, July 20, 1977. Begin is in the Capital for talks with President Jimmy Carter.(Photo: Barry Thumma/AP)
Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski National security advisor to President Carter in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 29, 1977. (Photo: PSR/AP)
First lady Rosalynn Carter meets with Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, right, in Warsaw, Dec. 30, 1977. Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security affairs advisors to the President Carter, also attended the meeting. (Photo: White House Pool/AP)
President Jimmy Carter (2nd from left), his National Security Affairs Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (r) and Sec. of State Cyrus Vance (l. from Carter) face Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran (2nd l.) and the Iranian ambassador in Washington Adeshir Zahedi (l.) during talks on Dec. 31, 1977 at Tehran’s White Palace of Saadabad. (Photo: HF/AP)
National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and Central Intelligence Agency Director Stansfield Turner await the start of a meeting in the Cabinet Room at the White House on Jan. 24, 1978. (Photo: Wally McNamee/Corbis via Getty Images)
West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, right, responds to newsmen “I hope you are all in good humor, if not, you can have some of ours,” prior to his talks with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Pres. Jimmy Carters national security adviser, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 1978, Bonn, Germany. (Photo: Klaus Schlagmann/AP)
President Jimmy Carter greets members of the Egyptian delegation to the Mideast peace talks at the White House, Washington on Oct. 11, 1978. From left: U.S. National Security Affairs Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Amb. Alfred Atherton; acting Egyptian Foreign Minister Boutros Ghali, Egyptian Defense Minister General Kamel Hassan Ali, and Carter. (Photo: Cook/AP)
The head of the Iiaison office of the peoples Republic of China Chai Tse-Min, left, and U.S. National Security Affairs Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski touch glasses the opening of diplomatic relations looks on at center during toasts honoring the opening of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. in Washington, on Monday, Jan. 2, 1979. At rear, under flags of the U.S. and China, are the wife of the vice-president, Joan Mondale, and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. (Photo: Ira Schwarz/AP)
President Jimmy Carter, flanked by Secretary of State Vance, right, and his advisor on foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski, walked toward a waiting helicopter to fly to the nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, Feb. 14, 1979. The president is headed to Mexico for a 3-day visit. (Photo: Bob Daugherty/AP)
President Jimmy Carter met with his top advisors and American delegation to the Mideast peace talks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington on Friday, March 2, 1979. The President is planning to meet with Prime Minister Begin again on Saturday. From left are Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Carter, and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. (Photo: Ira Schwarz/AP)
Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Mustafa Khalil, foreground, look back at the photographers as the U.S. delegation looks on across the table during a meeting in Alexandria Friday, March 9, 1979. The U.S. delegation, from left, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, President Jimmy Carter, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ambassador Hermann Eilts and Ambassador at large Alfred Atherton. (Photo: AP)
National Security Affairs Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski tells a Washington news briefing in Washington, Friday, May 11, 1979 that President Carter and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev will meet from June 15 to 18 in Vienna to sign their new Salt II treaty. (Photo: Tasnadi/AP)
View over the conference table inside the Soviet Embassy shows at the left side the American and at right the Soviet delegation, Sunday, June 17, 1979, Vienna, Austria. Pres. Jimmy Carter, third from left, is flanked by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski; Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev, fourth from right, is flanked by soviet Defense Minister Marshal Ustinov and his Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko. (Photo: AP)
Pres. Jimmy Carters National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, left, and his aide Jerrold Schecter share a morning jog just outside the White House, Monday, Aug. 6, 1979, Washington, D.C. The two braved Washingtons heat and humidity for their run. (Photo: Ira Schwarz/AP)
President Carter chats with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, right, and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski outside the White House in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 1979. The three men confer moments before Carter welcomed an official visitor to the Rose Garden. (Photo: Georges/AP)
Zbigniew Brzezinski National security advisor to the President shown at the hotel on Sept. 17, 1979 where he attended dinner of the American section of the world Jewish Congress. (Photo: RP/AP)
President Jimmy Carter faces reporters in the White House press room, Dec. 28, 1979. National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, left, and White House Press Secretary Jody Powell look on. Carter commented on the situations in Afghanistan and Iran. (Photo: AP)
Sen. Claiborne Pell, left, gestures as he talks with Zbigniew Brzezinski, assistant to Pres. Jimmy Carter for National Security, far right, during a break in testimony the Senate Judiciary Special Subcommittee investigating Billy Carters ties with Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 1980, Washington, D.C. In a heated debate with Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., earlier in the day, Brzezinski denied that he became a political trouble-shooter when he called the President’s brother Billy to warn him that he might be damaging the U.S. by dealing with the Libyan government. (Photo: Barry Thumma/AP)
National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski adjusts his coat prior to appearing on ABC’s ‘Issues and Answers’ on April 27, 1980. Top administration officials reacted with disgust to reports that Iran may demand some form of payment for the return of the bodies of eight Americans killed in last week’s aborted rescue efforts. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty IMages)
President Carter shakes hands with his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, as he presents Brzezinski with the Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony on Friday, Jan. 17, 1981 in Washington. Brzezinski was one of 15 recipients of the nation?s highest civilian awards, presented for service to U. S. security or national interests, world peace or cultural endeavors. (Photo: AP)
Former National Security Adviser in the Carter administration, Zbigniew Brzezinski is interviewed by the Associated Press, Thursday, March 26, 1981, Washington, D.C. Brzezinski commented on the recent naming of Vice Pres. George H. W. Bush to head a national foreign policy crisis center, by Pres. Ronald Reagan. (Photo: Ira Schwarz/AP)
Chinese Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping makes a point during a recent talk with former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in the great hall of the people in Peking, China, July 19, 1981. Brzezinski, who served the Carter administration, spends two weeks in China. (Photo: Phil Brown/AP)
Pope John Paul II, second from right, shakes hands with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, left, during an audience with the Pontiff granted to the members of the Trilateral Commission, a non-governmental organization of U.S., European and Japanese leaders, Monday, April 18, 1983, Vatican City, Italy. In center is Marella Agnelli, wife of President of FIAT automaker Gianni Agnelli. (Photo: Claudio Luffoli/AP)
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor under Pres. Jimmy Carter, demonstrates his form after being shown how to play polo Indian style on an elephant, April 15, 1984, West Palm Beach, Fla. The demonstration was a prelude to the Piaget World Cup Polo Match. (Photo: Ray Fairall/AP)
Former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, speaking in March 1989. (Photo: Marty Lederhandler/AP)
Former Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (L) and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe and retired Army General Wesley Clark attend a meeting in the office of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid before a news conference at the Capitol on Sept. 13, 2006 in Washington. Congressional Democratic leaders and national security experts were critical of the Bush Administration and its handling of the “War on Terror” and are calling for a new direction in security policies. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Former National Security Advisers Brent Scowcroft, left, and Zbigniew Brezezinski arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 5, 2009, prior to testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S. strategy in Iran. (Photo: Harry Hamburg/AP)
Zbigniew Brzezinski, counselor and trustee, Center For Strategic And International Studies, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s hearing to examine global challenges and U.S. national security strategy. (Photo: Cliff Owen/AP)
Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (L) and Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger are pictured at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Oslo, Norway on Dec. 11, 2016. (Photo: Terje Bendiksby/AFP/Getty Images)