Thank You, Professor Brzezinski

The National Interest

It is nearly a half century since I took a course called “Dynamics of Soviet Politics” by Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski. I knew a bit about him: he had taught at Harvard and moved to Columbia, where I was finishing my senior year, and had been a counselor to Lyndon Johnson. I also knew he was a Cold War hawk; like my own father, he hated the Communists, who drove his family out of their native country.

His classes were stunning. He lectured in rapid-fire fashion, his words hitting his student audience like so many machine-gun bullets. And he spoke in perfectly articulated, precise paragraphs: it was impossible to misunderstand what he said or why he said it.

His lectures were always full, but he seemed to have time for anyone who needed to see him. He was exceedingly generous to me (full disclosure: he gave me an excellent grade), and personified to a young graduating student what service to country was all about. That it was his adopted country simply elevated his stature in my eyes.

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