In a fascinating discussion on PBS News Hour, Zbigniew Brzezinski, (US National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981) promoting his new book, Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power, criticizes the American public’s understanding of world affairs as the least-informed of the developed countries of the world.
We see the consequences of an American public’s ignorance of world affairs in America’s foreign policy. How did this happen and what can be done to turn the tide? To enable real understanding of world affairs by the American public?
JEFFREY BROWN: Do you think the American people, the American political system is prepared to respond to this crisis you’re talking about? You’re talking about when you use words like diminishing power or a partner, rather than leader, balancer, these are sort of new terms that I wonder if people are prepared for or are able to respond to.
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: I think you’re really raising the fundamental question, because the part that’s dealing with America focuses not only on our economic social problems, but very much on what you have just right now said.
We are a democracy. We can only have as good a foreign policy as the public’s understanding of world affairs. And the tragedy is that the public’s understanding of world affairs in America today is abysmal.
JEFFREY BROWN: Abysmal.
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: It is ignorant. It is probably the least-informed public about the world among the developed countries in the world.