Q - I would like to start about Syria. You are suggesting that Turkey might be one of the key players to resolve ongoing situation in Syria and may take the lead of possible military intervention. What would be the outcomes of this situation for Turkey?
Dr. Brzezinski: First of all I didn't say that the primary mission of Turkey would be to organize the military intervention. What I sad was that Turkey is the most important neighbor of Syria, Turkey has the economic power, the energy and dynamism and the military power to play a critical role if it need to be. And that really is up to Turkey, up to Saudi Arabia to some extent to formulate a kind of policy that the region itself with find most beneficial and the U.S. should then support it.
Q- In your opinion what should be done in Syria right now?
Dr. Brzezinski: I am not recommending what should be done in Syria because it is not my responsibility. In my view it is not primarily America's responsibility. The problem is for the region and we have friends in the region. We have reliable friends. Turkey has been an important player in NATO, in my view Turkey should be in some fashion in Europe and the Euro-Atlantic Community. So I would be inclined to follow whatever decision whatever consensus Turkey reaches as to what is ought to be done or perhaps what ought not be done.
Q- How about "Friends of Syria" group and Syrian Opposition? Syrian Opposition seemed divided and non-unified in some extent?
Dr. Brzezinski: I have sad previously that there are significant contrasts between Syria and Libya. Assad is not Qaddafi. Qaddafi was literally, I am sorry to say " crazy". Secondly opposition in Libya was composed of serious major players. Politically and militarily and it was not controlled significant part of the territory almost the one half of time beginning of the hostilities. Clearly that is not the case in Syria. For this reason problem is much more complicated. And simplistic solutions are not likely to b/e the best solutions.
Q- Then, in what conditions Assad would fall?
Dr. Brzezinski: I am not an expert on Syria and I am not going to resolve issues. Intellectually that is really the responsibility of neighbors of the Syria. The countries that are in the region and aware of what are some of the potential implications of a very major explosion in the region.
Q- You have underlined many times in the past that there will be no peace in the region without reconciliation in Israel-Palestine peace process. What would you suggest Obama administration to solve this conflict?
Dr. Brzezinski: I think one has to bare in mind that the majority of Israelis and majority of Palestinians want the problem to be solved peacefully. And peaceful solution to the problem cannot be a one-sided solution, in which one side imposes its will on the other side. There are elements among the Palestinians who believe in extreme solutions in effect the eradication of the State of Israel. 4.43. There are people on the Israeli side who believe in simple solutions. The incorporation one way or another of the entire West Bank of the so-called "former British mandate" of Palestine into Israel. These solutions will not work. The further consideration that has to be born in mind is that history teaches us, experience teaches us. Over the last 30 years that left to themselves, Palestinians and Israelis will never agree on compromise. Palestinians are too weak to make compromise recommendations; Israelis are too strong to feel inclined to make compromise suggestions. So requires a mediator who can be active and assertive and can in effect create an international consensus for fair and equitable solutions. And I've sad many times what is ought to be. No right of return for the descendents of the Palestinian refugees. We cannot expect Israel to commit the suicide demographically. The sharing of the Jerusalem. If Jerusalem is not shared it would be in itself a refutation that the agreement is a compromise. A significant part of Jerusalem is Arab and has been so for centuries and centuries that can't be ignored. Three, a compromise on the territorial issue based on 1967 lines. There is great international consensus regarding that. With changes because of some of the settlements but with compensatory territorial arrangements then for the Palestinians. So that in the end the Palestinians don't have less land then they have right now which is only 22 percent. Israelis already have 78 percent. And last by not least a genuinely demilitarize Palestinian State. May be some NATO presence on the Jordon River. So the Israelis feeling of security in depth. I think the formula like that is the only formula for compromise solution. Any other solution will be a one sided and therefore unfair solution, which will not endure.
Do you expect more aggressive policy on to that by Obama Administration if he gets elected for 4 more years?
The president has been very consistently saying that he is dedicated to find a solution because he knows absence of solution is unfair to the Palestinians who are suffering, its unfair to the Israelis because perpetuates the situation in which they are not accepted in the region. And in the long run as America disengages from the region the fact that Israelis are not accepted in the region could become to be very dangerous to the survival of Israel.
A Proxy War between Saudi Arabia and Iran seems to be like emerging and might be proceed to be a regional conflict? Where Turkey stands in this picture as friends of both and many other neighboring countries in the region?
I think Turkey interested as the international community in regional stability and regional accommodation. So at this stage I think whatever can be done to avoid regional explosion is something very timely very important and ultimately to the advantage of Turkey.
As you have mentioned in your recent book " Strategic Vision" that beyond 2025 there is a need for the larger West in Euro-Atlantic Alliance and for that reason U.S. should embrace Russia and Turkey to enlarge this alliance. So, in this context, what U.S. administration can do more for Turkey's inclusion in European Union?
Well, first of all Turkey is negotiating with European Union although the negotiations going very slowly. Still Turkey has proven over the last almost hundred years that it is determine to modernize itself and democratize itself on the European Model. So it has a very strong case for being included in larger Euro-Atlantic Community. I don't specifically argue that Turkey has to be in the EU in European Union such. That depends on decisions made by Europeans and Turks but the Euro-Atlantic community can also include within it a European Union as larger or smaller and can include Turkey. Turkey is already in NATO. So, Turkey is already in a half way in a member of Euro-Atlantic Community. I think Turkey would add great vitality to the West and Turkey would be more secure and better positioned to play a global role. The case with Russia is more complicated because Russia is not yet a democracy. Turkey is far ahead of Russia in social transformation. As all Turks know the transformation of Turkey began just a few years after the transformation of Russia and the communists. The difference is that Ataturk was much more successful than Lenin or Stalin. This is why Turkey is ahead but I am optimistic that after Putin or maybe even if Putin begins to be little more realistic and little less nostalgic for the past empire. Begins to realize that it is Russia's interest to change and facilitates what is already happening anyway namely the emergence of the middle class. That is increasingly western an outlook democratic aspirations. Therefore I am relatively confident that if not as quickly as Turkey but in a decade or so Russia would be ready for this relationship with a Euro-Atlantic Community which I have described.
How do you think that the United States will maintain its position as a global power in next years?
It will maintain its position if it pursues intelligent foreign policies and I think Obama has a great improvement on George Bush II and it will maintain its position if it addresses seriously to some of the domestic problems. It is beginning to do that. In my book, which is called "strategic vision", I've outlined some of the domestic difficulties in America but I also outlined a vision in which America exploits the many assets it has. And it is still of all the major powers best positioned to be the preeminent world power. Even if not a hegemony, even if not the only superpower which seemed to be the case after 1990. I think we have to realize that in the course of this century no one power is going to be a dominant but some powers may be preeminent and if America is not preeminent we probably will experience for a while not the domination of some other power but more likely a more pervasive 12.31 turmoil worldwide.
If you were a National Security Council Adviser to the President Obama today what would you suggest him about revising his policy on Muslim World?
I don't think he has to revise his policy about the Muslim World. He spoke in Cairo and he spoke in Istanbul. I think people know what his position is and it is fundamentally different from the position of his predecessor. The only problem is he is now being pushed to go into war with Iran and that could have regionally destructive consequences. And if the consequences regionally destructive it will have wider internationally destructive consequences politically and economically. Therefore it is very important that President Obama advised by his European friends, advised by his NATO allies in both cases therefore including Turkey persuade a policy that is realistic but not hysterical not driven by fear or by hate but by intelligent realism.
Nur Özkan Erbay / Washington, DC