chapter  Chapter Seven
4 Pages

Not History But Morality

ByZbigniew Brzezinski

The role of history in statecraft is not only a matter of the statesman's personal interest in the subject itself. It is also a question of national consciousness. Political leadership in a historically conscious nation tends to identify itself with the nation's subconsciously endowed personal identity. National history thus becomes an extension of personal memory, truly motivating political behavior. The historical dimension is certainly evident in such critical national decisions as the French determination to acquire its own national nuclear deterrent or in the growing internal problems for Moscow over the proper relationship between the Russian-dominated political center and the non-Russian nations within the Soviet Union. In effect, the grounding of national policy in a historically shaped geostrategy has been uncongenial to most American leaders. A historical consciousness also conditions both the leader and his people to accept the reality of conflict on the global scene as something quite normal.