President Carter's former national-security adviser says that last week's bombing over Libya was a ``necessary tragedy'' required by firm proof of Libyan involvement in terrorism against Americans. But Zbigniew Brzezinski adds that by placing too much emphasis on military responses to terrorism and ignoring its social and political roots, the United States could be risking diplomatic isolation and creating new opportunites for the Soviet Union in the Middle East.
``I support the President'' on the air strikes, Mr. Brzezinski said. ``But terrorism is a problem that can't be coped with by military action alone. We need to create the conditions in which support for terrorism is less justified and less attractive.''
In other comments to reporters over breakfast yesterday, Mr. Brzezinski dismissed recent Soviet calls for a treaty banning nuclear testing as ``part of a theatrical style of foreign-policy making'' on the part of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He says that since testing is so closely linked to the issues of verification and weapons modernization, it should be discussed in the overall context of the Geneva arms talks.
On a related issue, Brzezinski says the US should continue to abide by the terms of the 1979 SALT II treaty, which limits the growth of strategic, or long-range, nuclear arsenals. So far, both the US and Soviet Union have agreed to live within the ceilings prescribed by the unratified treaty. The Reagan administration is expected to announce this week whether it intends to stick with the SALT limits by retiring two missile-bearing Poseidon submarines when sea trials begin later this year for the seventh Trident submarine.
``The treaty at this stage poses somewhat more restraint on the Soviet Union [than the US] in terms of further weapons development,'' Brzezinski said.
Brzezinski, who now writes and lectures on foreign policy, says a larger strategy for dealing with terrorism begins with reactivating the Middle East peace process.
``When we were moving toward peace in the Middle East [during the 1970s], there was less terrorism, since we were viewed as mediators,'' he said.
Brzezinski says the US also needs to address its strained relations with key US allies in the region, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia and encourage Israel to support elections in the occupied West Bank to help develop moderate Palestianian leadership.
Brzezinski also reserved harsh words yesterday for Kurt Waldheim, the former UN secretary-general now running for president of Austria. Brzezinski says it was ``morally unacceptable'' for Waldheim to cover up his role as an intelligence officer for the Germans during World War II.