He was born in Warsaw, Poland, the son of a diplomat, and raised in Canada. He received a BA and MA from McGill University and a PhD. from Harvard University in 1953. Later, he became a United States citizen.
From 1977 to 1981, Brzezinski served as National Security Advisor to US President Jimmy Carter, where he was known for his hardline policies on the Soviet Union and his support for terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which were run by the CIA and Britain's MI6. There, future al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters were taught in bomb-making and other military arts. Brzezinski's policies had the explicit aim of promoting Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia to overthrow the immensely popular People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, the only secular government in the history of that country.