November 30, 2011

WHAT USE HAVE rEALISTS FOR DEMOCRACY?:

Big Thinker:  The diplomat who argued for "containment"--and lived to regret it: a review of George F. Kennan: An American Life,  By John Lewis Gaddis  (James Gibney, Winter 2011, American Scholar)

Not only did he conceive the now-totemic Marshall Plan and the policy of containment that guided the United States through the Cold War, but he also inaugurated the study of grand strategy at the National War College, created the Policy Planning Staff at the State Department, and helped define the realist school of foreign policy thinking. [...]

[B]arely had the idea of "containment" sprung from Kennan's brow before it took on a form that its creator would forever regret. Other more powerful, more supple U.S. policymakers gave his policy a militaristic and aggressive cast, using it to justify everything from a spiraling nuclear arms race to the war in Vietnam. As Gaddis writes, "Even after the Cold War had ended and the Soviet Union was itself history, Kennan regarded the 'success' of his strategy as a failure because it had taken so long to produce results, because the costs had been so high, and because the United States and its Western European allies had demanded, in the end, 'unconditional surrender.' "

Part of the problem was Kennan's disdain for the tug-and-pull of democracy...

Posted by at November 30, 2011 7:00 AM
  

blog comments powered by Disqus
« HISTORY ENDS EVERYWHERE: | Main | CAN IT MELT IF IT WAS NEVER SOLID?: »