Friday, March 18, 2005

George Kennan, 1904-2005

George Kennan, one of the architects of “containment” policy during the Cold War, passed away yesterday in Princeton at the age of 101. See the Washinton Post story and the NY Times story. Kennan’s writing was erudite, stylish, prolific, and influential; his “Long Telegram” written as a foreign service officer shaped the views of government policymakers on the Soviet Union and his “X Article” in Foreign Affairs in 1947 did the same for public opinion more generally.

Kennan was one of the parents of modern realism. His critique of “legalistic/moralistic” foreign policy-making is famous. Anyone interested in his views of foreign policy more generally should read American Diplomacy, one of the great short works of realist thinking (and another of the International Law “Must Reads” ).

Influential or not, Kennan’s views were not always easy to swallow. As the Washington Post reports:

Believing as he did in a limitless human capacity for error, Mr. Kennan was an unabashed elitist who distrusted democratic processes. Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas reported in their book "The Wise Men" that he suggested in an unpublished work that women, blacks and immigrants be disenfranchised. He deplored the automobile, computers, commercialism, environmental degradation and other manifestations of modern life. He loathed popular American culture. In his memoirs, he described himself as a "guest of one's time and not a member of its household."

Beyond his criticism of international law, one wonders what Kennan would have made of current American foreign policy. The Washington Post continues:

A touchstone of his worldview was the conviction that the United States cannot reshape other countries in its own image and that, with a few exceptions, its efforts to police the world are neither in its interests nor within the scope of its resources.

"This whole tendency to see ourselves as the center of political enlightenment and as teachers to a great part of the rest of the world strikes me as unthought-through, vainglorious and undesirable," he said in an interview with the New York Review of Books in 1999.

"I would like to see our government gradually withdraw from its public advocacy of democracy and human rights. I submit that governments should deal with other governments as such, and should avoid unnecessary involvement, particularly personal involvement, with their leaders."

You could fill a couple of book cases with books by or about George Kennan. For biography, I suggest Walter Isaacson’s and Evan Thomas’ The Wise Men, a joint biography of Kennan, Dean Acheson, John McCloy, Averell Harriman, Robert Bohlen, and Robert Lovett. It is an outstanding history of the Cold War as well as an insightful biography of these men.

More generally, on American strategic thought during that era and on how Kennan’s views diverged from containment policy in practice, see John Lewis Gaddis’ Strategies of Containment. See also Gaddis’ essay, “Reconsidering Containment."

A brilliant and complex man whose skepticism led to both useful and useless (or worse) theories and prescriptions, Kennan was marked by, and left his mark on, the twentieth century.

5 Comments:

Blogger GuildWars2Items said...

It's a serious question D3 Power Leveling and one you're likely not asked all that often Diablo iii Power Leveling, successful in each endeavor D3 PowerLeveling, take a look at what you do each day and ask yourself "why am I doing this?"

At twenty years of age, the will reigns; at thirty, the wit; and at forty, the judgment c9 gold, Fear not that the life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning c9 online gold, do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.Pray for powers equal to your tasks.Then the doing of work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle buy c9 gold.

4/19/2013 1:17 AM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 08.04
oakley sunglasses, nike air max, michael kors outlet, prada outlet, tiffany jewelry, louboutin shoes, nike outlet, michael kors outlet online, kate spade outlet, tiffany jewelry, burberry factory outlet, oakley sunglasses, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors handbags, longchamp outlet, chanel handbags, michael kors, nike air max, kate spade, coach purses, nike free, replica watches, cheap jordans, ray ban sunglasses, prada handbags, louboutin uk, gucci handbags, burberry outlet, michael kors outlet store, true religion outlet, ralph lauren polo, ray ban sunglasses, coach outlet, coach outlet store online, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin, christian louboutin, ralph lauren outlet, tory burch outlet, longchamp bags

8/03/2015 9:42 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike air force, jordan pas cher, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch UK, vanessa bruno pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, nike air max, true religion outlet, polo lacoste pas cher, michael kors uk, nike air max pas cher, lunette ray ban pas cher, north face pas cher, louboutin pas cher, longchamp soldes, michael kors, hermes pas cher, converse, nike air max uk, nike air max uk, nike free, polo ralph lauren uk, burberry pas cher, longchamp pas cher, nike free pas cher, nike roshe run pas cher, north face uk, mulberry uk, lululemon outlet, hollister uk, michael kors outlet online, true religion outlet, timberland pas cher, nike tn pas cher, ray ban uk, lunette oakley pas cher, hogan sito ufficiale, new balance, sac guess pas cher, true religion jeans, abercrombie and fitch, ralph lauren pas cher

8/03/2015 9:43 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

beats by dre, babyliss pro, nike roshe run, hollister clothing, abercrombie, mcm handbags, p90x workout, nike trainers uk, wedding dresses, softball bats, timberland boots, insanity workout, nike air huarache, instyler ionic styler, herve leger, lululemon outlet, north face outlet, asics running shoes, new balance shoes, valentino shoes, mac cosmetics, chi flat iron, hermes handbags, iphone 6 cases, nfl jerseys, nike air max, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes, celine handbags, nike roshe uk, oakley, reebok outlet, salvatore ferragamo, north face outlet, giuseppe zanotti, abercrombie and fitch, ghd hair, mont blanc, vans outlet, bottega veneta, jimmy choo outlet, longchamp uk

8/03/2015 9:45 PM  
Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

coach outlet, pandora jewelry, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, hollister, pandora uk, converse shoes outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora charms, vans scarpe, ray ban, toms shoes, ugg pas cher, gucci, bottes ugg pas cher, uggs on sale, converse, replica watches, swarovski jewelry, thomas sabo uk, uggs on sale, wedding dresses uk, uggs outlet, supra shoes, marc jacobs, uggs on sale, juicy couture outlet, links of london uk, louboutin, ugg uk, juicy couture outlet, polo ralph lauren, hollister, montre pas cher, karen millen uk, lancel, swarovski uk, nike air max, uggs outlet
ninest123 08.04

8/03/2015 9:47 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home