George Kennan prototype American monster.
"Is it not clear that as long as capitalist encirclement exists there will be wreckers, spies, diversionists and murderers in our country sent behind our lines by the agents of foreign states?"
Joseph Stalin, 1937
“USSR still lives in antagonistic capitalist encirclement with which in the long run there can be no permanent peaceful coexistence.”
-from The Long Telegram, which Kennan composed in February, 1946
Today, under the pressure of seemingly insoluble international problems and continuing deadlocks, the tide of American public opinion is again turning against Russia. In this reaction lies one of the dangers to which this letter is addressed.
-Henry Wallace July 23, 1946
I always thought Henry Wallace could've made a difference as president. Recent events make clear it was a pipe dream, a naïve wish. Hegemonic World capitalism centered in the United States is antithetical to the existence of a countervailing power which Russia (still) represents. Kennan was the clear-eyed enforcer of the Realpolitik in which we are still held captive.
The Wise Men The book identifies six people who were important foreign policy advisors to US presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson and were influential in the development of Cold War era foreign policy for America. The six are:
Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under President Harry Truman
Charles E. Bohlen, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, the Philippines, and France
W. Averell Harriman, special envoy for President Franklin Roosevelt
George F. Kennan, ambassador to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia
Robert A. Lovett, Truman's Secretary of Defense
John J. McCloy, a War Department official and later US High Commissioner for Germany.
The group helped to create a bipartisan foreign policy based on resistance to the expansion of Soviet power. The authors describe them as the hidden architects behind the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and Cold War containment. Kennan, in particular, is regarded as "the father of containment."
George F. Kennan’s Cold War - The New Yorker
When historians discuss American actions in the Cold War, usually the first texts they cite are the Long Telegram, which Kennan composed in February, 1946, and the so-called X article, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” which he published, in Foreign Affairs, a year and a half later. Vietnam seems the lineal offspring of those pieces. Was Kennan misunderstood? The question is at the heart of any assessment of his career.
Later on in life he planted revisionist comments that were lapped up by willing hagiographers:
If Kennan had prevailed
His warnings about Soviet intentions and ideology, he said, were meant as a call to political action, not military build-up. The threat was less the Red Army than the discontent of impoverished peoples who might turn to Communism.
George Kennan, the wisest of the wise men indeed…