Thursday, March 24, 2005


Kennan’s Advice

James Carroll in the Boston Globe writes that following the advice of George Kennan would have brought us closer to peace and farther from the arms race. If Kennan’s views had prevailed, he writes, lots of bad things, such as the Vietnam War, would not have happened.

But statesmen can be such a mixed bag. Certainly Kennan counseled against the development and use of nuclear weapons, and said a lot of other things that made sense. But for contrast, I refer you to a document entitled “Policy Planning Study 23,” which was written by a team headed by Kennan. A quick read of the paragraph in the middle of page 524 will be enough to show what advice of Kennan has been most taken to heart by the US government.

And that’s why we’re able to live such extravagant lifestyles — unlike most of the rest of the world. Do you thank him or curse him? I’ll bet you have mixed feelings.

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