Author: George frost Kennan
George Frost Kennan, the American diplomat who did more than any other envoy of his generation to shape United States policy during the cold war, Mr. Kennan was the man to whom the White House and the Pentagon turned when they sought to understand the Soviet Union after World War II. He conceived the cold-war policy of containment, the idea that the United States should stop the global spread of Communism by diplomacy, politics, and covert action – by any means short of war.
As the State Department’s first policy planning chief in the late 1940’s, serving Secretary of State George C. Marshall, Mr. Kennan was an intellectual architect of the Marshall Plan, which sent billions of dollars of American aid to nations devastated by World War II. At the same time, he conceived a secret “political warfare” unit that aimed to roll back Communism, not merely contain it. His brainchild became the covert-operations directorate of the Central Intelligence Agency. Though Mr. Kennan left the Foreign Service more than half a century ago, he continued to be a leading thinker in international affairs until his death. Since the 1950’s he had been associated with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he was most recently a professor emeritus.
The book about American Diplomacy is written by George Kennan who was a realist. His knowledge and experience of foreign policy makes this book a good read by shedding light on various topics related to era of cold war. The book American Diplomacy is a collection of 6 chapters; successfully he displays an objective view on the topics that he has discussed in the lecture. In this book he has discussed American and Spanish war, open door of china, world wars and the US relation with Russia in addition of article Mr. X. In the very beginning of the book he indicated what motivated him to write this book American Diplomacy. He successfully argues that architects of American foreign policy during 19th century never thought the prosperity and way of life in America could be put jeopardy by outside world. However, after World War II this notion completely changed when nations advanced their military technology and the equation completely altered.
He explores Spanish and American war and argues people in this country had a sense of security vis-à-vis their world environment, suppose no people had ever had since the days of Roman Empire. Today that pattern is almost reversed- our national consciousness is dominated at present by a sense of insecurity greater even then that of many of the people of Western Europe who stand closer to and in a position far more vulnerable to those things that are the main source of our concern. He contends that US engages in wars but she does not consider the consequence of war when the conflicts come to an end which means that US often does not have a clear picture in post war periods or .
Kennan’s war analogies are certain sad appreciations. He again argues we have to come to about human nature on the basis of the experiences of these resent wars. One of them is that suffering does not always make men better or that people are not always more reasonable than government. Kennan also indicates that engaging in wars is not the most effective way to achieve goals especially political goals because war does not change the way people think if anything it makes them less inclined to change because war brings nothing but destruction, brutalization, scarifies of separations, domestic disintegration and the weakening of the deeper fabrics of society is a process which of itself can achieve no positive aims. He also states that war is a beginning not an end which is something Americans in general needs to understand for example war on Terror was a start and no one knows when and how it will end. In this book Kennan argues that policies of US are often idealist not realistic they imagine something and work on it as they think they don’t see the realist point the good example in modern times would be Iraq. US invaded the country and thought everything will get better and soon they will successes. Obviously that didn’t happen and one can see US faced many challenges and still struggling with Iraq problem.
The last chapters of the book are the two famous articles of Kennan. The first is the Mr. X, he wrote this article when he was an US ambassador to Moscow in 1946 in this article according to Kennan containment was primarily a political and economic rather than military, policy he impasses on Marshal Plan to rebuild Western Europe and to reduce appeal communism to Europeans. The other one is about the nature of Russian that gone to many challenges Kennan think that USSR’s Fall is inevitable he wants Russian people to think well of the US when that event happens. Both of these articles provide a valuable insight about how to study your enemy and the proper way to formulate US policy during delicate periods.
In general looking at the beginning of this book one can see that Kennan has managed this book in very good way through frank analysis and persuasive arguments in a way that a reader could comprehend. This book presented so many lessons from the first half of the twentieth century that, if heeded, could have possibly lessened some of the damages of the second half of the 20th century.