[Marxism] George F. Kennan

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 18 07:38:48 MST 2005

 From Policy Planning Study 23, written by George Kennan for the State
Department planning staff in 1948:

"we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its 
population....In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy 
and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern 
of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of 
disparity....To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and 
day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on 
our immediate national objectives....We should cease to talk about vague 
and...unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living 
standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to 
have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by 
idealistic slogans, the better."

NY Times, March 18, 2005
George F. Kennan Dies at 101; Leading Strategist of Cold War

George F. Kennan, the American diplomat who did more than any other envoy 
of his generation to shape United States policy during the cold war, died 
on Thursday night in Princeton, N.J. He was 101.

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.

By the end of his long, productive life, Mr. Kennan had become a phenomenon 
in international affairs, with seminars held and books written to debate 
and analyze his extraordinary influence on American policy during the cold 
war. He was the author of 17 books, two of them Pulitzer Prize-winners, and 
countless articles in leading journals.

His writing, from classified cables to memoirs, was the force that made him 
"the nearest thing to a legend that this country's diplomatic service has 
ever produced," in the words of the historian Ronald Steel.

"He'll be remembered as a diplomatist and a grand strategist," said John 
Lewis Gaddis, a leading historian of the cold war, who is preparing a 
biography of Mr. Kennan. "But he saw himself as a literary figure. He would 
have loved to have been a poet, a novelist."

Morton H. Halperin, who was chief of policy planning during the Clinton 
administration, said Mr. Kennan "set a standard that all his successors 
have sought to follow."

Mr. Halperin said Mr. Kennan understood the need to talk truth to power no 
matter how unpopular, and made clear his belief that containment was 
primarily a political and diplomatic policy rather than a military one. 
"His career since is clear proof that no matter how important the role of 
the policy planning director, a private citizen can have an even greater 
impact with the strength of his ideas."

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/18/politics/18kennan.html



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