The ultimate mystery
Russia’s recent incursion into Crimea has brought back memories of the cold war. George F. Kennan, a scholar, historian, and State Department adviser, is known as the father of America’s “containment policy,” which was based on his conviction that the Soviet Union was expansionistic and that world peace depended on the United States and its allies containing Soviet territorial ambitions.
Kennan later became an eloquent critic of a U.S. foreign policy that favored dialogue with the Soviets. In perspective, some of his ideas and suggestions have been helpful, some not. I loved his 1993 book, Around the Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy.
In a recent issue of the New York Times (February 23), journalist Fareed Zakaria reviewed The Kennan Diaries, a collection of Kennan’s essays, letters, and meanderings. I was surprised when Zakaria said: “Kennan’s views were rooted in history, philosophy, and—somewhat surprising to me—faith.” On Good Friday, 1980, Kennan wrote in his diary: