The Case for 'Integration'Issue: Fall 2005
In 2005 we saw the 101st anniversary of the birth, and the death, of George Kennan, widely acknowledged as the principal architect of containment, the doctrine that guided U.S. foreign policy for roughly forty years of the Cold War. Containment--in Kennan's formulation, "a commitment to countering the Soviet Union wherever it encroached upon the interests of a peaceful and stable world"--implicitly and correctly rejected two dangerous alternatives: appeasement of the Soviet and communist threat on the one hand (that would have led to a global diminution of security, freedom and prosperity) and direct confrontation on the other (all too dangerous in a nuclear era). Containment not only largely frustrated Soviet and communist expansion, it contributed to creating a context in which communism ceased to constitute either a geopolitical or ideological challenge to America. The Berlin Wall came down in 1989; the Soviet Union itself imploded two years later.