The Ethics of Realism

Hans Morgenthau and Reinhold Niebuhr--the fathers of American realism--understood that good intentions do not excuse failure.

Issue: Summer 2005

With the passing of George Kennan, the last living member of the most successful foreign policy team in modern American history has left the stage. Kennan, Charles Bohlen, Robert Lovett, George Marshall, Dean Acheson and Harry Truman--these are the giants who set the United States on the road to victory in the Cold War. The containment doctrine they developed was followed in one form or another until the collapse of the Soviet Union. Rarely in history has such analytical brilliance led to such wise policy recommendations being followed over such a long period of time.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!