'Containment, Then and Now'

January 12, 1986

Kennan's view of post-World War II history is incorrect. He claims that 1940s-style containment was not intended to resist Soviet military threats, ignoring the fact that we fought the Korean War to counter just such a threat. And it is simply wrong to assert that the huge Soviet military machine of 1945 posed no threat to the United States or to our interests.

Even more ridiculous is Kennan's apparent dismissal of the very existence of Soviet imperialism today. He deliberately ignores the Soviet presence in Central America, since to mention this would devastate his silly claim that the areas the Soviets seek to add to their empire are "remote from our own defensive interests."

This claim itself has no validity; our defensive interests extend beyond our borders and surely include Southern African mineral resources, Middle Eastern oil, and crucial trade routes like the Suez and Panama canals. Kennan also ignores the fact that Africa is crawling with Cuban soldiers, servants of the Kremlin, and the role of the Soviets' Vietnamese ally is spreading Soviet rule in Southeast Asia.

Most outrageous of all, Kennan has the gall to suggest that the Soviet Union and the United States are really no different in how they act in the world, a statement that ought to make any decent American break Kennan's nose if given the chance.

The United States does not try to set up puppet regimes in every nation of the world as the Soviets are doing. The United States does not send bombs disguised as toys into Afghanistan to blow up innocent Afghan children, as the Soviet barbarians do, nor have we unleashed the terrors of chemical weapons upon Third World nations.

We have not shot down civilian airliners, slaughtering their innocent passengers. We do not maintain anything like the Serbsky Institute in Moscow, the "psychiatric hospital" where dissidents are tortured. Our government has never embarked on a deliberate policy of the murder of millions of innocent citizens of this country. Every one of these crimes stains the Soviet government, and there is a vast moral gulf between that government and our own, so that to suggest, as Kennan stupidly does, that our government is no different than theirs is to do violence to the very idea of morality and goodness.

Kennan is wrong to state that our current problem is to "contain the weapons race." Technology, including weapons, is always morally neutral and politically neutral. Our problem is the same as in 1945: we are faced with a nation, the Soviet Union, that seeks to rule the world and enslave its people, and that is restrained by no moral law since it acknowledges none.

We must resist Soviet imperialism and seek its overthrow, or we will all be their slaves in the end. If George Kennan is too stupid to face this obvious truth, he should have the grace and decency to refrain from inflicting his misleading, fallacious ideas on the rest of us.


San Marino

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