A Critical Analysis Of American Diplomacy By George Kennan
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A Critical Analysis of "American Diplomacy" by George Kennan
The book, "American Diplomacy" which is written by George Kennan, is one of the most influential work in the history of US that tackles a great deal of issues with thorough and careful analyses made by the author. It has been considered as one of the canon references when it concerns the history of American policies because of Kennan's background as a renowned political scientist and a key figure in the Cold War, with a considerable experience in diplomatic relations.
"American Diplomacy" basically tackles some of the most prominent events that were mentioned in historical books. However, Kennan, added some twist by putting some analyses and critique regarding the former American policies that led to the construction of the present state of public perception about the way the American foreign affairs should be handled.
Realism VS Moral and Legal Platitudes: Kennan's Perspective
In his book, Kennan undoubtedly speaks from the point of view of a realistic man who speaks of his own judgements regarding the American policies based from his own experience. The author does this without overloading his readers of some heavy academic and theoretical concepts. One of his critiques regarding the construction of policies in the US is the legalistic and moralistic approach which is evidently used until now.
Kennan deems that the American government should not heavily rely on these trite approaches while critically viewing the pertinent international concerns. He argued that this particular approach causes the implementation and conceptualization of American policies that are not effective and utilizes extreme methods. For instance, in the moralistic point of view, George W. Bush...
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...ught Kennan back to the present by applying some of his concepts in the present. He notes Gaddis who critiques Kennan by saying that "I have the habit of seeing two opposing sides of a question, both of them wrong, and then overstating myself, so that I appear to be inconsistent (2011).” This implies Gaddis perception of Kennan whom he deems as a person who neglects "the importance of timing" (Kissinger, 2011).
On the other hand, Kennan also had a chance to express his admiration of Gaddis by saying that he is “the best of the younger historians of American policy in the immediate postwar period (1977).” Although they have some conflicting views, one of the most important concepts of Kennan is supported by Gaddis. This is the view that the approach (in particular, to the USSR) was containment and not other actions like the ones that involve military aggression.