Mind in the gutter

I literally laughed out loud on the metro when I read this passage of the New Yorker’s review of the new George Kennan biography:

When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, twenty-two months later, Stalin was completely unprepared – one reason that the death toll in the East was so enormous. The Wehrmacht had come within sight of Moscow; it cost the Soviets almost a million lives to beat the Germans off.

The review of John Lewis Gaddis’ book, “George F. Kennan: An American Life”, is pretty good. History and international affairs buffs will enjoy: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2011/11/14/111114crat_atlarge_menand

The overarching message is that Kennan’s concept of containment was misconstrued, it was meant to be a strategy of continual engagement via soft power instead of aggressive military action. According to the author, Kennan’s ‘great, overriding point’ is that ‘we need to be realists because we cannot trust ourselves to be moralists’, and ‘containment was intended as a continual reminder that we do not know what is best for others.’ Hear hear.

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