March 21, 2005


I missed this one. George Kennan, 101, died last week in Princeton.

If you don't know who George Kennan---or his alter-ego Mr. X---was, you're forgiven. It's one of those obscure things you learn as a political science major (I'm sure Steve-o--Mr. PoliSci Professore---will add his own two cents worth on this one), but hasn't spread much to the mainstream. In 1946, Kennan, who was working at the US Embassy in Moscow sent back to Dee Cee what will forever be referred to as the "Long Telegram." In it, he sounded the first post-war alarm about Stalin's ambitions and behavior, in effect, predicting the Cold War. He proposed what was ultimately to become the linchpin in the U.S.'s policy toward the Soviet Union: containment. He was the one who coined the phrase and the next year, he condensed the "Long Telegram" into an article for Foreign Affairs and published it under the psuedonym "X." If you're interested in reading it, you can find the article here.

In short, he was the guy who came up with the original strategy that helped us to ultimately win the Cold War. He deserves a healthy heaping of gratitude for his foresight.

RIP Mr. X.

Posted by Kathy at March 21, 2005 01:29 PM

"one of those obscure things you learn as a political science major"

Well, here in Europe, I first heard about him at high school history lessons (if I remember correctly). Hardly obscure. Ignorance of Kennan is unforgivable.

Posted by: lemuel at March 21, 2005 02:54 PM
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