George Kennan for Our Time examines the work and thought of the most distinguished American diplomat of the twentieth century and extracts lessons for today. In his writings and lectures, Kennan outlined the proper conduct of foreign policy and issued warnings to an American society on the edge of the abyss.
Lee Congdon identifies the principles Kennan applied to US relations with Russia and Eastern Europe, and to the Far and Near East. He takes particular note of Kennan's role in formulating postwar policy in Japan, measured response to North Korea's invasion of South Korea, and opposition to the war in Vietnam. Congdon also considers Kennan's strong criticisms of his own country, its egalitarianism, unrestricted immigration, and multiple addictions. He cites Kennan's call for a greater closeness to nature, a revival of religious faith, and a return to the representative government established by the Founding Fathers.
George Kennan for Our Time describes the often-disastrous results of rejecting Kennan's counsel, and the dangers, international and national, posed by an ongoing failure to draw upon his wisdom. In view of America's foreign policy disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world, Kennan's realist approach provides important lessons for our current age.
Lee Congdon is Professor Emeritus of History at James Madison University. He is the author of multiple books including, Seeing Red, George Kennan, and Solzhenitsyn.