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American Diplomacy Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1952

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Signet; 22 edition (December 1, 1952)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451611683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451611680
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,646,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This slim volume offers a good look at George F. Kennan's brand of realism, and the implications of this for his views on US diplomacy.

One of the major themes that emerges here: Kennan's skepticism that the U.S. tends to over-moralize in its foreign policy, at the expense of being able to appreciate power realities, to the detriment of our national interest.

For example, Kennan argues that had the U.S. given more credence to European political concerns prior to WWI, and recognized that these impacted U.S. security, then America might have been able to bring its influence to bear on Europe and help bring the senseless destruction of WWI to an earlier end. Kennan believes that a proper appraisal of U.S. interests at stake would have involved raising a large army before WWI, which could have backed up U.S. diplomacy.

Whether or not one agrees with Kennan's observations and assertions, this text prompts deeper reflection about the major impulses that have shaped, and continue to shape, U.S. foreign policy.

Readers should buy the later version of this book, which includes lectures from 1984, where Kennan discusses how his views evolved over the years. The book I am reviewing here is only a series of 1950 lectures, plus Kennan's famous "Sources of Soviet Conduct" article in Foreign Affairs, and another one, "America and the Russian Future."
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