Containment as a Form of US Foreign Policy after WWII

Containment as a Form of US Foreign Policy after WWII

Document details
Category: Communications Essay
Subcategory: Business/Organizational Communication
Words: 515
Pages: 1

The term containment describes the foreign policy strategy pursued by the United States after the Second World War. The term was introduced into the public debate by George F. Kennan, a diplomat and U.S. State Department adviser on Soviet affairs. In his famous anonymous X-article Kennan suggested a "long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies." The Strategy of Containment found its first application in the Truman Doctrine of 1947, which guaranteed immediate economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey. John Lewis Gaddis has argued that all post-1945 U.S. foreign policy doctrines and concepts were in some way "Strategies of Containment." How was the concept of containment developed you may ask? For Kennan containment was a political concept. As a strategy, containment sought to achieve three goals the restoration of the balance of power in Europe, the curtailment of Soviet power projection, and the modification of the Soviet conception of international relations. The first goal of the containment theory was restoration of the balance of power. According to Kennan, the ultimate goal of U.S. foreign policy should not be the division of the world into Soviet and American spheres of influences. Rather, U.S. foreign policy should aid the establishment of independent centers of power in Europe and Asia and help encourage self-confidence in nations threatened by Soviet expansionism. In order to aid the establishment of diverse concentrations of power, Kennan believed it was vital to use restraint. For that purpose he suggested a long-term economic aid program. The aid program should treat geographical regions as a whole, and aid recipients should be responsible for the planning. The U.S. should only minimally interfere in internal affairs and should help specifically those that were willing to help themselves. In order to avoid overexertion the U.S. should concentrate on the vital but vulnerable industrial centers in Western Europe and Japan and only in a second step consider island strongholds such as Okinawa and Philippines...

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