The Donkey, the Carrot, and the Club: William C. Bullitt and Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1948

The Donkey, the Carrot, and the Club: William C. Bullitt and Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1948

The Donkey, the Carrot, and the Club: William C. Bullitt and Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1948

The Donkey, the Carrot, and the Club: William C. Bullitt and Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1948

Excerpt

This work is first and foremost a biography of William C. Bullitt. It tells the story of those years when Bullitt was intimately connected to Russia and the Soviet Union. It focuses on perhaps the most charming, thoughtful, and devious person in the interwar and early postwar years of Soviet-American relations. Bullitt is a fascinating human being, for better or worse. The work also tells the story of those whom Bullitt tried to reason with and persuade, and those he attempted to bully and cajole to ensure that the United States reached its objectives in Soviet–American relations. If the work is exciting, enlightening, and frustrating it is because William C. Bullitt is all that and more.

I originally intended to tell the story of ideology through Bullitt, but realized after the first few drafts that the work had two too many themes: ideological conflict and William C. Bullitt, the person and diplomat. After a reviewer bludgeoned me with criticism about my schizophrenic work, it came to me that if I simply let Bullitt and his truculent Soviet adversary, Maksim Litvinov, tell their tale of Soviet–American relations in their own words, in their own time, I had little to do in order for ideology to come forward as a player in this story.

Ideology, in particular Wilsonian international liberalism and Marxism– Leninism, shines throughout this work because it meant so much to Bullitt and the Soviet leadership he dealt with on a regular basis. Thus, one of the major points of this work is how ideology colored Bullitt’s view of Soviet– American relations from 1917 to 1948. Belief systems are amazingly powerful. Nationalism, for example, can carry a people to the moon or to the wholesale slaughter of neighboring peoples. William C. Bullitt lived by bis belief in Wilsonian international liberalism. To be sure, foreign policy making is com-

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