Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Russia and Germany in the Life of the American Diplomat George Frost Kennan (toward His 110th Birthday)

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Russia and Germany in the Life of the American Diplomat George Frost Kennan (toward His 110th Birthday)

Article excerpt


A well-known American diplomat and historian George Frost Kennan's (1904-2005) activities studying is still a live issue today and brings us to a different regarding of the key aspects of international relations in the XXth century. Kennan is one of the founders of ideas of "political realism" in the history and theory of international relations and "power equation" in geopolitics as well as the author of the famous "doctrine of containment" which had provided the basis for the USA foreign policy for decades. In this regard the article is aimed at the complex evaluating of the role of Germany and Russia in the life of the American diplomat George Frost Kennan. While working on this article we used a historical-comparative approach enabling comparison of different events and different points of view as well as his own ones during different periods of his life. When studying the role of Russia in Kennan's life, it should be noted that with it his very first and bright diplomatic appointments are connected and they allowed exploring the Russian political system, developing a passion for the Russian culture, learning the Russian people, whom he had admired through his life. "Russian issue" had always been the cornerstone of not only Kennan's diplomatic, but also academic and social-political career. The German issue had also been widely regarded in the work of the diplomat.

Keywords: "containment doctrine", international relations, Soviet-American relationships, diplomacy, foreign policy

1. Introduction

Today, a lot is said and written about the era of the "cold war", antagonistic contradictions between the two world systems, complex relationship problems of relations of different states in this era are touched upon. All this only shows that even today not everything is fully understood in this regard and the issue of the complex relationships is not so clear as it might seem first. The reasons for the ideological and geopolitical confrontation between two irreconcilable systems, their rivalry with each other, and most importantly - the outcome of this confrontation, that is what makes it interesting for researchers throughout the world. But the most important thing is what impact these events have on the world today, on the current status of Russia on the international level, on its image in the world and its relations with other states.

When it comes to the "cold war", its premises, causes and, of course, the outcome we begin to talk about certain personalities that determined the direction and course of international politics in this era. There, among all the others, stands out the identity of the American diplomat George Kennan Frost (1904-2005). His outlook for a long had defined the US policy toward the Soviet Union. The name of this politician comes out from time to time when historians try to pay tribute to the person, who in fact, discovered the Soviet Union for the Western world, showed all its inconsistencies and internal contradictions, brought the history and culture of the Soviet people to his compatriots.

In the biography of George Frost Kennan, a well-known diplomat and historian, a lot of things are connected with Russia, "the Russian issue" (Malkov, 2009). Russia had always been a country that Kennan admired. Russia attracted him, he had the opportunity to contemplate it from the inside, carrying out his diplomatic service for a long period.

It is obvious that George Kennan was an outspoken opponent of the regime and hated the Soviet system, the system that today is idealized by a significant part of the Russian population. Kennan, of course, was the representative and the tool of those forces of the world order, which did their best for the Soviet socialist system to fail as a possible future system. In this regard, we should not overidealize his "good" attitude to Russia. What is more important is the fact that Kennan was the first who pointed to the fundamental disadvantages of the socialism, including "a tendency to self-extinction" (Malkov, 2009) of totalitarian regimes, and "the spiritual gap between those who govern and those who are governed» (Kennan, 1989). …

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