* The X Article.
* George Kennan, the Soviet expert who wrote the Long Telegram, wrote another piece, but this time published publicly and anonymously, in July 1947, just after Truman’s “Truman Doctrine” speech.
* The actual title of the article was “The Sources of Soviet Conduct”.
* It was published in Foreign Affairs magazine.
* He used the pseudonym “Mr X” and so it’s known as the X Article.
* It began as a private report prepared for Secretary of Defense James Forrestal in January 1947.
* It was never intended as a public document.
* But Hamilton Fish Armstrong, editor of Foreign Affairs, urged Kennan to publish it, so he obtained permission from Forrestal to publish the article under the pseudonym “X”.
* Whereas The Long Telegram was a review of how the Soviet Union saw the world – and The Clifford-Elsey Report took those facts and interpreted how they affected the world and what the United States should do about it – The X Article took the information presented in the two prior reports and constructed a road map for the Cold War.
* The first sections of the article provide a potted history of Leninist and Stalinst ideology and the current political reality of the Soviet Union under Stalin.
* His conclusion is kind of interesting.
* As you might expect, he talks about containing the expansion of the Soviets.
* “confront the Russians with unalterable counter-force at every point where they show signs of encroaching upon the interests of a peaceful and stable world.”
* He says Soviet power “moves inexorably along a prescribed path, like a persistent toy automobile wound up and headed in a given direction, stopping only when it meets with some unanswerable force.”
* Unfortunately he didn’t concentrate at all on how US power and expansion acted as contributing factors to Soviet behavior.
* As Thomas Paterson wrote in Meeting The Communist Threat:
* Too simply, he applied one interpretive model to Russia and another to the United States: Russia’s foreign policy derived from a response to internal needs not external threats; America’s foreign policy derived from a response to external challenges.
* Mostly he talks about America providing a good example to the world.
* He said that if America has internal fighting, if it struggles economically, if it doesn’t look after its own people, if it embarks on global wars, then it is playing right into the hands of the Communists.
* Because that what they predict the U.S. will do.
* However – if the U.S. keeps its nose clean, looks after its people, and doesn’t take an aggressive global stance, then the Leninist ideology will look stupid and will struggle to keep the faith of the people.
* And here we are, 71 years later, and I hate to tell you – the Russians were right!
* Anyway, back to Walter Lippman, The right-leaning influential journalist and one of the fathers of modern propaganda.
* He took issue with the X article – at the time, he didn’t know who the author was – and wrote a series of articles about it, which ended up as a book called “The Cold War”.
* Which popularised the term.
* It’s usually said that the term was first coined by Herbert Bayard Swope, another Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.
* called the greatest reporter of his time by Lord Northcliffe
* He is known for saying, “I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”
* He did publicity work for Bernard Baruch in 1947.
* Swope wrote a speech for Baruch, which he delivered to Congress on 16 April 1947.
* The line was: “Let us not be deceived: we are today in the midst of a cold war.”
* On 19 October 1945, George Orwell published an essay “You and the Atomic Bomb” in which he wrote: Looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery… James Burnham’s theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications—that is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a state which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of “cold war” with its neighbours.
* So thanks George.
* Lippman wrote:
* My objection to the policy of containment is not that it seeks to confront the Soviet power with American power, but that the policy is misconceived, and must result in a misuse of American power. It commits this country to a struggle which has for its objective nothing more substantial than the hope that in ten or fifteen years the Soviet power will, as the result of long frustration, “break up” or “mellow.”
* He was concerned that Military entanglements in remote places might bankrupt the treasury and would in any event do little to enhance American security at home.
* American society would become militarized in order to fight a “Cold War.”
* To compensate for America’s comparative weakness in these locations, Washington would be forced to recruit an “array of satellites, clients, dependents, and puppets;’ any number of whom could be expected to pull in the United States to defend them when trouble arose.
* And then – he nails the major flaw in Kennan’s assessment of the Russians:
* We may now ask why the official diagnosis of Soviet conduct, as disclosed by Mr. X’s article, has led to such an unworkable policy for dealing with Russia. It is, I believe because Mr. X has neglected even to mention the fact that the Soviet Union is the successor of the Russian Empire and that Stalin is not only the heir of Marx and of Lenin but of Peter the Great, and the Czars of all the Russias.
* For reasons which I do not understand, Mr. X decided not to consider the men in the Kremlin as the rulers of the Russian State and Empire, and has limited his analysis to the interaction of “two forces”: “the ideology inherited by the present Soviet leaders from the movement in which they had their political origin” and the “circumstances of the power which they have now exercised for nearly three decades in Russia.”
* Thus he dwells on the indubitable fact that they believe in the Marxian ideology and that “they have continued to be predominantly absorbed with the struggle to secure and make absolute the power which they seized in November 1917.” But with these two observations alone he cannot, and does not, explain the conduct of the Soviet government in this postwar era–that is to say its aims and claims to territory and to the sphere of influence which it dominates.The Soviet government has been run by Marxian revolutionists for thirty years; what has to be explained by a planner of American foreign policy is why in 1945 the Soviet government expanded its frontiers and its orbit, and what was the plan and pattern of its expansion. That can be done only by remembering that the Soviet government is a Russian government and that this Russian government has emerged victorious over Germany and Japan.
* Having omitted from his analysis the fact that we are dealing with a victorious Russia–having become exclusively preoccupied with the Marxian ideology, and with the communist revolution–it is no wonder that the outcome of Mr. X’s analysis is nothing more definite, concrete and practical than that the Soviets will encroach and expand “at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points.”
* Lippman then goes on to quote from Professor Robert Strausz-Hupe of the University of Pennsylvania, whose article on “The Western Frontiers of Russia” appeared in the July 1947 issue of The Review of Politics, quarterly published by the University of Notre Dame:
* The total area acquired by Russia between 1945 and 1947 is approximately as large as the total area lost between 1917 and 1921. Russia has redeemed the hostages she gave to defeat, revolution and national self-determination. The western frontiers of the Soviet Sphere of Influence coincide so closely with those Czarist Russia planned to draw after the defeat of the Central Powers that Czarist and Soviet policies appear to differ as regards methods only.
* Lippman then continues:
* The westward expansion of the Russian frontier and of the Russian sphere of influence, though always a Russian aim, was accomplished when, as, and because the Red Army defeated the German army and advanced to the center of Europe. It was the mighty power of the Red Army, not the ideology of Karl Marx, which enabled the Russian government to expand its frontiers.
* Lippman’s alternative strategy to containment is to sign a treaty with Russia where the US, UK and U.S.S.R. would all pull their forces out of Europe.
* In return for security guarantees for Russia.
* If that was indeed what they wanted, security, then they would get it.
* Then, if they move out of those borders without sufficient and acceptable justification – attack them.
* But until then – use diplomacy.
* If you go into a Cold War with them, there’s no hope of diplomacy.
* You’re at war.
* Even Churchill in his Iron Curtain speech had advocated seeking a settlement through “frequent and growing contact” with the Kremlin.
* It made sense to negotiate with Stalin particularly over the question of Central Europe, and above all Germany, if the containment of Soviet power within eastern Europe was the goal.
* You stay on that side, we stay on this side.
* Stalin, arch-realist that he had often shown himself to be and with his country still recovering from a brutal war, might agree to a treaty based on that.
* Or he might refuse.
* There was no way to know without trying.
* Ironically, Kennan agreed with much of this.
* He was unhappy with the black and white nature of Truman’s speech.
* And he thought he had neglected the role of diplomacy in both his Long Telegram and X Article.
* He believed in diplomacy and he knew the Russians did too.
* Kennan later claimed that he never meant the United States should undertake global interventionism or emphasize military means.
* But his article certainly hinted that they should and it was swallowed whole by the political establishment on both sides of the aisle.
* Whether he intended to or not, Kennan helped to establish undiscriminating globalism and interventionism as permanent features of American diplomacy.
* Kennan the intellectual would suffer as others used his ideas to support a multitude of interventions and a military establishment of enormous proportions.
* The father of containment would spend much of the rest of his life attempting to disown his offspring.
* He said he felt “like one who has inadvertently loosened a large boulder from the top of the cliff and now helplessly witnesses its path of destruction in the valley below, shuddering and wincing at each successive glimpse of disaster.”
* But in 1947 all of this containment talk was just theory.
* There was still no plan for just HOW the Americans would go about “containing” the Russians.
* It wasn’t until the following year, 1948, that they came up with the European Recovery Program, better known as – The Marshall Plan.
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