Mark, Eduard
January 1978
Foreign Affairs;Jan1978, Vol. 56 Issue 2, p430
The article comments on the views of professor John Lewis Gaddis on the article of author George F. Kennan that calls for the containment of the Soviet Union's military power, which appeared in the July 1977 issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Professor Gaddis bases his reconstruction of containment in some measure on Kennan's denial that communist ideology was a determinant of Soviet policy. While probably not without some effect on the Soviet leadership's perceptions of political realities, communism was essentially a facade: domestically it provided a legitimizing myth for a usurping regime; in the realm of foreign affairs it cloaked Russian national interests with the appearance of beneficent purpose and made willing stooges of gullible foreign revolutionaries. Disposing of ideology as a determinant, however, raises an obvious question that Gaddis does not really answer: How then did Kennan account for Soviet expansionism? He states only that the diplomat believed that the Soviet leaders felt toward the West a deep hostility that sprang from a sense of insecurity, itself the product of Russia's unhappy past and their own conspiratorial backgrounds. Presumably, therefore, the object of Soviet expansionism was security.


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