Courtesy Reuters

In the July 1977 issue of Foreign Affairs, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of the appearance in its pages of George F. Kennan's famous "X" article, "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," John Lewis Gaddis ambitiously attempted to resolve once and for all the seemingly interminable controversy that has surrounded Kennan's call for containment ever since that first public enunciation. Diplomatic historians doubtless noted with interest that Professor Gaddis contends, quite categorically, that the retrospective elucidation of containment found in the first volume of Kennan's Memoirs is wholly satisfactory with respect to what have been far and away its most controversial features: to wit, the assertions that the policy was "political" rather than "military," and that it was to be cautiously implemented within strictly defined geographical limits rather narrower than had commonly been supposed.

The burden of this essay is that Kennan's belated apologia was misleading, and that Gaddis errs in his

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