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History As It Happens

May 14, 2024

The American diplomat George Kennan was the architect of the Cold War "containment" policy toward the Soviet Union. Writing in the late 1940s, Kennan viewed the USSR as a hostile expansionist enemy, but one that would be willing to compromise if checked by the United States. Containment did not mean the U.S. could or should militarily crush the Soviets. Can Kennan's ideas be applied to Vladimir Putin's Russia? In this episode, historians Michael Kimmage and Frank Costigliola discuss the enduring influence of Kennan's ideas on American policy-makers.