From The National Interest: ‘Inside The Mind Of George F. Kennan’

Full piece here.

More on Kennan (wikipedia).

Now that Putin is playing the Russian strongman in Ukraine (video of Russian tactics):

‘Yet one wonders how many U.S. government officials during the 1940s would have been able to behold the fruits of the policy with the sort of critical distance that Kennan demonstrates. His black, razor-sharp diagnosis of Stalinism—at a time when pro-Soviet wartime propaganda in the United States presented a diametrically opposed picture of the regime—is of a piece with this innate skepticism and independence of thought.’

Many diplomats and first-class thinkers can be frustrated by the constraints of a democratic system. Some are like Grandmasters, playing a global game of chess. They can spend their entire lives envisioning strategic outcomes, advising and calculating many moves ahead as they run through a rolodex of hundreds of names and players.  

It can be dispiriting for them to have to try to explain the logic of it all to a President and his team who might give them 10 minutes to get a point across, and then have them write a follow-up position paper. 

Or, in the case of Kennan, it might be even harder when their ideas are actually adopted into policy.

‘SOME OF HIS crankiest observations deal with the shortcomings of democracy. During his time as a government official Kennan had often witnessed how the principles of good policy were undermined by the short-term thinking of elected politicians, and he had concluded from the experience that democracies were inherently incapable of devising and pursuing rational strategy.’

Perhaps it’s an inherent good to have the logic and experience of even the very wise frustrated by the democratic process.

A realism you can get behind?

Henry Kissinger:

“The purpose of bureaucracy is to devise a standard operating procedure which can cope effectively with most problems.  A bureaucracy is efficient if the matters which it handles routinely are, in fact, the most frequent and if its procedures are relevant to their solution.  If those criteria are met, the energies of the top leadership are freed to deal creatively with the unexpected occurrence or with the need for innovation.  Bureaucracy becomes an obstacle when what it defines as routine does not address the most significant range of issues or when its prescribed mode of action proves irrelevant to the problem.”


“Moreover, the reputation, indeed the political survival, of most leaders depends on their ability to realize their goals, however these may have been arrived at.  Whether these goals are desireable is relatively less crucial.”

Kissinger, Henry. American Foreign Policy:  Three Essays.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc.  1969.

For Russia With Love-A Few Links On Low Birthrates And Putin’s Plans For The Future

The love-doctor is in!

Russia is really paranoid about its borders.  Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, its sphere of influence has been greatly reduced.  Many of its satellites fell from the sky and most satellites still look towards Moscow with a wary eye, its culture and language still infused as part their culture, their economies still dependent upon Russian leadership.  Other satellites turned their backs resolutely, and ran toward Europe and the West, as did the Baltic states and Poland.  Tension hangs in the air.

In the meantime, Chechnya keeps flaring up into terrorist violence which can go all the way back to Moscow.  The Ukraine is trying to look and move Westward.  China is coming into its own.  All along its Southern front are millions of Muslims.

In addition, any advantage against the good old U.S. of A. must be exploited, for Moscow will dominate once again.  Strongarming Europe with gas wars and imprisoning its own oligarchs and girl-punk bands may be necessary.   Withholding orphans to make a political point is fair game, as Russian love affairs are often stormy.

So what is Putin doing to jack-up the low birthrate and restore Russian strength?

-He’s giving people money to have babies (which has had some success), and hiring Boyz II Men to woo couples into procreative acts. Via Gizmodo:

‘The band’s February 6th performance is part of a world tour, but specifically requested by Putin to help with Valentine’s Day-related romance. So basically, expect Moscow’s population to double some time around the middle of November.’

-He’s sponsoring love revivals.  From The Daily Mail (the most trusted source in news):

‘Obediently, couples move to a special section of dormitory tents arranged in a heart-shape and called the Love Oasis, where they can start procreating for the motherland.

With its relentlessly upbeat tone, bizarre ideas and tight control, it sounds like a weird indoctrination session for a phoney religious cult.

But this organisation – known as “Nashi”, meaning “Ours” – is youth movement run by Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin that has become a central part of Russian political life.’

So crazy it just might work!

-Naturally, he still offers photo-ops of himself bare-chested:  embodying the virility, strength, and charisma that the Russian people will need going forward to conquer nature and vanquish all enemies.

***Bonus-1980’s tourist Putin meeting Ronald Reagan as a KGB member in Red Square.

***Double Bonus-Putin and Bush’s love affair in a GAZ M-21 Volga caught on tape.  Putin sends Medvedev out to keep the flame alive with Obama on missile defense.

To put it crudely as possible:  This guy knows more about love than a fate-tossed Ukranian mail-order bride.  You can’t entirely blame him either, as some of its working.


Autocracy?  Kleptocracy?  Developing Democracy?

Addition: I’ve already gotten some flak for the mail-order bride comment.  I think it’s most important to recognize what we’re dealing with, if we’re going to deal successfully.

See Also:  …Francis Fukuyama At The Washington Post: They Can Only Go So Far

Are we headed toward 19th century geo-politics?:  Obama’s Decision On Missile Defense And A Quote From Robert Kagan’s: ‘The Return Of History And The End Of Dreams’

Do we try and invest in global institutions as flawed as they are?:  Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy


St Basils domes Red square Moscow Russia

by Ipomoea310