Mr. X and the New Cold War

Pages: 1 2

Sixty-five years ago this July, Foreign Affairs published an explosive article by diplomat George Kennan, under the pseudonym Mr. X, which isolated and defined “The Sources of Soviet Conduct.” It became the centerpiece of our response to Soviet expansionism and the foundation of our Cold War policy, and made “containment” a household word and a foreign policy strategy for decades afterward.

In the article, Kennan explained that the Soviet Union’s leaders were determined to spread the communist ideology around the world. Due to the “innate antagonism” between socialism and capitalism, the USSR perceived itself to be at perpetual war with the West, with no possibility for peaceful coexistence. And they were extremely patient and practical in the pursuit of that goal:

The Kremlin is under no ideological compulsion to accomplish its purposes in a hurry… The main thing is that there should always be pressure, unceasing constant pressure, toward the desired goal.

Direct conflict was never considered a desirable avenue for the propagation of their cause; instead, the Soviets were always on the move to fill “every nook and cranny available to it in the basin of world power.” Their foreign policy, Kennan wrote, “is a fluid stream which moves constantly, wherever it is permitted to move, toward a given goal.”

Kennan argued that the Soviets were weak compared to the united Western world, and vulnerable to internal fault lines. He noted that Soviet power was “unamenable to argument or reason,” but very sensitive to superior force, in the face of which Russians would simply withdraw to wait for a more propitious time. That did not mean that the West should allow itself to be lulled into complacency by such a retreat, however.

Kennan described our conflict with Soviet Communism as “undoubtedly the greatest task our diplomacy has ever faced and probably the greatest it will ever have to face.” His policy conclusion was that the main element of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of

a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies… designed to confront the Russians with unalterable counter-force at every point where they show signs of encroaching upon he interests of a peaceful and stable world.

The United States adopted that policy, and the USSR collapsed twenty years ago (which is not to say that the threat of communism collapsed with it).

Now go back and reread this but replace the Soviet threat of the past with the contemporary one of Islamic fundamentalism. Check off the similarities: Islam a totalitarian ideology at perpetual war with Western capitalism? Check. Muslims patient and prepared to fight the long war? Check. Impervious to the logic of reason, but vulnerable to force? Check. Islam always on the move to fill every nook and cranny available to it? Check. Of course there are differences, but the big picture is strikingly similar. To paraphrase Kennan, our conflict with Islamic fundamentalism is probably the greatest task our diplomacy has ever faced or will ever have to face.

So where is our Mr. X in government today who will craft a similar policy document to address the threat of Islamic expansionism? How would that even be possible, considering that our current President is so publicly worshipful of Islam and so supportive of such hardcore Muslim bodies as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Muslim Brotherhood  that many suspect he is Muslim himself? How would it be possible, considering that the Obama administration has scrubbed its official language clean of any unflattering reference whatsoever to Islam and will brook no criticism of it? Indeed, our own Secretary of State is working with the 57-member OIC to adopt restrictions on free speech that will criminalize the defamation of Islam.

Pages: 1 2

  • Chezwick

    Great article Mark….and your Cold war analogy was entirely appropriate.

    Though Communism and Islam are not entirely symmetrical, they have many similar threads. And one of them is the Utopian ideal.

    In the West, we can study our present and our past empirically and critically, learning what was effective policy and what was not, what works and what doesn't. But those social systems predicated on the Utopian ideal can not afford such critical scrutiny. Otherwise, the entire edifice of the belief system risks crumbling down.

    For example, the life of Muhammad, being both the apex and the nexus of Islamic morality, can never be repudiated in any facet whatsoever. Otherwise, the entire religion loses its credibility and sanctity.

    If the behavior of the "prophet" in one single, authoritative Hadith is deemed immoral or inappropriate, then the worth of the entire collection is nullified. If one sinlge Quranic verse is deemed inappropriate for modern times, then the entire book refuses to be a credible guide to human behavior. Therefore, medieval barbarisms such as pedophelia, stonings, the killing of apostates, etc., are permanently and unalterably enshrined in the collective ethos of Muslim believers.

    The rigidity and brittleness that characterizes all Utopian-based social systems is ultimately a manifestation of the lies upon which they are founded. After all, if they were based upon objective truth, they could readily withstand critical scrutiny.

    • Choi

      Excellent Analysis,Chezwick.
      You have logically stated WHY they can never and will never "moderate"

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    Great article, and all points of comparison with the Cold war are valid. Yet there are more such points.

    a) Here always were forces in the US which tended to appease Sovetskih or worse: to collaborate with them. The Department of State first comes to mind. And the same forces now appease islam or even welcome it into the US. They go as far as to negate the exclusive Judeo-Christian national identity of the US, admitting that the US may well turn into islamic nations (in accordance with the 1st amendment, mind you).

    b) Prior and even during the Cold war, America nevertheless helped USSR economically. Yet that help pails in comparison to the enormous wealth transfer from the West to islam now due to trillions of oil money.

    c) Prior and during the Cold war Soviets always took advantage of the complacency of the West to recognize the ideological threat of Marxism. In so doing they corrupted the system of education, the media and some government institutions. Yet Sovetskih could not even dream about such an aggressive islamization of all national institutions of America up to enthroning an islamic impostor and fraud into the White House. Shame on you, America!

    If salvation is still possible, it must begin with establishment of the Judeo-Christian party of America on the following http://www.resonoelusono.com/Platform.htm

  • Anne

    I agree with the article but I am pessimistic. Islam has existed for far longer than Communism. It’s adherents around the world are by and large happy with it. Reformers are few and far between.

    Because it is a religion it automatically gets protection under freedom of religion in all Western countries.

    Finally, we have large numbers of enthusiastic Muslims living in the West (especially Europe).

    It will be never crash and burn like Communism, which in retrospect was a mere passing fad.

    • Drakken

      Islam won't crash and burn but sooner rather than later a clash is enevitable. When it happens it will be sudden and brutal.

  • Steve Chavez

    It should read "How a Communist apologist brought us Iran and a Communist brought us the Muslim Brotherhood through the Arab Spring and all through "Democracy" which also breed Hamas!"

    For ten years, S.C., me, has been writing here screaming but the word "Communist" was banned and replace with a more P.C. term: Leftist. "Writing 'Communist' will dismiss you as a kook." Within the past few months those same higher-ups are now writing about the threat of "Communists" and naming names and tactics even though, (eye) have been warning for years of the takeover by "Communists" which culminated with the 2008 election when the Democrats stacked the deck with Communist Presidential candidates.

    During the 80's, the Communist Party USA teamed up with the Soviet KGB in their recruitment of university students, funding in churches, supplies from hospitals, and a disinformation and propaganda campaign, to take over Central America. These CPUSA/KGB dupes aided everything Communist and many of them were Congressmen and Senators with Senator TED KENNEDY even writing a letter to KGB head Yuri Andropov to seek ways to defeat Ronald Reagan in 1984. TRAITOR! John Kerry too was a part of this front and his run for President was aided by the CPUSA and their thousands of fronts which was in return favor for his unending support for Communists in Vietnam and Central America. THE U.S. PEACE COUNCIL, which also began in 1979 by Michael Myerson, was an affiliated of the WORLD PEACE COUNCIL RUN BY THE KGB!

    BARACK OBAMA WAS ALSO A CPUSA/KGB DUPE AND APOLOGIST FOR THE SOVIET UNION as evident in a rare, if not only, article Obama wrote while at Columbia. GOOGLE "OBAMA SUNDIAL 1983" which proves that Obama also sought out, and was friendly to, the most radical Marxist students and all of them wanted the DOWNFALL OF THE UNITED STATES SO when their Soviet Union fell, they were the most bitter of all Communists!

    WHO REALLY WON THE COLD WAR WHEN A SOVIET KGB DUPE IS NOW PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND HIS "CIRCLE OF COMMUNISTS" ARE THE HEADS OF ALL HIGH LEVEL DEPARTMENTS??? Their goal: THE DOWNFALL OF THE UNITED $TATE$ as revenge for the downfall of the Soviet Union, a country they loved more than their own!

    • Indioviejo

      I have to agree with you, and the fact that so many Communist are in government today has lulled our anti-communist to think that without the old USSR these guys are harmless. Not so. The common denominator between homegrown Marxist and Islamist is their hatred for America, freedom and Capitalism. We are still in the fight of our lives and for everything sacred in America.

  • http://cutthemalarkey.com Vic Kelley

    That there was a “Mr. X” who was a diplomat and spoke out like that is remarkable. I don’t think we should expect to have another such honest assessment by any government official any more.

    They were a different bunch back then and I’m still surprised it happened. I’m sorry that the best and brightest no longer make up the majority of civil service or foreign service or State Department types. Be sure this won’t happen in an Obama administration.

    Our country is more likely to produce a “Mr. I” that apologizes for American success and prosperity than one who, using critical thinking skills and standard English, will accurately assess and explain the danger of Islam.

  • mrbean

    Sun Tsu is Mr X. "When an enemy does not respect you then make him fear you. If your enemy neither respects nor fears you then he will attack you." By the way containment has really worked well since the Korean War hasn't it. North Korea a nuclear power.

  • waterwillows

    Who ??

    The Lord will put and end to Islam. It will never again arise.

    • mrbean

      Yeh sure, because you have the sweet love of Jesus in your eyes. I remember absolute mindless nutcases who were priests and nuns telling me that I should pray to the Virgin Mary so Russia and China would be converted from godless Communism.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Seems like you are a hate filled bigot with only one pony in this show.

        You just keep spewing muslim friendly attacks on all things of the Judeo-Chrsitian value system.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          Did I?

          Or did you just have a chance to rip on Christian doctrine.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Certainly not any lord you would value.

      What violence are you advocating today?

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Sure you have.

        17 minutes ago @ Frontpage Magazine – Muslims Stone Christia… · 1 reply · 0 points
        "I actually agree with this comment. Well said"

        Do you need me to quote his comment? You're just a walking bag of hate.

        • Jesusinator

          Your just walking bag of manure <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Let me go ahead and quote him then.

            "So, the next time we see some idiot burning a U.S. flag or bible, I can beat the living dog do do out of him/her because I was offended or what they did was "provocative", right? The next time I hear some Muslim saying that "Jesus was not really the son of God" then I can beat him senseless? The next time I hear some Islamists calling me "infidel" or "appostate" or "dog" or "pig" I can throw a maltov cocktail at them, right? "

            And you said that comment agreeing with it.
            That's advocating for a violent reaction.

            So, who's the walking bag of manure? I bet the sex toy goats you keep even would say so.

          • Jesusinator

            Um you are. I see you don't say anything to rouge for advocating violence. Hypocrite <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            You would say that. You also call Israel child killers and say Hitler and Lenin were Christians.

            What you say really does't have much credibility. It's just too removed from reality.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Good, then you admit that atheism is full of the violence you blame on Christians?

            You make this way too easy.

            And Exodus is not one of the places Christ sat down on the hillside and explained things to His believers.

          • Jesusinator

            I admit some atheists leaders were horrible people who slughtered millions. Why can't you admit hitler was a christian who slaughtered millions? <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            Because Hitler was not a follower of Christ.
            You can't show he followed a single thing Christ taught.

            Why would I admit to a lie?

  • clarespark

    There is no consensus that American fought a "Cold War", and I doubt that we will be any more aggressive in dealing with Islamofascism that has already infiltrated our country at many levels, thanks to the passivity of multicultural "progressives." On the Cold War see http://clarespark.com/2011/04/09/jean-francois-re…. This is a summary of Jean-Francois Revel's famous book How Democracies Perish. Conservatives should know Revel's masterpiece.

  • PAthena

    One of Hillary Clinton's closest aides, Huma Obedin, (wife of ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner), is of a family which is associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
    President Obama is unspeakable – he insisted on relabeling the Fort Hood massacre by the Muslim psychiatrist shouting "Allahu Akbar," as "work-place violence."

  • jppc

    I'm in favor of adopting a sort of Cold War posture with Islam but who in the US political class will suggest we cut back on Islamic immigration into our country? They are buying failing churches and revamping them as mosques, madrassas and so called "Islamic Cultural Centers".

    They are importing Sharia Law.

  • M. R. Gregory

    And by the way, there is no justification in this world to wage a "Cold War" against a religion with over a billion members, the international perception of which has been soured by the actions of a few extremists while the vast majority sit in silence. Should the West be judged by the actions of a few extremists, like the people on this site? What you suggest is racist, bigoted, and baseless, something more appropriate for Mein Kampf than an American web site. Grow up, look around, talk to some Muslim people, and perhaps realize that posts like this are the problem in the world today.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Have you read Surah 9?

      That's the kind of teaching they are demanded to learn and submit to. Ask Daniel Pearl.

    • Drakken

      Your use of the race and bigotry card is now completely useless because you progressives on the left have used and abused it for so long to shut and shout down any type of debate that it has no meaning. If you cannot see the threat that islam presents to the west you are clearly in denial. Islam is on the march and is headed for a very nasty clash with us in the west, your failure to see what is clearly a threat to our way of life only makes you one of those wishy washy I feel therefore I am leftist/progressives who think all cultures are equal when they are clearly not.

    • Reacher

      "Should the West be judged by the actions of a few extremists, like the people on this site?"

      When it's 10-15% of a billion 7th century throwbacks, the number alone are staggering to deal with…
      As the radical islamists are making bombs, the moderates are shopping at Walmart for cell phone
      detonators. They are ALL on the same page …of their glorious holy book…
      Please grow up and see these folks for what they SAY and DO….

  • HPD

    The communists infiltrated the US in the '30's-'40's and '50's, thru the use of our Constitution and infinite patience, taking "giant" baby steps in media and education. If Obama is re-elected, their take-down will be complete..
    Islam is following the exact same blueprint, with the aid of their communist allies in our own government complex..

    As the US Constitution is ignored and marginalized, the power of the Islamists increases geometrically..

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Yes, and the media thinks they won't suffer when everything collapses.

      • HPD

        They will totally muzzled unless they toe the Muzzle line…
        which they will easily and gladly do..thinking the Islamic alligator will
        eat them last..

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          I was thinking, (great comment by the way) that for the NY Times to be Al Jazeera – it isn't that much of a change for them.

          • HPD

            The nose of the camel is well inside our tent…
            gonna take a solid, organized front to keep the thing out!
            Gaffney has been "the man" on this for years..

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    I don't need it both ways.
    And unlike your muslim tests for faith, Christians rely on the perfection of Jesus, so a lot of forgiven sinners have the assurance of salvation.

    • Jesusinator

      so you admit christ forgave hitler <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Why do you think Hitler ask?

        His understandings of forgiveness led him to swallow a bullet, he didn't think there was any hope.

        You really are stuck in that muslim friendly mindset.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          You have nothing.
          What a person does reflects their values as a human.

          Hitler was not in line with anything Christ taught.

  • Drakken

    The problem the leftist/progressives/communist forget in their rush to embrace the muslims/islam is that there is no give and take with islam period. In the rush to silence debate the leftist/progressives only invite open warfare that will make the Balkans pale in comparrison. I am reminded of someone saying, the more to try to silence peoples voices the more likey the next thing you hear will be the sound of rifles. I am afraid we have reached the tipping point and warfare is now enevitable.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

    Every time I stand up and call your evil out for what it is.

    • Jesusinator

      You have not been able to show that I am evil

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

        Sure I have.

        You did declare jihad against an entire town without knowing a thing, without any sort of trial and wanted the most painful slow death for them you could imagine.

        That's evil.

        24 minutes ago @ Breitbart.tv – Soldier Found Guilty i… · 1 reply · +1 points
        "The whole town needs locked in the church and the church set on fire. IMO"

        Why do you like to come and be humiliated?

        • Jesusinator

          That does not show I am evil. The town beat and burned a ladies house down. They wanted her and her her child to die the mopst painful and slow death because she was not a christian <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV style=”FONT-FAMILY: times new roman, new york, times, serif; FONT-SIZE: 12pt”> <DIV dir=ltr> <DIV style=”BORDER-BOTTOM: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; LINE-HEIGHT: 0; MARGIN: 5px 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; HEIGHT: 0px; FONT-SIZE: 0px; BORDER-TOP: #ccc 1px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #ccc 1px solid; PADDING-TOP: 0px”></DIV>

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            See, you're so twisted you don't even see evil for what it is.

            Or else you're just a douche and enjoy it.

            And you're changing the story, you have always said the town beat her and ran her out of town.

            If they had wanted her dead, they would have done so. And you admit it was not investigated and there was no verification of your facts to jump to the conclusions you did.

            Other than you're a hate filled bigot and all.

  • mah29001

    If the Russians never backed the Palestinians, there'd be no Mujahideen to really have power in Afghanistan who acquired U.S. Stinger weapons. So every non-Islamic nation has made its mistake.

  • Long Ben

    Frank Gaffney should be the next Secretary of Defense and John Bolton the Secretary of State, and how about Allen West as ambassador to the U.N.

  • Long Ben

    Oh , and how about hundreds of thousands, or millions of Christians conducting a Jerico march around the abomination in Murfreeborough Tn ,

  • agav8r

    A similar corollary was presented by Lt Col Steve Lambert in his essay titled “Y: The Sources of Islamic Revolutionary Conduct”. See the Spring 2007 Air & Space Power Journal Book Review extract and link to the PDF below:

    “Lt Col Steve Lambert’s next-generation title intentionally recalls George Kennan’s famous article published in Foreign Affairs at the outset of the Cold War (“The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” signed by “X”). Clearly, Kennan’s work was monumental, but in a few important ways, Lambert’s “Y” presents a more ambitious approach than that taken by Mr. X. Both admirably explain what motivates “enemies of the West”; however, Lambert’s study also provides us with an explanation of how Western ideological foundations handicap our understanding of and response to al-Qaeda (and its ilk). In this respect, Lambert goes beyond Kennan by reaching all the way back to the wisdom of Sun Tzu’s admonishment of 400 BC: “Know your enemy and know yourself.” In the context of the emerging “long war,” this approach provides us with two essential steps in the right direction.”

    http://www.higginsctc.org/terrorism/sources_islam