THE CLOUD OF DANGER: Current Realities of American Foreign Policy by George F. Kennan
Kirkus Star

THE CLOUD OF DANGER: Current Realities of American Foreign Policy

Email this review


Dissatisfied with presenting his views in random speeches and articles, Kennan, former ambassador to Moscow and State Department savant, here presents his thinking on the overall needs of US foreign policy and provides a ""grand design"" as to how these needs might be met on a region-by-region basis. Beginning with an analysis of the domestic limitations on the formation of foreign policy--the structure of decision-making, the influence of the military-industrial complex, dependence upon foreign sources of oil, the magnitude of domestic social problems--Kennan argues for the elimination of unnecessary foreign commitments in favor of a policy focused on a few key regions, principally Western Europe, Japan, and Israel, with less involvement in the Third World (Kennan would withdraw troops from South Korea and the Panama Canal Zone). Seeing the relationship with the Soviet Union as the key foreign policy issue, Kennan mounts a forceful attack on what he considers alarmist predictions of Soviet military dominance, as well as upon the view that US-USSR rivalry must necessarily lead to military confrontation. Authoritatively detailing the domestic and foreign instability of the Soviet leadership, Kennan argues for unilateral restraint by the US in nuclear weapons testing, and decreased emphasis on nuclear weapons systems, along with increased efforts for a serious arms agreement. He also advocates greater trade with the USSR, freed from political manipulation. While differing from the current Administration's policies on some points--such as human rights, which he would deemphasize in dealing with the Soviet Union--the general architecture of Kennan's ""grand design"" seems to be gaining favor in Washington. Although strongest in the area of his principal expertise, US-Soviet relations, Kennan's brief work is a concise and clearly presented program for American policy worldwide.

Pub Date: June 24th, 1977
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown