Let 'Containment' Rest in Peace

Disillusioned with the Bush administration's foreign policy and military strategy in the Middle East, an influential school of thought has developed, clamoring for the United States to adopt a less intrusive approach to the region. While there's a legitimate debate to be had over the virtues of an offshore strategy, pundits and scholars call for modeling this alternative approach on George F. Kennan's famous Cold War "containment" policy. This is the last place Washington should turn for guidance. Containment may have brought victory in the Cold War, but, applied to today's circumstances, the term implies cordoning off the Middle East and applying pressure at points of Islamist expansion. Moreover, references to Kennan conjure up bad memories in places like Moscow and Beijing, which found themselves on the receiving end of American containment. A former ambassador to the Soviet Union, Kennan crafted a policy intended for decades of struggle against a well-armed, ideological...(Read Full Article)