The Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Administrations: The Origins of Détente

  • Michael B. Froman
Part of the St Antony’s book series

Abstract

Although there was widespread support for the strategy of containment in the late 1940s and early 1950s, there were pockets of criticism from a variety of political perspectives that contributed to the early development of the idea of détente. Perhaps the most influential criticism was that offered by Walter Lippmann. Much to Kennan’s dismay, who was privately critical of the Truman Doctrine, Lippmann grouped together the “X” article and the Truman Doctrine as the target of his attack.1 Lippmann rejected global containment as a bankrupt policy. He feared that it would create an unmanageable gap between expansive interests and finite resources and that it would force the United States to respond to Soviet initiatives at its weakest points around the world. Extrapolating from U.S. policy towards Europe as a guide for U.S. policy in other regions of the world was misleading and dangerous, Lippmann contended.2 U.S. interests in every potential conflict were not equally significant. An American security commitment in some areas was appropriate; in others, a drain. American power was too limited to cope with the demands of a policy that did not differentiate between vital and peripheral interests. In squandering U.S. political, military, and economic resources, global containment would frustrate American patience long before it frustrated Soviet aggression.3

Keywords

Europe Uranium Brittle Syria Explosive 

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2 The Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Administrations: The Origins of Détente

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Copyright information

© Michael B. Froman 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael B. Froman

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