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Strategies of Containment A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security Policy In Strategies of Containment John Lewis Gaddis looks to analyze the United States national security policy since World War II Gaddis divides the postwar years into five distinct geopolitical codes which he analyzes in depth Gaddis systematic analysis asks the following questions of each geopolitical code 1 What conception did the administration in question have of American interests in the world 2 How did it perceive threats to those interests 3 What responses did it choose to make in light of those interests and threats 4 How did it seek to justify those responses Gaddis objective as he quite humorously puts it is to throw out a large but he hopes not too indigestible lump which should at least give the splitters who have been on a pretty lean diet lately something to chew on The word containment as Gaddis puts it is the term generally used to characterize American policy toward the Soviet Union during the postwar era The term comes from Gaddis first topic George F Kennan used the term containment in 1947 while acting as director of the Policy Planning Staff in the White House With his long telegram and The Sources of Soviet Conduct article Kennan became Americas first Soviet Expert Kennans recommendations for containment focused mainly on psychological means in the United States and through economic rehabilitation of Western Europe and Japan It is this emphasis on psychological means that Gaddis describes as Kennans policys fatal flaw With Kennans resignation from the Policy Planning Staff in 1949 an ad hoc committee of State and Defense Department officials created NSC-68 a document that was mean to systematize containment and to find the means to make it work Among the things that NSC-68 did were changed the policy from a strongpoint defense to perimeter defense increased defense expenditures without war and approved the decision to
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