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The Return of Containment

Throughout the Cold War, George Kennan's policy of containment shaped the West's approach to the Soviet Union. At a time when Russia is bombing Aleppo, occupying parts of Ukraine, and meddling in Western politics, a new containment doctrine is needed.

VENICE – “The main element of any US policy towards the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment,” the US diplomat George Kennan wrote in 1947 in a Foreign Affairs article, famously signed “X.” Replace “Soviet Union” with “Russia,” and Kennan’s “containment policy” makes perfect sense today. It is almost as if, in nearly 70 years, nothing has changed, even as everything has.