RUSH: Ben in Bryan, Texas, I got about a minute, but I wanted to squeeze you in. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Mr. Limbaugh. It’s a pleasure talking to you.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: I’m a liberal arts student, and we read some great primary sources where I go to school, and something interesting that I read was by George Kennan. It’s called The Sources of Soviet Conduct.
CALLER: Now, Kennan was an ambassador to the Soviet Union in around the 1930s, and he notes how the Soviet Union had this antagonism towards capitalism. They believed it was the root of all man’s woes and evils that we experience on Earth.
CALLER: And they also believed, more importantly, that a proletariat revolution was inevitable, that the people would rise up and cry for the overthrow of capitalism. Well, I believe it’s been pretty clear that Obama has the same antagonism towards capitalism and believes that it’s the root of all our evils in the United States, but, see, he had this problem in that we really didn’t rise up to overthrow capitalism like he wanted us to. And whereas the Soviet regime didn’t feel the need to press their social agenda militarily, so to speak — they felt that they could wait it out — Obama knows that he can’t wait it out he only has 2-1/2 years left in office at most.
RUSH: Maybe he only has a couple months.
RUSH: Until November, until the election, but it’s a brilliant observation. I’m glad you’re learning about George Kennan. There’s a lot of good and bad there. I wish I had more time but I don’t. I’m really up against it.
RUSH: Our previous caller, a young college student, talked about George Kennan. George Kennan was the author of — under pseudonym Mr. X in Foreign Affairs, an article in Foreign Affairs — the father of containment. The Sources of Soviet Conflict was the title of his piece in Foreign Affairs. And in a nutshell, George Kennan — and he was revered. I mean, George Kennan was the model diplomat. The model! I mean, he served as the role model for all kinds of striped-pants people in the State Department and so forth. In a nutshell, George Kennan claimed that the Soviets only wanted to expand out of feelings of insecurity. The Soviets were not bad people. The Soviets did not have grand designs on domination. They were very insecure.
We had to understand that they just had massive insecurities and they were trying to expand based on that, trying to give themselves self-esteem. And he said with diplomacy, with diplomacy, we could contain the Soviet Union. Now, the left just lapped this up. They didn’t want to hear anything about military action or direct conflict with the Soviets. They wanted to appease ’em. Besides, in many sectors of this country, even back then (we’re talking forties and fifties now) there were people in this country who admired communism and thought that it was the only fair way for human beings to organize their affairs — and capitalism was institutionally unfair because there were winners and losers, and it’s just not right. It’s not right that some people should have so much when some people have so little.
He did favor military force if necessary but it was not at the top of his list of things. He favored employing political and economic rather than military methods as the chief agent of containment. I think our young caller was meaning to compare this approach to Obama’s toward the expansion of Islam and Muslim extremism around the world. But we’ve gotta give Kennan some credit at the same time. Kennan did believe that we should try to contain the Soviet Union which made him hated by a lot of the left and is probably a step up from Obama’s policy toward Islamic extremism, but a typical example of George Kennan’s thinking was to withdraw all US troops from Europe so that Stalin wouldn’t have anything to make him feel insecure. (interruption)
Well, but the left still… (interruption) Yeah, he was, but the left didn’t trust him. He was a leftist himself, but the left at the time didn’t like him. He’s now revered. He wanted all troops to pull out of Eastern Europe. He didn’t want anything to expand the insecurity of Stalin because they were only acting out of insecurity. Kennan claimed that Stalin would relax his grip on the Eastern European satellite countries. That’s how deluded he was — and he was deluded but he’s the godfather, I mean for the longest time, George Kennan was the model. He was… My words are failing me here to describe the impact George Kennan had on the whole concept of diplomacy. Sort of like John Maynard Keynes and economics, and we’re paying the price for Keynesian economics all over the world today.
All over the world we’re paying the price for it. Anyway, that’s just to refresh your memory, or inform you if you don’t know who George Kennan was and I’m glad that our young student is learning about the guy and he’s learning properly. Now, if you want to compare… This is the thing about Kennan because it’s confusing. The Sources of Soviet Conduct was written in 1947. By today’s standards George Kennan would be considered a hawk. That’s how far the left has gone. That’s how passive and appeasement-oriented today’s left has become. I mean, Kennan was never in favor of embracing people like Castro or going out and applauding Castro from the floor of the House of Representatives or what have you.
He recognized they were bad people. His assessment of how to contain them was incorrect. He did not say that they were inherently bad or evil people. They were just insecure. Which, course, was not the case — and Kennan, if you want to know, was one of the foremost intellectual architects of the Marshall Plan. The Marshall Plan is where we rebuilt Europe after World War II. So I’m glad the caller mentioned George Kennan because I haven’t heard that name in I don’t know how long. Throughout the eighties and even into the nineties — well, mostly the eighties when the Cold War was hot and when Reagan came along. That’s when George Kennan’s stature rose again. Because Reagan scared the left.
‘Oh, no! Reagan’s going to wipe these guys out! The bombing starts in five minutes,’ and that wasn’t containment. They feared annihilation where, of course, the Soviets would fire back and we would lose. (interruption) Well, I’m not going to sit here and criticize the Marshall Plan. It’s a done deal. It’s over and done with. I would have to say that the roots — in my humble opinion, just off the top of my fertile mind, since you’ve asked me, Snerdley, just what I think of the Marshall Plan — I’ll bet you that we could commission a study, and we would find that the building blocks of Western European socialism are intricately bound to the Marshall Plan. You remember Churchill. Churchill was victorious in World War II, and two months later he’s voted out of office because he was perceived…
And Thatcher. There’s a great story on this in the American Spectator today on Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill, contrasts in conservatives. It’s a study for anybody who wants to study conservatism today, which model to take. So the Marshall Plan comes along and we basically rebuilt the place, and it was a giant welfare project, maybe born of good intentions. I mean, the place had been destroyed. But has anybody ever rebuilt us? We’ve done it ourselves. So I’ve always been suspicious of the Marshall Plan as having a… I don’t know what impact or how big a role, but clearly European socialism has been on the march for many, many, many, many moons — I mean years, decades — before it began its fervent march here.
RUSH: You asked me about the Marshall Plan and George Kennan. The thing you gotta understand about George Kennan and the reason why he was so revered with all these other contradictory things about him: He never, ever wanted to defeat the Soviets. He wanted to contain them, and as you know, that became the bible of our foreign policy with the Soviets. Contain them, balance of power. What’s her name, the idiot. Madeleine Albright. ‘We need two or three more superpowers. We can’t be the lone superpower! We need another superpower so that it’s balanced out out there,’ making no moral distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. ‘No matter if the United States is an agent for good in the world, an agent for decency. We need a competing superpower to keep ourselves in check.’
That was the thinking. And you can see the survival of the George Kennan belief system, the containment, today. What are we doing with Iran? What are we doing in North Korea? We’re trying to contain them. We’re trying to contain Al-Qaeda, although with Al-Qaeda, we are going to war with them at various places but we’re not trying to wipe ’em out. We’re trying to contain them into certain countries, areas of certain countries. Now, the Marshall Plan. At the time the Marshall Plan was underway, it was criticized for not eliminating Central Planning. The Marshall Plan kept in place the whole Central Planning concept there. It was criticized for not eliminating Central Planning and restoring a market economy in Europe. It didn’t do that, especially in those countries which had adopted more fascist and corporatist economic policies. So it was a money giveaway. ‘Here. We’re going to rebuild you,’ but we didn’t require any change. (interruption)
You start criticizing the Marshall Plan and I guarantee you that these little elves in the left are going to come bopping out of their little mole holes and go nuts here ’cause the Marshall Plan, they love. To the left, criticizing that is like criticizing the virgin birth. You know, you just don’t do it. Yeah, I… (interruption) Well, we were all taught it’s one of the greatest accomplishments. Well, it was. Just in the strict sense of what was accomplished, it was, look at what we did. We rebuilt totally destroyed continent, but we rebuilt it as it was. So that’s why I say the Marshall Plan helped cement the whole notion of European socialism. They just got to sit around and soak it all up. They didn’t have to do anything for it. In fact, they required us to bail ’em out on the war in the first place.