Wikipedia's page on George F. Kennan says that he

warned against U.S. participation and reliance on multilateral, legalistic and moralistic organizations such as the United Nations.

(Citing a review of his auto-biography.) But that page says little else about the UN.

Interestingly, Charles E. Bohlen who worked with Kennan side-by-side numerous times (according to his own auto-biography) quotes [p. 175] a letter Bohlen says he received from Kennan, on his arrival at the Yalta conference, in which:

Kennan suggested, in addition to the “partition of Europe,” the following:

  1. That plans for the United Nations be buried “as quickly and quietly as possible,” because the only practical effect of creating an international organization would be to commit the United States to defend a “swollen and unhealthy Russian sphere of power.”


So, I'm curious how sustained was Kennan's opposition to the creation of the UN thereafter. Did he express it again in similarly strong terms?

  • 2
    Interesting dude. Appears to have been one of the fathers of the "Containment Strategy", but this particular multilateral-skeptic position is classic Jacksonianism, and it looks he spent the rest of his career arguing that it was intended to be a reactionary strategy, not the proactive one others turned it into.
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 17, 2023 at 15:31


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