Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kennan on Russia

"At the bottom of the Kremlin's neurotic view of world affairs is traditional and instinctive Russian sense of insecurity. Originally, this was insecurity of a peaceful agricultural people trying to live on vast exposed plain in neighborhood of fierce nomadic peoples. To this was added, as Russia came into contact with economically advanced West, fear of more competent, more powerful, more highly organized societies in that area.

"Russian rulers have invariably sensed that their rule was relatively archaic in form, fragile and artificial in its psychological systems of Western countries. For this reason they have always feared foreign penetration, feared direct contact between the Western world and their own, feared what would happen if Russians learned truth about world without or if foreigners learned truth about world within... "

George Kennan, in a document sent to President Harry S. Truman in 1946
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