George Kennan Prompt

Topics: United States, Cold War, Gulf War Pages: 2 (415 words) Published: October 9, 2011
George F. Kennan's "Training for Statesmanship" (1953) characterizes America's distribution of power as unique, stating that unlike other nations, the “United States lacks a national uniformed police establishment functioning as the vehicle of a central political will." Kennan's most compelling observation is that power within the United States thrives in every aspect of American life---from the obvious courts of law to economic bodies, regardless of whether or not that is legal. This observation of how American power is allotted is critical to understanding why the United States remains the world's only superpower after the Cold War. While other countries harbor all of their power in the government, the United States has separated its strength into every pocket of American society in order to maximize its global influence both economically and socially.

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Kennan clearly conveys that power exists in every American institution---from government units, such as police stations, to even the humblest, most seemingly innocent units of the community, like churches and elementary schools. Because America's power thrives in every branch of our society, Kennan notes that "our national life seems to be growing rather than declining." Americans---though culturally, racially, religiously, linguistically and ethnically diverse---are willing to consolidate these dispersed pockets of power in order to ensure the security of the nation as a whole. This statement of Kennan's expresses an unbelievable sense of patriotism: "We Americans place upon ourselves quite extraordinary obligations of conformity to the group in utterance and behavior." The word 'conformity' indicates that, essentially, all Americans love the United States to the degree that they are willing to help their fellow Americans despite theological, ethnic, racial, political, or economic differences. Our nation's efforts as a whole to combine forces---or to use the more Kennanian...
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