As Seen on GPS: Mr. X to Mr. Y & Containment to Sustainment
George F. Kennan in Heidelberg, Germany after his recall from Moscow, 24th October 1952. (Getty Images)
April 24th, 2011
09:55 AM ET

As Seen on GPS: Mr. X to Mr. Y & Containment to Sustainment

Today on GPS, Fareed mentioned The Sources of Soviet Conduct by Mr. X (later revealed to be George Kennan), and a new essay called A National Strategic Narrative by Mr. Y.

Here's what Foreign Policy had to say about the Mr. Y article:

On Friday, April 8, as members of the U.S. Congress engaged in a last-minute game of chicken over the federal budget, the Pentagon quietly issued a report that received little initial attention: "A National Strategic Narrative." The report was issued under the pseudonym of "Mr. Y," a takeoff on George Kennan's 1946 "Long Telegram" from Moscow (published under the name "X" the following year in Foreign Affairs) that helped set containment as the cornerstone of U.S. strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union.

The piece was written by two senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a "personal" capacity, but it is clear that it would not have seen the light of day without a measure of official approval. Its findings are revelatory, and they deserve to be read and appreciated not only by every lawmaker in Congress, but by every American citizen.

The narrative argues that the United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly. The report says Americans are overreacting to Islamic extremism, underinvesting in their youth, and failing to embrace the sense of competition and opportunity that made America a world power. The United States has been increasingly consumed by seeing the world through the lens of threat, while failing to understand that influence, competitiveness, and innovation are the key to advancing American interests in the modern world.

Courageously, the authors make the case that America continues to rely far too heavily on its military as the primary tool for how it engages the world.

Take a look a the report and then, if you feel so moved, write your congressperson about it here.

And let us know in the poll below whether you think the U.S. should substantially reduce its military expenditures to decrease the deficit and/or allocate money to other priorities.

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Topics: Russia • Strategy • United States

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