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Kennan’s life was just how much the architect of America’s Cold War “containment” strategy—aimed at stopping Soviet expansionism—loved Russia.Kennan arguably played a larger role in shaping the U.This anniversary of Andrei Sakharov’s heroic essay comes during similarly dark days for the United States.
His eagerness to strike a nuclear deal with Iran muffled his moral voice during Iran’s Green Revolution of 2009.
And he refused to make diplomatic progress conditional on demands that Iran stop supporting terror globally or executing its own people at home. Trump has taken America’s human-rights-free foreign policy to absurd new heights.
For this work and other “thought crimes” the Soviet authorities stripped Sakharov of his honors, imprisoned many of his associates and, eventually, exiled him to Gorky. Although we dared not discuss it, my peers and I lived a life of double-think: toeing the Communist Party line in public, thinking independently in private.
In 1968, when this work was published, I was a 20-year-old mathematician studying at the Moscow equivalent of M. Like so many others, I read Sakharov’s essay in samizdat — a typewritten copy duplicated secretly, spread informally and read hungrily.
Sakharov’s essay, which coincided with the Prague Spring, helped energize democratic dissident movements that were just budding in a post-Stalinist world.
The largest of these was one I would soon join: the so-called refusenik movement to allow the Soviet Union’s long-oppressed Jews the freedom to emigrate.This radical argument changed the course of history.Sakharov’s essay carried a mild title — “Thoughts on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence and Intellectual Freedom” — but it was explosive.Fifty years ago this Sunday, this paper devoted three broadsheet pages to an essay that had been circulating secretly in the Soviet Union for weeks.The manifesto, written by Andrei Sakharov, championed an essential idea at grave risk today: that those of us lucky enough to live in open societies should fight for the freedom of those born into closed ones.“Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of mankind by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorships,” he wrote.Suddenly the Soviet Union’s most decorated physicist became its most prominent dissident.The wisdom of Sakharov’s essay may not be in fashion these days, but the truth it contains is eternal.People all over the world are waiting for an American leader to recover it.S.’s view of a major foreign power, and thus our relations with that power, than any other American in modern history.That the power in question was the Soviet Union, and the time in question the crucial period after World War II, made his outsized influence all the more remarkable. officials who guided the nation’s foreign policy in the Cold War, Kennan became the preeminent guide of all things Russia. side of the adversarial relationship, Kennan was deeply enamoured with Russia.