George Kennan And Robert Mcnamara's American Diplomacy

1170 Words 5 Pages
The dynamic between expertise and public opinion has proven to be cause major tensions in American foreign affairs. Both George Kennan and Robert McNamara offer viewpoints that both affirms and alters the presumption that expertise is essential in policy making within the U.S. legislative branch. Kennan argues for the necessity of expertise after witnessing the affect American public opinion has on policy making throughout WWII and the early Cold War. McNamara is an expert and provides insight into the pro’s and con’s of having such experts be the main foreign policy makers with reference to his experience throughout the Vietnam War. What is clear after reviewing both perspectives is that although having expertise within the legislative branch is helpful, it …show more content…
foreign policy making. Kennan identifies public opinion to be a problem that hinders policy makers in the U.S. from making effective policy internationally. “[…] A good deal of trouble seems to have stemmed from the extent to which the executive has felt itself beholden to short-term trends of public opinion in the country and from what we might call the erratic and subjective nature of public reaction to foreign policy.” (Kennan 99) There is a problem behind the connection between public opinion and legislative moral approach to foreign policy.
U.S. Policy of containment was idealized to be the prevention of communism from spreading through the use of counterforce. America over exaggerated the threat of communism to the public because they did not want the communism influence to spread. The concern was that the government needed the public’s approval enough to the extent that they were prepared to lie about the severity of the problem. Additionally the public’s response was so aggressive against all things communism under McCarthyism, that state action became more rash in attempts to appease the

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