11 June 2024

'New Containment' Strategy Is Doomed To Fail | Opinion

Carlos Roa

In recent years, the concept of "containment" has made a surprising comeback in U.S. foreign policy circles, with strategists proposing a "New Containment" strategy aimed at Russia and China. This idea, modeled after America's Cold War strategy, seeks to create a cordon sanitaire around these nations, using economic and military measures to limit their influence.

This approach, however, is fundamentally flawed, and risks not only failure but an exacerbation of global tensions. Indeed, as scholars Nicolai N. Petro and Arta Moeini argue, the current trajectory of the Russo-Ukrainian War highlights the dangers of underestimating Russia's willingness to defend its perceived vital interests, even at great cost to itself.

The original containment strategy, as conceived by George Kennan, was tailored to the unique geopolitical context of the Cold War. It aimed to limit Soviet expansion through a combination of military deterrence and economic incentives, focusing on areas of strategic importance while avoiding direct conflict. Kennan's approach was nuanced, recognizing the limitations of military power and emphasizing the need for political and ideological engagement.

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