Ronald Steel

Ronald Steel is author of Walter Lippmann and the American Century (Little, Brown/Atlantic Monthly Press) and professor emeritus of international relations at the University of Southern California.

Recent Articles

Cold Warrior

The four-decades-long confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union—a Cold War that periodically threatened to turn hot—spawned many warriors, but few more interesting or complex than George Frost Kennan. As a midlevel American diplomat based in Moscow during the late 1940s, he articulated the “containment” doctrine that defined American policy toward the Soviet Union. Warning that the leaders in the Kremlin were driven by a quest for global power that could be restrained only by vigilant application of “counter-force,” this hitherto obscure diplomat, far removed from the centers of decision-making, provided a strategy for America’s confrontation with communism. For policy-makers, eager to spread American influence, containment—political, military, and economic—offered the means to turn a threat into an opportunity. Yet as the deadly contest between the two giants spread across the globe and periodically threatened...