Truman

U.S. Cold War Policy Was Designed by a Bigot

George Kennan's diaries reveal just how much he hated America

In his decades of influential writing and policymaking, George Kennan presented himself as a hard-headed realist. He was anything but.

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Obama's win is a major victory not only for Democrats, but all Americans.

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During convention season, the polls temporarily provide a less accurate picture of the race as voters sway back and forth on either side of their eventual preference. But this week, the polls are becoming more and more predictive of the eventual outcome with every passing day.

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If the Supreme Court overturns key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, it will precipitate the largest confrontation between the Court and a president since the mid-1930s. Yes, the Court prevented Truman from seizing the steel mills and forced Nixon to give up the tapes. But in those instances the decision ended the controversy because the President chose not to prolong it. Not so this time: President Obama has signaled his intention to make the Court a central issue in the fall campaign if it guts his signature policy achievement.

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The best part of James Fallows’s excellent new evaluation of Barack Obama’s presidency (“Obama, Explained” in the March Atlantic) comes at the end. That’s when Fallows quotes at length a memo that the New Deal lawyer James H. Rowe, Jr. wrote for Truman after the House and Senate went Republican in 1946. The memo’s basic message is, “It’s impossible to cooperate when the other party controls Congress. Don’t even try.

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Strategist and Scourge

George F. Kennan: An American Life By John Lewis Gaddis (Penguin, 784 pp., $39.95) I. George F. Keenan, who was born in 1904 and died in 2005, and served under presidents from Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy, left as deep an imprint on American geopolitics as any intellectual of the twentieth century. But the exact nature of his achievement continues to elude full or even coherent description. One reason is that most of his very long life was spent in comparative obscurity.

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The GOP vs. TR

One of the reasons that it was clever for Obama to give his Dec.

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The Obama administration, after failing to head off a Palestinian request to the Security Council for United Nations membership, is prepared to use its veto against it. In an undistinguished address to the General Assembly on Wednesday, President Barack Obama advised the Palestinians to bypass the UN and to confine their campaign for statehood to negotiations with Israel.

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Justices and Journalists: The U.S. Supreme Court and the Media By Richard Davis (Cambridge University Press, 241 pp., $28.99) The way in which every person, every institution, relates to people is essentially, though often unconsciously, theatrical. We are experts in self-presentation, in acting a part to further our aims and interests. We have, all of us, a public relations strategy. This is true of the Supreme Court, too, and of the individual Supreme Court justices.

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President Obama's speech today was about policy and politics. But it was also about principles, as Obama made clear early in his remarks:  From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity.

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