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Key Issues Nuclear Weapons History Cold War Strategy The X-Article

The X-Article

In the summer of 1947 George Kennan published an article in the foreign policy magazine, Foreign Affairs , identifying himself as "X," in "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" a.k.a. the "X-article." The article introduced the term "containment" to a larger audience. As the U.S. response to the origins of the cold war, containment wanted a persistent and patient long-term strategy to guarantee a change in the nature of the Soviet Union.

The X-article was not thought to be an official government statement. It drew a lot of criticism by

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Walter Lippmann, who early on criticized Kennan's thoughts for what Samuel Huntington in the 1990s called the Lippmann Gap and what Paul Kennedy then named imperial overstretch : a mismatch between objectives, commitments and resources, a criticism that Kennan quickly accepted as his own.