Not surprisingly, Victor Davis Hanson doesn’t care for George Kennan:
Also, George Kennan, who Paul repeatedly referenced in the remarks, was actually a blue-blood elitist whose saw foreign policy as the proper domain only of properly credentialed grandees quite different from someone like Rand Paul — Ivy League types who were above populist “jingoism,” which helps explain why Kennan was opposed to Reaganesque rollback and, even earlier, the hard containment policies of Dean Acheson.
It’s true that Kennan disliked the influence of domestic politics on foreign policy, he was leery of mass democracy, and he spoke out against the excesses of popular anticommunism. It’s fair to say that he was an elitist of sorts, but that isn’t why he took the positions he did. He found fault with more aggressive Cold War policies because he judged them rightly to be dangerous and destructive. Before Reagan was on the political scene, Kennan was opposed to rollback because rollback as its early supporters envisioned it was a recipe for another world war. Sen. Paul referred to Kennan’s containment as a “middle path.” Rollback was one of the extremes that was being avoided. Even though the Eisenhower administration was elected on a platform of promoting rollback, it fortunately never put the policy into practice, because it quickly became clear how insane and disastrous it would have been to try. The “hard containment” policies Hanson mentions were largely responsible for getting the U.S. into two major wars in Asia, one of which was entirely unnecessary. For his part, Kennan wisely opposed the war in Vietnam. This wasn’t simply because he was “above” popular jingoism, though he was, but because he correctly saw the folly of aggressive policies that people at the highest levels of government favored.