Saturday, November 30, 2013

Operating on the basis of limited perspective

I’d been reading George F. Kennan: An American Life by John Lewis Gaddis when I came across this paragraph, page 555, which really hit home:

But he was frightened. On the way from the airport, Kennan had stopped at the White House to see Arthur Schlesinger, now serving as a presidential aide – Kennedy was spending the weekend at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  “You and I are historians,” Schlesinger recorded Kennan having said, “or rather you are a real historian and I am a pseudo-historian.” 

We both know how tenuous a relation there is between man’s intentions and the consequences of his acts…. I have children, and I do not propose to let the future of mankind be settled or ended by a group of men operating on the basis of limited perspective and short-run calculations. I figure that the only thing left in life is to do everything I can to stop the war.