The Foreign Service Journal, March 2023

68 MARCH 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL interests were not at stake, Kennan opposed U.S. military interventions in Vietnam, Iraq, and elsewhere. Never backing away from a cerebral dust-up, Kennan clashed with neoconservative thinkers, who actively favored interven- tion as a policy option. At the same time, Kennan was at odds with Wilsonian liberals in oppos- ing America’s increasing emphasis on human rights in conducting its foreign affairs. To Kennan, “moralistic posing” regarding the domestic affairs of other countries often led to misunderstand- ing and blowback. Congdon goes on to quote vintage Kennan, who posited: “We Americans must realize that we cannot be the keepers and moral guardians of all the peoples in this world.” Kennan also opposed NATO enlarge- ment, perceiving it as a provocation to Russia. In discussing this subject, the author claims that U.S. negotiators agreed in 1990 that NATO would not move “one inch to the east.” That asser- tion, which is also advanced by Putin’s Russia, is not accurate. Peter Baker and Susan Glasser minutely analyzed this issue in their 2020 book, The Man Who Ran Washing- ton: The Life and Times of James Baker III (see the June 2021 FSJ review). The 1990 talks on Germany’s unification covered many areas, and there was much give and take. That said, Moscow freely assented to the expansion of NATO’s jurisdiction into eastern Ger- many. Moreover, the United States never made any commitment to Russia not to expand NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. A penetrating work, George Ken- nan for Our Time performs a service in recalling Kennan’s luminous con- tributions as a diplomat and historian. Although he could be polemical at times, his espousal of the principle of nonintervention has proven analytically resilient, especially given the variety of setbacks faced by the United States in recent decades. Simultaneously, Ken- nan’s respect for long-term planning and professionalism, including linguis- tic competence, continues to be worth emulating by today’s Foreign Service. Joseph L. Novak is a writer based in Washington, D.C. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London and a retiree member of the American Foreign Service Association. A former lawyer, he served as a Foreign Service officer for 30 years. China on the Offensive Beijing’s Global Media Offensive: China’s Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World Joshua Kurlantzick, Oxford University Press, 2022, $29.95/hardcover, e-book available, 560 pages. Reviewed by Josh Glazeroff In the latest incarnation of the “Black Panther” franchise, “Wakanda Forever,” the director of the CIA (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus with purple-tinged hair) dreams of a scenario whereby the United States is the only country with access to “vibranium,” an ele- ment of vast power. In the real world, China, too, dreams of tools that would take it to the top of the global leaderboard. Just as the prospect of the United States having unlimited power should lead one to rethink policy goals, so too giving China limitless access to every country’s internal workings gives one pause. Joshua Kurlantzick’s new book, Bei- jing’s Global Media Offensive warns us that China has already made significant inroads to just such power—and opens up the question: What can we as policy- makers do about it? Kurlantzick is a well-traveled observer of China’s efforts to inform and influence other nations. He is a long-experienced activist when it comes to highlighting U.S. weaknesses in countering such efforts. As foreign policy practitioners, we need to pay attention, whether it’s address- ing immediate events or the long-term consequences of these public diplomacy workings. What is our response? Kurlantzick opens with the notion: “Beijing’s time has come.” China “increasingly and openly wants to reshape the world in its image and is using its influence and informa- tion efforts to promote this brand of … authoritarianism.” With a combina- tion of soft and “sharp” power, China is winning over countries big and small, both in Asia and in places (Europe) you wouldn’t expect. Using a strategy on the time scale of decades and investing billions in new information tools, the Chinese govern- ment has a game plan for success on a global front. They are using tools that the West no longer focuses on (like journal- ists on the ground in foreign locations). They are using the latest in social media (even if not permitted in China itself). They are working within the West’s own political system to bring change organically, but not necessarily in those countries’ interest. “Beijing uses a wide