GEORGE KENNAN AND THE HISPANIC-LUSITANIAN WORLD
A CONTEMPORARY REFLECTION
Antonio Luis Ramos Membrive
Diplomático y escritor
In May 1955, the renowned writer and Nobel Prize winner T.S. Eliot delivered an address at Hamburg University later published under the title Goethe as the Sage. It is an extremely interesting piece of work not only for the views expressed, but also for the way in which Eliot approaches his subject theme, namely, Goethe. One could expect an in-depth analysis of the life and works of the German national hero, a dissertation on the significance of Faust or the Divan, a lengthy scrutiny on his literary influences, his worldly amusements, his relationships with Schiller or Hölderlin, his passion for Ulrike von Levetzow, or his political beliefs as Privy Councilor to the Court of Weimar. However, that is not the case at all. The lecture, reconverted afterwards into an essay, rather uses Goethe as an excuse. Not even a single quotation of him is offered. Certainly, it highlights his value, alongside the tutelary figures of Shakespeare and Dante, as a “Great European”; it explores what the so-called “Wisdom” of Goethe consists of, relating that feature to the overall signification of the author as both a poet and a classic; and it profits the occasion to take back some disparaging words said about him many years before. But one has the feeling that Eliot, quite cunningly, is referring the reader to a higher picture in spite of Goethe and through Goethe: that picture is nothing less than European civilization, what it represents, how it is construed, and why it should linger and persevere and carry on. As the lecturer said: indeed, I suspect that when we call any Man of Letters a Great European, we are exceeding the limits of purely literary judgment- we are making an historical, social and ethical evaluation as well. 
Following these Eliotian elusive and somehow slanted tactics, the present writing focalizes on another man of high stature, surely less well known than Goethe, but tremendously important to the way we see and appreciate the world today: the diplomat, strategist, historian and philosopher George Frost Kennan. In particular, we shall endeavor to study his concept of the West in the wake of the ending of World War II, as well as his reflections on that part of the globe which we shall call the Hispanic-Lusitanian area, and how they relate to each other (or rather how they do not relate). Then, we shall use this knowledge to make a reappraisal of the place of this region within the bosom of the West in the immediate future. That is, needless to say, the real, unconcealed and ultimate aim of these lines.
Kennan, the undisputed architect of US strategy after 1945
On March 18, 2005, newspapers from both sides of the Atlantic, from the New York Times, to the Economist or the Guardian, unanimously published commendatory and effusive eulogies in honor of the departed figure of George Kennan, who passed away at the age of 101.
In the words of one of those commentators, Kennan was the American diplomat who did more than any other envoy of his generation to shape United States policy during the cold war, as well as the man to whom the White House and the Pentagon turned when they sought to understand the Soviet Union after World War II.
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