tation, “The right to freedom as inherentnto man cannot be proved empirically,nbut at all times, man has attempted to benfree and has rebelled against unreasonablenunfreedom.” Whether one acceptsnthe existence of God or not, Kolakowski’snstatement stands. I choose to acceptnit as demonstration of the source ofnfreedom.nIs it thus worth defending ourselvesnfrom those who would deny even thenLetter from New York: Era of Illusionsnby Alan J. LevinenIn the summer of 1982, New YorknCity was the center of one of the biggestnpolitical demonstrations of recent yearsn—a demonstration in favor of a nuclearnfreeze. Now, I regard a nuclear freeze as anmeasure that, at best, might give thenworld as much relief as Anatole Francenthought socialism would—as much as ansick man turning over in bed—and, atnworst, as an exercise in suicidal stupidity.nSo I missed that splendid occasion,nthough in lower Manhattan I had tondodge the marching ranks of the LesbiannNationalist Party en route to save thenworld. And, as one often does, I reactednto the eruption of emotionalism andnpropaganda by refusing even to thinknabout nuclear war or the Cold War. But anreal stimulus to thought on those perennialnissues soon landed on my desk: JohnnLewis Gaddis’s Strategies of Containmentn(New York: Oxford UniversitynPress, 1982). Professor Gaddis is also thenauthor of The United States and thenOrigins of the Cold War. He provides ansound and stimulating commentary onnpostwar American foreign policy—anfield which has been dominated by foolsnand charlatans for nearly two decades.nIn discussing world affairs, people’snfears seem to concentrate primarily eithernon the “Bomb” or on totalitarian con-nDr. Levine is a historian in New YorknCity.nmost basic economic, political, and socialnfreedoms that we so abundantly enjoy? Inwill do everything in my power to assurenmy children and grandchildren that theynwill never face the gulag. It is the least Incan do in thanks to the God who hasngranted me liberty. I pray that other stillfreenpeople might come to recognize notnjust the source of their freedom, but thentranscending importance of guarding itnin reaffirmation of their own humanity.nquest. One of those fears is largely thenproperty of the left, the other of thenright. Yet, in reality, each view of thenproblem is so dangerously narrow thatnthe two problems actually become one.nGaddis’s book will not provide a key tondealing with this symbiosis, but it doesncontribute to understanding it.nSeveral periods in the development ofnAmerican Cold War strategy are treated.nThe first period was that from 1945 ton1950, in which Kennan’s doctrine of then”containment” of Soviet power becamenAmerican policy. The second was thenKorean War era, during which the Trumannadministration adopted the policiesnrecommended by Paul Nitze in NationalnnnSecurity Council Paper 68. The third wasnthe Eisenhower era, during which Americannpolicy became dependent on nuclearnweapons to deter local as well asnglobal conflicts. The fourth was thenKennedy-Johnson era of “flexible response,”nof growing concentration onncommunist threats to backward countries—andnthe era of Vietnam. The fifthnperiod was that of Nixon, Ford, Carter,nand “detente.” Within these fivenperiods, Gaddis sees an alternation betweennpolicies which he calls “symmetrical”nand “asymmetrical” responses tonSoviet, or communist, threats. Then”asymmetrical” policies of Kennan, thenEisenhower administration, and thendetente era, while differing in manynaspects, all rejected the notion ofncountering every enemy move or ofnbuilding up an equivalent to every Sovietncapability. They sought instead to pitnAmerican strengths against Soviet weaknesses.nEach emphasized the exploitationnof divisions within the communistnworld. It may come as a surprise thatnEisenhower and Dulles had a highly sophisticatedninterest in promoting suchnfeuds; this fact, long ignored by theirncritics, is brought out by Gaddis.nPolicies of “symmetrical response,”nhowever, did envisage defensive countersnto every enemy move and capability,nand in general promoted a more intensivenapproach to the communist threat. Itnwas fiscally liberal and Keynesian-orientednadministrations that tended tonpursue such policies; since any liberal administrationnin the near future is not likelynto favor a strong foreign policy, this setnof ideas is probably a thing of the past.nWhile also banking on the value of intracommunistnstruggles and nationalist resistancento communist domination, believersnin the “symmetrical response”nregarded them as insufficient. Unfortunatelynthe efforts required for “symmetrical”npolicies have been so expensivenand painful that they have not lastednvery long.nThough there is some continuity betweennthe ideas of NSC-68 and those ofnthe Kennedy-Johnson era, there is littlen^^^45nMarch 1983n