tcrcstcd of the country’s elite and proposesrnthat tlic 50 states be replaced by arnfederation of larger geographical regionsrnmore independent of Washington, D.C.rn”I regard mvsclf,” he says, “if anyonernwants to know, as a Christian, althoughrnthere are certainly others who wouldrnquestion my right to that status.” (Thisrnreyicvyer, haying read Mr. Kennan’s yersionrnof Christianity, is one of them.)rnl ie regards man as a highly imperfectablerncreature and is therefore opposedrnin principle to the progrcssiyernagenda. The end of the Cold War, hernargues, presents “a demand for nothingrnless than a redesigning of the entirerngreat pattern of America’s interactionrnin the rest of the world.” While favoringrna strong military, he believes thatrnAmerica must now abandon many of itsrnforeign entanglements in order to concentraternon domestic problems. Thoughrnhe values the United Nations as “the onlyrnsymbol of the community of fate thatrnunites all branches of the human family,”rnhe defends “the sound old principlernof noninterference in the . . . domesticrnaffairs [of individual states].”rnI ohn I.ukacs, who insists on being re-rnI gardcd as a historian, not a prophet, isrnnevertheless in the (professionally if notrnpersonally) happy position of a manrnwhose lifetime work is being confirmedrnby history. (As an admiring friend ofrnmine has remarked, Lukacs can sayrnmore about the 20th century in tenrnpages than anyone else can say in arnbook.) In The End of the Twentieth Century,rnhe restates a theme that has preoccupiedrnhim for most of his professionalrnlife and tests it against the eventsrnof the last four years in Eastern Europe.rnAlso he reverts to an argument he developedrn17 years ago in ihe Last EuropeanrnWar, 1939-1941 (still in my opinionrnthe best of his many wonderfulrnbooks): that Hitler, not Lenin, was therngreat revolutionary of the 20th century,rnin which wars rather than revolutionsrnwere the formative events and nations,rnnot classes, bore arms against eachrnother. This century, Lukacs proposes,rnactually began in 1914 and ended inrn1989, comprising a period of 75 yearsrndominated by the two great “mountainrnranges” of the world wars and broughtrnto its antielimactic conclusion bv thernCold Wir.rnTo the extent that George Kennanrnand John Lukacs are betes noires forrnAmerican “conservatives,” their evil reputationrnrests largely upon their understandingrnof the Soviet Union and of thernCold War. Eor four decades, both menrnhave been simply unable to credit Americanrnanticommunists as the heroes theyrnhave always claimed to be. At no timernsince 1945, Lukacs and Kennan believe,rnwas the Soviet Union a serious threat tornthe West. Defensive rather than offensivernby nature, it was doomed by itsrnweaknesses and contradictions to eventualrnimplosion, making “rollback” an unnecessaryrnas well as a highly imprudentrnpolicy. Stalin, I ,ukaes insists, was a Russianrnnationalist, devoted to the consolidationrnand retention of domestic powerrnand utterly disinterested in the triumphrnof “international Communism.” ThernSoviet Union, he argues, “had nothingrnto do with these Communist revolutions”rnin the Third World, where “a tribalrnhatred of foreign, in most cases white,rnpower,” prevailed. “The obsession withrnCommunism obscured the main conditionrnof the Cold War, which had little torndo with Communism” but everythingrnto do with considerations of nationalrnpower and security. In Lukacs’ opinion,rnanticomniunism in the United Statesrnwas a sort of Masonic ring by whichrnrespectable patriotic Americans couldrnrecognize one another, and an elaboraternprofessional structure in which opportunistsrncould engage in what todayrnis called “networking” and therebyrnestablish careers for themselves. Anticommunismrn”was the ideological cementrnthat bound the Republican ‘conservative’rnmovement together—arncement that may be dissolving now.”rn(Indeed the issue is whether the “conservatives”rnthemselves will not dissolve:rnalready they appear to be evanescingrnslowly, slowly before our wondering andrnastonished eyes, and their network withrnthem.)rnI’he broad differences in scope andrnaim between these books may easily obscurernthe fact that both are in some degreerntreatments of the same subject,rnviewed respectively in its particular andrngeneral aspects. The concern of Aroundrnthe Cragged Hill is essentially the destructionrnof the Old Republic and of thernvirtues of republican society (includingrnthe availability of domestic help!) byrnprogressive and nationalist forces—rnwhich, Lukacs shows, are actually onernand the same thing, as the career ofrnTheodore Roosevelt clearly demonstrates.rn(“To think that nationalism isrna reactionary phenomenon is a grave error.”)rnAnd I’he End of the ‘twentiethrnCentury is about these same forces atrnwork throughout the rest of the world,rnbeginning at least with Otto von Bismarckrnwho imposed the first social securityrnsystem on the new German state.rnLukacs speculates that nationalism,rnwhile remaining “more than the wavernof the past” and “still the tide of thernpresent,” may not dominate the future:rn”Something new (and probably unexpected)rnwill emerge in Western Europernduring the next few decades.”rnParliamentary liberalism was a productrnof a particular social structure thernlikes of which we shall not see again.rnMultiparty democracy of the Westernrnsort, which immediately replaced therncommunist system in the newly liberatedrnstates of Eastern Europe, is unlikelyrnto survive, Lukacs predicts, but willrnprobably be supplanted by single-partyrngovernment. In the West, the conceptrnof a united Europe lacks “character andrnmeaning,” the “conscious (and thereforernhistorical) ideal” needed to give itrnlife. Meanwhile, at century’s end, liberalismrnis in retreat, while “almost everywherernoverextended and heavily bureaucraticrngovernments vacillat[e] atoprnsocieties whose cohesion is looseningrnvisibly. . . . At the end of the ModernrnAge the size of the state increases alongrnwith the decrease of its authority, becausernof the decreasing respect and efficiencyrnof its powers.”rnThat passage, encountered at the endrnof the first disastrous month of the Clintonrnadministration, appears not just insightfulrnbut truly prophetic: a compellingrnexplanation of the President’srnlist (already nearly as long as Leporello’s)rnof broken promises made last yearrnto the American electorate. Bill Clinton’srnactions in office strongly suggestrna strategy developed from the start ofrnhis campaign for the presidency butrnkept carefully hidden from the voters: arnstrategy designed to promote a last-ditchrneffort at imposing socialism on thernUnited States and reasserting the waningrnprestige—and through it the power—rnof the modern state. “I have been heartened,”rnGeorge Kennan told an interviewerrnbefore the inaugural, “by what Irnhave seen and heard said by Mr. Clinton,rnhis actions and statements duringrnthe interregnum,” adding that he wasrnhappy to see “younger people comingrnin, who listen to others.” Obviously,rnthey have not been paying attention tornMr. Kennan. crnMAY 1993/35rnrnrn