Continuing the peace theme, The New Yorker has a fascinating little interview with the 98-year old George Kennan, who coined the phrase containment over 50 years ago.
“Wherever, in this modern age, one has to choose between war and no war, such is the fearfulness of modern armaments that one should give every conceivable preference to the possibilities and arguments for peace before resorting to the sword.”
And his description of Stalin, with whom he dealt personally, is vivid: Stalin had the “pocked face and yellow eyes of an old battle-scarred tiger”.
The award of the Nobel peace prize to Jimmy Carter is a good decision in a difficult year.
Carter wasn’t much of a president, but he has become a model of how to be an ex-president. He does little, if any, touring on the high-priced lecture circuit (look at this if you want to see what an ex-president can earn out there). He devotes himself to the difficult and unglamorous work of building democratic institutions and peace, and fighting disease and hunger. How many presidential institutes would take this on as part of their mission statement: “The Center addresses difficult problems and recognizes the possibilities of failure as an acceptable risk”?