From a lecture by former arms control director Eugene V. Rostow at The Naval War College in Newport on June 16:
The principle of a more active defense embodied in the Reagan Doctrine was part of George Kennan's original formulation of the policy of containment. The Soviet pressure on the free institutions of the Western world cannot be ''charmed or talked out of existence,'' Kennan wrote, but can be ''contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counterforce at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points, corresponding to the shifts and maneuvers of Soviet policy.'' . . .
Thus far the Reagan Doctrine has been explained in terms of ideology rather than the geo-politics of the national interest. The first few tentative American and allied moves in the direction of a more active defense -- in Lebanon, in Libya and in Nicaragua, for example -- have been poorly planned and badly executed. But in democracies the first few steps toward a new policy usually have that character. If we learn from our mistakes, the Reagan Doctrine could become an indispensable supplement to the policy of containment which has been the cornerstone of Western foreign policy since 1947.
The West cannot remain mesmerized forever within the limits of its 1947 posture, waiting for Soviet policy to mellow.
. . . I can imagine no better antidote for the frustration and irritability which now characterize allied relationships than allied cooperation in mounting successful applications of counterforce at outposts of the Soviet empire and shifting geographical points around its periphery.
The Soviet empire is extremely vulnerable to such a peninsular strategy.