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George Kennan was the father of cold war foreign policy. Which isn’t to say that the author of the famous “long telegram”—which argued against postwar chumminess and in favor of containment as a basis of U.S. strategy—was always a proud papa. As containment became the rationale for an arms race, third-world proxy wars, and American involvement in Vietnam, the ex-diplomat became a leading academic voice for realism, calling on Washington to pipe down about the glories of multinational institutions and the centrality of human rights. The tension in his work helps explain why, 20 years after the USSR’s demise and six years after Kennan’s own death at age 101, he remains a source of intense debate and the subject of a popular new biography. One critic once explained that Kennan understood Russia but not the United States. Your take on the latter country, no doubt, will influence your reactions when biographer John Lewis Gaddis speaks this afternoon. Gaddis discusses his book at 3 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. (Michael Schaffer)
FOOD AND MOVIES
“Noodles and a Movie” at Freer Gallery might hit the spot: Award-winning Taiwanese chef Hou Chun-Sheng will dish out some of his famous beef noddles before a showing of Eat Drink Man Woman—-a foodie flick to be sure—-at the gallery’s Meyer Auditorium tonight. And it’s free. 6 p.m.
STORIES BASED ON MOVIES
Wire geeks take note: Tray Chaney, who played the woman-loving, drug-dealing Poot in the TV series—-is one of the judges at tonight’s movie-themed Story League contest. 9 p.m. at Busboys & Poets on 14th Street NW. $10.
Former catcher Joe Torre managed the New York Yankees from 1996 to 2007 and, basically, kicked ass the entire time. Tonight he stops by George Washington University to sprinkle bits of genius on his audience. 7 p.m. $40.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
What would Washington have looked like if, say, two highways ran parallel to the National Mall? Or if instead of the Lincoln Memorial, we got the Lincoln Pyramid? G. Martin Moeller Jr., Senior Vice President and curator of the National Building Museum, gives a talk about the wacky proposals lain before city planners over the years. The talk corresponds with the museum’s ongoing exhibit, Unbuilt Washington. 6:30 p.m. $20 for nonmembers.