More Than a Doctrine
After the Suez Crisis of 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed Congress with a strong declaration: The United States will distribute economic and military aid, and, if necessary, use force, to stop communism from spreading throughout the world.” This became known as Eisenhower Doctrine which assured US aid for any nation threatened by communism within the Middle East region.
This doctrine marked a dramatic shift in American policy toward the region, signaling its acceptance of its position as the dominant outside power and creating long-term regional engagements that would span into the following decade.
Eisenhower’s policy was controversial. He failed to gain support from Arab governments or Israel for it and historians believe that its implementation underestimated Arab nationalism espoused by Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser. Most notable was its use during Lebanon Crisis 1958 when Eisenhower sent US troops into Lebanon as a preventative measure against any revolution which may be led by elements supporting Syria or Soviet Russia.
More Than a Doctrine delves into the debate that preceded and followed Eisenhower Doctrine and how its legacy remains influential today. Randall Fowler contends that although Eisenhower Doctrine may have not fully met its objective of shaping postwar American policies toward the Middle East and shaping perceptions about that region.
This book shows that the Cold War was more than simply an international military conflict between the US and Soviet Union; rather it also represented a battle over Asia and Africa’s developing regions; this explains why so many of those caught up in it were poor countries that fell prey to communism’s appeals.
Eisenhower had little interest in foreign involvement; yet, despite this aversion he pursued the Cold War vigorously and often used covert actions to avoid taking public responsibility for interventions he ordered. He utilized the CIA to administer bribes and use other dirty tactics in an effort to undermine Communist influence while supporting friendly governments. Ho Chi Minh established a Communist government throughout Vietnam without his intervention; Eisenhower believed, however, that his support of Ngo Dinh Diem had saved South Vietnam. Additionally, when Chinese forces shelled Nationalist-controlled islands in Taiwan Strait, Congress approved Eisenhower’s use of military power to protect them – another small but crucial victory during the Cold War.