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Sun Jan 27, 2013, 01:54 PM

Chuck Hagel and President Eisenhower...


In '56 Crisis, Some Parallels

By David Ignatius - January 27, 2013


But the most compelling evidence of Hagel's fascination is that he purchased three-dozen copies of an Eisenhower biography and gave copies to President Obama, Vice President Biden and then-Defense Secretary Bob Gates, according to the book's author, David Nichols.

The book that so interested Hagel, "Eisenhower 1956," examines one of the most delicate and dangerous moments of Ike's presidency. Published in 2011, it's basically the story of how Eisenhower forced Israel, Britain and France to withdraw from their invasion of the Suez Canal -- thereby establishing the United States as the dominant, independent power in the Middle East.

It's impossible to read Nichols' book without thinking of recent tensions between the U.S. and Israel over the threat posed by Iran's nuclear program. Just as Egypt's mercurial leader Gamal Abdel Nasser posed the pre-eminent threat to Israel in the 1950s, so it is today with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Iran. What's interesting about Eisenhower is that, while sympathetic to Israel's defense needs, he was also determined to maintain an independent U.S. policy and avoid a war that might involve the Soviet Union.


When the Israeli invasion came on Oct. 29, a week before the U.S. election, Eisenhower was irate. He told Secretary of State John Foster Dulles: "Foster, you tell 'em, God-damn-it, that we're going to apply sanctions, we're going to the United Nations, we're going to do everything that there is so we can stop this thing." The U.S, did, indeed, win a cease-fire resolution at the U.N., despite opposition from Britain, France and Israel.

Eisenhower took a political risk. He was blasted by his Democratic rival, Adlai Stevenson, who charged on Nov. 1 that if the U.S. had acted more forcefully to support Israel, it might have avoided war. But Ike prevailed, winning re-election, forcing the attackers to withdraw from the canal, and enunciating a strategy for U.S.-led security in the region that came to be known as the "Eisenhower Doctrine."

How does this story apply to modern-day Israel and America -- especially for an Obama administration that, while committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, devoutly hopes to avoid military action? The parallels are impossible to draw precisely, but it matters that the cautious and fiercely independent Eisenhower is a role model for the prospective future defense secretary.

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Reply Chuck Hagel and President Eisenhower... (Original post)
babylonsister Jan 2013 OP
Bluenorthwest Jan 2013 #1
whistler162 Jan 2013 #2

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:52 PM

1. Then there is the Iranian coup in '53 and the elevation of the Shah and all that....


how did that work out? Aren't we still having big issues with Iran that could be said to be the result of Eisenhower policy? Why yes, yes we are. Hope Chuck does not see those books as how to guides.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 27, 2013, 02:54 PM

2. and Vietnam and Cuba but who cares.

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