Evan Thomas is a former Newsweek editor who now teaches at
and writes history. He has just
published another book on Dwight Eisenhower, (not yet read by this author) and President
Eisenhower gets a
generally favorable review in the New York Times.
|Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles|
Why Couldn't They Have Left Iran Alone?
The big accomplishment of Mr. Eisenhower, he kept the
United States out
of a major war, despite a number of opportunities for the U. S. to enter
a major war.
Evan Thomas’s “Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World” is an examination of Dwight Eisenhower’s record that seeks to understand how he successfully kept the United States out of a major war during the eight years of his presidency.
President Eisenhower could have involved the
in the Suez
crisis in 1956,
Eisenhower’s handling of the
crisis in the same year as the Hungarian uprising was an impressive example of
this quality. Britain, France and Israel had invaded Egypt with the intention
of toppling the dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser after he had seized the Suez Canal,
but Eisenhower did not confuse backing allies with reflexive support for their
mistakes, especially when thoughtless solidarity could draw the United States
and the Soviet Union into open conflict. The crisis over the Suez Suez
was successfully resolved in part by Eisenhower’s refusal to provide assistance
to America’s friends, which
forced them to bear the costs and consequences of their blunder without any
hope of being bailed out by .
Meanwhile, Eisenhower made sure that the Kremlin knew he strongly opposed any
Soviet attempt to exploit the crisis. Washington
And his refusal to help the French in
Vietnam is a well documented policy that,
temporarily, kept the U. S.
from being bogged down in a useless, unwinnable war in Southeast
But from the review the book apparently spends little time on the colossal error of the Eisenhower administration. That error was to precipitate the overthrow of the elected government of
install the Shah as a supreme dictator.
History will show that policy was an unmitigated disaster, and even
worse, the shelf life of that error is many decades, and maybe even a century
or two. It is because of that policy
error that the strident Islamic fundamentalists now control Iran, and it is because of that policy error
that the U. S. faces the
possibility of a nuclear Iran
and the possibility of being involved in another war in the Mideast.
Eisenhower was very successful in keeping America out of war during his Presidency. But after his Presidency the
U. S. did engage in the useless war in Southeast
Asia, and the legacy of his policy may yet doom America
to a war in the Mideast with Iran. If so, then the Eisenhower legacy will yet be
re-written again, and not in a favorable way to DDE.