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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chuck and Upchuck got Eisenhower very, very wrong

In an earlier post, I noted Chuck Hagel's admiration for the 34th President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower, specifically for Eisenhower's handling of what's known in Israel as the Sinai campaign (the 1956 war between Israel, Britain and France on one side and Egypt on the other). I also reported that Hagel had it all wrong, because Eisenhower later believed that making Israel withdraw from Sinai was the biggest mistake of his Presidency.

Lee Smith has a lot more details about Eisenhower's regrets over the Sinai campaign.

In fact, Eisenhower came to believe that Suez had been the “biggest foreign-policy blunder of his administration.” In hindsight, it’s not hard to see why. He ruined the position of two longtime allies, effectively driving Britain out of the Middle East once and for all, and without any benefit to American interests. If Eisenhower expected Nasser to be grateful, he was sorely mistaken.
“From Nasser’s perspective, he played the superpowers against each other and came out the winner,” says Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy. “What Ike thought he was doing was laying the groundwork for a new order in the Middle East, a third course between the re-imposition of European colonialism and the Soviet Union. But all Eisenhower did was strengthen Nasser and destabilize the region.”
Doran, a former George W. Bush Administration National Security Council staffer in charge of the Middle East, is finishing a book about Eisenhower and the Middle East that looks at how Eisenhower’s understanding of the region changed over time. “Eisenhower slammed his allies and aided his enemies at Suez,” Doran explains, “because his policy was based on certain key assumptions of how the Arab world worked. The most important of these was the notion of Arab unity. He believed they would respond as a bloc to certain stimuli.”

Chief among them, Eisenhower and his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles believed, was the Arab-Israeli conflict. They saw the role of the United States then as playing the honest broker, mediating between Israel on one side and the Arab world on the other. If this conceit is still popular today with American policymakers, says Doran, “it’s partly because some Arab officials continue to talk this way. The idea is, to win over the Arabs we have to stop being so sympathetic to Israel.”
But in the wake of Suez, Eisenhower came to see the region through a different lens. He paid more attention to what Arab leaders actually did, rather than what they said. “Between March 1957 and July 1958, Eisenhower got the equivalent of the Arab spring,” says Doran. “It was a revolutionary wave around the region and for Ike a tutorial on Arab politics. There was upheaval after upheaval, in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and then the Iraqi revolution of 1958 that toppled an American ally. All of them were internal conflicts, tantamount to Arab civil wars, and had nothing to do with Israel. With this, Eisenhower recognized that the image he had of the Arab world had nothing to do with the political realities of the Middle East.”
Read the whole thing.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Obama has the same mistaken conception of the Middle East that Eisenhower had in 1956. Today's it's known as linkage. By 1958, Eisenhower had dismissed it as a policy strategy. Don't bet on Obama doing the same.

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At 12:46 AM, Blogger Sunlight said...

I think Chuck Hagel is a Walt Mearsheimer kind of guy. *Not* good as US Defense Secy because Obama's obsessive marcuse marxist caliphate striving is setting up a new round of deleting Jews. And the US Defense Secy's job needs to be to stop him (Obama) and Kerry. Kerry has already shown himself capable of using the force of his beliefs to pull a genocide over the finish line. (Khmer Rouge killing fields in Cambodia - 2.5 million)

Professor Hagel
Hagel’s Georgetown syllabus littered with anti-Israel authors

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Captain.H said...

Eisenhower had a mature, developed intellect, a resume of truly challenging leadership positions done very well and reasoning skills that allowed for intellectual flexibility. Ike could and mostly did learn from his mistakes.

Not perfect but, unlike Obama, Ike didn't surround himself with yes-men and women. There were many talented people in Ike's Administration and, from what I've read, people felt comfortable advocating and arguing different viewpoints.

By contrast, Obama's yes-men and women give him only an echo chamber of his own ignorance and prejudices.

Also by contrast, the Empty Suit has only his boyhood Communist and Islamist programming through which he sees the world. Obama's narcissistic self-image notwithstanding, he's not all that smart, lacking real intellect and mental flexibility, only possessing a sort of street smarts and pseudo-intellectual glibness. (Which among other things partly explains why his college and law school records are so carefully hidden.)

Without TOTUS, Obama's banality and bs artistry are apparent to any open-minded thinking person who hasn't drunken the liberalism and Obama-worship Kool-Aid. Of course, that excludes the Democrats' brainwashed voters and the MSM Presstitutes.

(Is my bitterness showing? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" The plurality of American voters just proved themselves unworthy of citizenship in a democracy. Elections have consequences. We're still paying for the consequences of fools electing Jimmy Carter, America's second worst President. We'll be paying for the consequences of Obama, America's worst President, for an undetermined but at least huge chunk of the rest of this century.)


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