The Eisenhower Doctrine

Eisenhower and his Doctrine sought to provide economic aid, military aid and overall American protection of the Middle Eastern world from the vicious Soviet propaganda

Dwight D. Eisenhower, official photo portrait, May 29, 1959.

In the history of international diplomacy, the appearance of the Eisenhower Doctrine was an important and life changing document. Before January of 1957, there was no such notion in the entire world; it was introduced by President Eisenhower. Before that date, all countries decided for themselves what political direction they were taking and were on their own in the political world arena. By that time the Soviet Union, however, was a powerful and ever growing country with desires to occupy more and more territories and to control as many countries as it could. The situation in the Middle East was a very favorable one for such actions of the Soviets that only waited for a suitable moment to contribute their political domination to those territories. Most of the Middle East countries were struggling for the independence and were trying to establish self-governing systems as in developed parts of the world. In the course of the history they frequently found themselves in the middle of fighting and misunderstanding between the nations, thus it was a rough process which was still continuing. In the midst of such conditions, it was understandable that those countries were a piece of cake for the Soviet Union to make them communist “believers”.

The problem was not only based on the Soviet’s desire but mainly on the opponent‘s inability to resist the pressure of being involved in a new political system. The immediate reason and pushing the power of the famous doctrine was Suez war. This war was aimed at the reservation of the Egypt’s nationalization in the Suez Canal Company. Three participants: France, Britain and Israel failed greatly in helping Egypt and this fact caused the creation of a whole new page in the diplomatic world history. Britain at that time was considered the most powerful country in the Western World and also in the Middle East as well. After an Egyptian failure nations were not likely to view the UK as a leader and helper anymore. The United States was one of the first countries which doubted Britain’s ability to play a role in the big political world as it did before. The States feared that now as the place is not occupied by Britain anymore, it would be taken by the Soviets. It was highly unlikely though, as for such a purpose they would have to take military actions and to intrude into the neighbouring Egypt countries. Another scenario considered economic dependency and military aid to the Arab countries from the Soviet Union. A few countries were already under such a condition which meant that soon majority of them would follow the example.

Eisenhower and his Doctrine sought to provide economic aid, military aid and overall American protection of the Middle Eastern world from the vicious Soviet propaganda. Needless to say that, the United States was looking for their certain benefit in this political game. Clearly, the States was primarily pursuing the idea of freedom, independence and democracy while giving a helping hand to the Middle East region. However politicians wanted to fill out the gap that was created during the Suez War, the power to be a “power” in the Middle East and lobby their own political interests was a very appealing possibility. Thus the United States started to actively participate in the international politics, mainly by issuing the Doctrine.

Looking at the world history it becomes clear that this was one of the few chances for America to seize a moment and become the second greatest power in the world together with the Soviet Union, at that time period. After World War II, America was a rich country as it suffered the least from the destruction, human losses and material losses. It was economically better off than many European countries that were still recovering after horrible devastations of the war. It had better-organized military, more funds to sponsor the needy and what’s more important-it had a stable government that at least visually from the distant Middle East looked comforting. Thus the United States was in a perfect position to lead a dominant role in the game of a long Cold War.

Gamal Abdel Nasser
Wikimedia Commons

It not only was seeking to protect the nations from the Communist invasion, Eisenhower Doctrine also was aimed at containing the radical Arab nationalism of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and moreover discrediting his policy of “positive neutrality” in the Cold War. Officially it meant that Arab nations were allowed to enjoy profitable relations with both Cold War blocs. In reality, however, it turned out to be a hostile treatment of the American interference into their business and Nasser grew to hate the West and become more close to the Communist world.

America as a response to such behavior was aiming its politics on the strengthening its power in the traditional and conservative Arab regimes in countries such as Libya, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. By making such diplomatic move, the States sought to insure their presence in the Eastern world after all. It was a very smart decision as those countries with the financial and military aid from America were more willing to look at the West and follow their political directions, rather than join in with the Nasser’s regime and look up to the Communists. These actions were not completely successful in the end and American government had to discontinue fighting with the regime as their strategy for its elimination was wrong chosen in the first place.

Looking back at the time when Eisenhower Doctrine was written and pronounced, one can note that it was a success and a failure at the same time. The primary reason of preventing Soviet Union’s expansion and intrusion into the Middle East territories was successfully fulfilled as the intrusion never happened. On the other hand, America was seeking to dominate in that area, taking Britain’s place in the game but was far from being effective in the implementation of the strategic plans. From the very beginning, it looked like States have overestimated their power and political advantage in the East. Cultural differences, traditions and a long history of British domination were in the way of productive cooperation with all parties in the Middle East. All those factors put together resulted in the completion of the Doctrine’s existence and realization of it on the Eastern lands. It did, however, make an impact on the course of the history of the US-Middle East relations; it prevented them from communism and strengthened their national unique spirit.

Source by Jeff Stats