New Middle East Policy Is Proposed By Eisenhower – 1/5/1957

US History |


Desperate times call for desperate measures is a saying that has been around for centuries since the time of the ancient Greeks. Although it was originally applied towards using harsh treatments to cure harsh illnesses, this has been modified to apply to a variety of situations including politics and the military. Some may say that might have been what President Dwight D. Eisenhower was thinking during the time of the Cold War. Since tensions were increasing in the Middle East, Eisenhower felt the situation called for a response to try and stop it from getting worse. Therefore, he approaches Congress with a proposal that demands for a more proactive and new policy from the U.S. into the region. The proposal would eventually become known as the “Eisenhower Doctrine” and it created the Middle East to become a Cold War battlefield.

The United States concluded that the problem regarding the Middle East in 1956 had badly degenerated and who was considered as being the most responsible was Egypt’s leader Gamal Nasser. The U.S. removed support for the building of the Aswan Dam in July of 1956 on the Nile River and used Nasser’s increasingly close relations with the Soviet Union as well as his anti-western nationalism as justification; Nasser’s response came less than a month afterwards by grabbing control of the Suez Canal. The action taken by Nasser caused the Israeli military, the British and the French to coordinate an attack on Egypt late that October. The Middle East, alarmingly and suddenly, appeared to now possibly become the location for World War III.

These scary developments prompted a response by President Eisenhower to call for “joint action by the Congress and the Executive” in addressing the “increased danger from International Communism” in the Middle East. Exactly, he requested for approval to start new programs of military and economic cooperation with nations in the region that are friendly. Also, he requested the authority to use U.S. soldiers “to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations.”

During that time, Eisenhower had not requested for exact appropriation of funds; regardless, he gave the appearance that he would ask for $200 million for military and economic aid during each of the years 1958 and 1959. He warned that only by doing this would dissuade “power-hungry Communists” from meddling in the Middle East.

There was a division over this open-ended policy with regards toward the Middle East. U.S. talk of taking action there saw critics and newspapers express their uneasiness such as it was called “goofy” by the Chicago Tribune; however, the United States Senate and House of Representatives answered by providing overwhelming votes in supporting the president’s proposal.

The original call to action regarding use of the “Eisenhower Doctrine” happened in 1958 during the summer as Lebanon started to experience civil strife which led the president of the nation to request assistance from the U.S.; they responded by sending almost 15,000 soldiers to assist in trying to calm down the disruptions. The United States had officially declared their interests in the developments going on in the Middle East by invoking the “Eisenhower Doctrine” and going into action in its name.

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