Eisenhower Doctrine

Eisenhower Doctrine

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The term Eisenhower Doctrine refers to a speech by President Dwight David Eisenhower on 5 January 1957, within a "Special Message to the Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 on the Situation in the Middle East". Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a country could request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression from another state. Eisenhower singled out the Soviet threat in his doctrine by authorizing the commitment of U.S. forces "to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism."

In the global political context, the Doctrine was made in response to the possibility of a generalized war, threatened as a result of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

's attempt to use the Suez War as a pretext to enter Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. Coupled with the power vacuum
Power vacuum
A power vacuum is, in its broadest sense, an expression for a condition that exists when someone has lost control of something and no one has replaced them. It is usually used to refer to a political situation that can occur when a government has no identifiable central authority...

 left by the decline of British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 power in the region after the US protested against the conduct of their allies during in that same war, Eisenhower felt that a strong position needed to better the situation was further complicated by the positions taken by Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

, who was rapidly building a power base and using it to play the Soviets and Americans against each other, taking a position of "positive neutrality" and accepting aid from the Soviets.

On the regional level, the intent was that the Doctrine would help to provide the independent Arab regimes with an alternative to Nasser's political control, strengthening them while isolating Communist influence through isolation of Nasser. The doctrine largely failed on that front, with Nasser's power quickly rising by 1959 to the point where he could shape the leadership outcomes in neighboring Arab countries including Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, but in the meantime Nasser's relationship with the Soviet leaders deteriorated, allowing the US to switch to a policy of accommodation.

The Eisenhower Administration also saw the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 as being influential for future foreign policy for not only the United States but also its allies
Allies
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

. The region contains a large percentage of the world's oil supply, and it was perceived that if it were to fall to communism, the United States and its allies would suffer immense economic consequences. Eisenhower's protests against long time allies the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 during the Suez Canal Crisis meant that the US was the lone Western power in the Middle East and placed US oil security in jeopardy as the USSR filled the power vacuum. The Eisenhower Doctrine was a backflip against the previous policy, however, the US now had the burden of military action in the Middle East to itself.

The military action provisions of the Doctrine were applied in the Lebanon Crisis
Lebanon crisis of 1958
The 1958 Lebanon crisis was a Lebanese political crisis caused by political and religious tensions in the country. It included a U.S. military intervention.-Background:...

 the following year, when America intervened in response to a request by that country's president
Camille Chamoun
Camille Nimr Chamoun was President of Lebanon from 1952 to 1958, and one of the country's main Christian leaders during most of the Lebanese Civil War ....

.

External links


Further reading

  • Meiertöns, Heiko (2010): The Doctrines of US Security Policy - An Evaluation under International Law, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521766487.