Lost in the 50s, or Something

Seems like the 1950s are hip and with it again. Are the parallels valid?

Michael Totten reviews Ike’s PhD seminar in foreign affairs. And he thought Montgomery was bad!

Thank goodness, then, for Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Doran’s valiant attempt to save us from ignorance and bad history in his bracing new book, Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East. He expertly walks us through the Suez Crisis of 1956 and its ghastly aftermath when Republican President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower learned the hard way that Israel, not Egypt or any other Arab state, should be the foundation of America’s security architecture in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, at Foreignpolicy.com:

Writing in the lead-up to the 1952 presidential election, the British historian D.W. Brogan summed up the prevailing American attitude. Across the United States, Brogan observed widespread disbelief that there were areas of the world where America’s power did not extend. For Brogan, this “illusion of omnipotence” was encapsulated by a common American attitude to the Chinese Revolution. Rather than recognizing this as an event of immense historical importance that the United States could not control — occurring as it did 6,000 miles away in a country containing a fifth of the global population — American setbacks in Asia were simply blamed on the incompetence of its elected and non-elected officials.

As you ponder, a little be-bop to keep you rock steady.

About DaveO

Retired soldier, micro-farmer, raconteur and pet owner from the great state of Oklahoma. Wandered in as a frequent commenter and have been enjoying blogging ever since.
This entry was posted in Constitution, Diplomacy, History. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lost in the 50s, or Something

  1. burkemblog says:

    Not everyone agrees with Totten’s analysis: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/eisenhower-and-suez-2/. Here is the Pillar piece referred to in the link: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/suez-the-lessons-history-8056

    The Economist’s view from 2006 is also interesting: http://www.economist.com/node/7218678

    Finally, here’s a view more in accord with the opinion piece you posted: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/chuck-hagels-misreading-of-suez-crisis/2013/01/31/35e7ddee-6b21-11e2-af53-7b2b2a7510a8_story.html?utm_term=.ef33f33d3462

    As usual, the 1950s are far more complex than we like to think–frequently, my students will wish for that ‘simpler” time. None of them lived through it, of course, so their recollections are based on the kind of false nostalgia that comes from too many Nick at Nite reruns of 1950s TV shows.


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