Obama: Ike Redivivus?Roundup: Historians' Take
tags: Barack Obama, Dwight Eisenhower
In critique of the George W. Bush administration, and in praise of the perceived foreign-policy restraint of Obama’s first five years in the White House, a persistent myth has arisen that Obama is reminiscent of Eisenhower — in the sense of being a president who kept America out of other nations’ affairs and did not waste blood and treasure chasing imaginary enemies.
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Andrew Bacevich, Fareed Zakaria (“Why Barack Is like Ike”), and a host of others have made such romantic, but quite misleading, arguments about the good old days under the man they consider the last good Republican president.
Ike was no doubt a superb president. Yet while he could be sober and judicious in deploying American forces abroad, he was hardly the non-interventionist of our present fantasies, who is so frequently used and abused to score partisan political points.
There is a strange disconnect about Eisenhower’s supposed policy of restraint, especially in reference to the Middle East, and his liberal use of the CIA in covert operations. While romanticizing Ike, we often deplore the 1953 coup in Iran and the role of the CIA, but seem to forget that it was Ike who ordered the CIA intervention that helped to lead to the ouster of Mossadegh and to bring the Shah to absolute power. Ike thought that he saw threats to Western oil supplies, believed that Mossadegh was both unstable and a closet Communist, sensed the covert hand of the Soviet Union at work, was won over by the arguments of British oil politics, and therefore simply decided Mossadegh should go — and he did....
comments powered by Disqus
- German Vice Chancellor Condemns Populist's Holocaust Remarks
- Arizona scuttles bill that took aim at whiteness studies
- Maine governor offers John Lewis an erroneous history lesson
- How Trump's Inauguration Compares to Inaugurations Past
- The Fake News Pioneer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
- Jack Rakove tells League of Women Voters Electoral College needs to be abolished
- Juan Cole says Chelsea Manning’s leaks contributed to the revolution in Tunisia
- Bacevich and Mearsheimer on Obama’s Legacy
- Where Historians Work: An Interactive Database of History PhD Career Outcomes
- GW history department targeted by conservative media after curriculum change was announced