Eisenhower Doctrine

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The Eisenhower Doctrine, given in a message to Congress on January 5, 1957, was the foreign policy of US President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The doctrine stated that the United States would use armed forces upon request in response to imminent or actual aggression to the United States. Furthermore, countries that took stances opposed to Communism would be given aid in various forms.

The military action provisions of the Doctrine were applied in the Lebanon Crisis the following year, when America intervened in response to a request by that country's president.

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's attempt to use the Suez War as a pretext to enter Egypt. Coupled with the power vacuum left by the decline of Great British and French power in the region after their failure 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 Nasser, 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, then, the intent was that the Doctrine would work 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 and Saudi Arabia, 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 area as being influential for future foreign policy for not only the United States but also its allies. The Middle Eastern region contains a large percentage of the world's oil supply. If the area was to fall to communism, the United States and its allies would suffer large economic consequences.

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Eisenhower Doctrine

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