US involvement in the Middle East began with Eisenhower

An article published in the latest issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly studies the Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957 to find that it first accepted the responsibilities in the Middle East that the U.S. would retain for decades. The doctrine also increased the likelihood that the United States would fight in the region. It declared that the U.S. would use economic and military aid and armed forces to stop the spread of communism in the region; Congress gave Eisenhower the authority to dispense 200 million dollars to any country seeking assistance against communism. Although never formally invoked during his presidency, the doctrine guided his policy in three controversies: preserving the reign of Jordan's King Hussein, organizing military maneuvers against Syria, and performing a military intervention in Lebanon.

The author finds that the Eisenhower Doctrine left a major legacy in U.S. diplomatic history, signaling a growing American willingness to accept some responsibility in the Middle East. The doctrine "…became an important milestone on the long road that began in 1945, when the United States identified virtually no vital interests in the region, and extended into the early twenty-first century, when the United States maintained a huge military and political presence across the region," author Peter Hahn states. Despite its brief duration, the doctrine provided a building block for an American presence in the region and accepted responsibilities in the Middle East the U.S. maintains today.


This article is published in the March issue of Presidential Studies Quarterly. Media wishing to receive a PDF, please contact [email protected].

Presidential Studies Quarterly is the only scholarly journal that focuses on the most powerful political figure in the world - the president of the United States. It is published by the Center for the Study of the Presidency.

Peter Hahn is a professor of history at Ohio State University and executive director of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. He is also the author of several books. Professor Hahn is available for media questions and interviews.

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published more than 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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