This major retelling of the Suez Crisis of 1956—one of the most important events in the history of US policy in the Middle East—shows how President Eisenhower came to realize that Israel, not Egypt, is America’s strongest regional ally.
In 1956 President Nasser of Egypt moved to take possession of the Suez Canal, thereby bringing the Middle East to the brink of war. The British and the French, who operated the canal, joined with Israel in a plan to retake it by force. Despite the special relationship between England and America, Dwight Eisenhower intervened to stop the invasion.
In Ike’s Gamble, Michael Doran shows how Nasser played the US, invoking America’s opposition to European colonialism to drive a wedge between Eisenhower and two British Prime Ministers, Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. Meanwhile, in his quest to make himself the strongman of the Arab world, Nasser was making weapons deals with the USSR and destabilizing other Arab countries that the US had been courting. The Suez Crisis was his crowning triumph. In time, Eisenhower would conclude that Nasser had duped him, that the Arab countries were too fractious to anchor America’s interests in the Middle East, and that the US should turn instead to Israel.
Affording deep insight into Eisenhower and his foreign policy, this fascinating and provocative history provides a rich new understanding of how the US became the power broker in the Middle East.
Michael Doran has served as a Middle East advisor in the White House and as a deputy assistant secretary of defense. An alumnus of Stanford and Princeton Universities, he has held several academic positions and is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he specializes in Middle East security issues. He lives in Washington, DC.
"Deeply researched, well-written and powerfully persuasive, this book revises everything weve come to accept about Americas role in the Middle East in the 1950s. This highly readable and remarkably forthright book explains how America changed from being a mere 'honest broker' in Middle Eastern affairs to being a committed player."
"Ike's Gamble is a brilliant and fascinating story,compellingly told, of American politics, government, and foreign policy. Doran paints a fascinating portrait of how American foreign policy is designed, how mistakes are made, and how Eisenhower came to understand the errors that had strengthened America's enemies."
"Riveting, original, and deeply relevant. . . . This is a history of the formative Cold War years that continue to shape current conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and other parts of the region. Anyone interested in the contemporary Middle East and U.S. foreign policy should read this book."
"With this highly original and persuasive new book, Mike Doran offers a fresh interpretation of Eisenhowers Middle East policy. Doran also sheds new light on the complexities of the Middle East and American policy challenges there today. This is a compelling history by an accomplished scholar."
"Doran is so good at bringing Eisenhower and his challenges to life that one cant avoid making comparisons with the tough choices confronting the United States today. I cant think of another book that so thoroughly challenged my assumptions about Americas role in the Middle East."
"A detailed analysis of the context for the Suez Crisis of 1956. . . . A disturbing history that clearly reveals the dangerous collective American delusion about the Middle East, which the author believes still persists today."