01/15/2015 04:08 PM
BATON ROUGE – A groundbreaking new study of Anglo-American relations during the Cold
War, “Diplomacy at the Brink,” argues for a reevaluation of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s foreign policy toward allies
and enemies alike. Contrary to his reputation as a level-headed moderate, the Eisenhower
who emerges in David M. Watry’s exhaustively researched book is a conservative ideologue,
a leader whose aggressively anti-Communist and anticolonialist foreign policies represented
a major shift away from the containment policy of the Truman presidency.
Watry contends that Eisenhower worked closely with John Foster Dulles to engage in
aggressive brinksmanship that diametrically opposed Winston Churchill’s diplomacy
of “peaceful coexistence.” At a time when British economic interests favored cooperation
with China, Eisenhower planned nuclear war against it; when Anthony Eden considered
Gamal Abdel Nasser a Soviet agent and invaded Egypt, Eisenhower supported Arab nationalism
and used economic and political blackmail to force Britain to withdraw. Such stances
fractured the “special relationship” between America and Great Britain and played
a vital role in the dissolution of the British Empire.
Watry’s thorough examination of the important clash of U.S.-U.K. foreign policy demonstrates
that America’s new anti-colonial policies and the unilateral use of American power
against perceived Communist threats put Eisenhower and Dulles on a collision course
with Churchill and Eden that rocked the world.
Watry is a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2015