Friday, January 25, 2013

Ike's Bluff

Oliver Stone devoted a whole episode to Eisenhower, and it wasn't very complimentary.  He wanted to counter the recent spate of "I like Ike" books that have come out like this one.  Ike's "Hidden Hand' leadership has been both praised and derided by historians over the years.  Among many of Stone's and Kuznick's allegations is that the US essentially fought a proxy war in Vietnam under his watch, covering 80% of France's military expenses, and providing additional logistical support.  This was one of many proxy wars and other covert activities carried out during Eisenhower's administration.

Evan Thomas counters with the view that Eisenhower, being an excellent Bridge player, knew how to bluff at propitious moments in the Cold War, to avoid direct confrontation with the USSR, or full scale involvement in Vietnam, not wanting to repeat Korea.  His mission was to "avoid any war," says Thomas, at least directly.  This doesn't excuse him from the numerous covert activities that led to the deposing of leaders like Mossadeq in Iran, but it does put these events in the larger context of Ike's administration.  It reminds me of the foreign policy Obama has set in his administration.


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