Eisenhower and the Cold War

Eisenhower and the Cold War

Eisenhower and the Cold War

Eisenhower and the Cold War

Excerpt

A curious pattern runs through the history of the twentieth-century American presidency. In a period when international affairs have loomed large in national life, we have tended to choose Presidents experienced and skilled only in domestic politics. Rarely do we consider ambassadors or secretaries of state as likely candidates for the White House; instead we turn to governors and senators, men whose credentials are frequently based solely on their handling of problems at home. Yet once in office, we expect these executives to deal with complex foreign situations and to exhibit great skill in diplomacy. Sometimes, as was the case with Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, we are fortunate, and the President proves to be a statesman of the first rank. But sometimes, as with Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, the demands of foreign policy outrun his ability, and the result is overreaction and tragedy for the nation and the world.

Dwight D. Eisenhower is the exception to this pattern. Unlike other twentieth-century Presidents, he had little . . .

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