hower as essentially a caretaker, a man who preserved the main outlines of New Deal-Fair Deal domestic policy and of international containment, in a time when both were under attack from disgruntled citizens on the right. Under Eisenhower, it seems, not much changed; despite the campaign rhetoric of the conservative wing of the Republican party in 1952, and the howling of the isolationists and MacArthur sympathizers against the tedium and protracted strain of the containment policy, Eisenhower in office did not dismantle the Welfare State nor abandon the American commitment to a global defense of the "free world" against communism.
This view of the Eisenhower policies may understate the shifts in public policy that actually took place after 1952. There is evidence that domestic programs were significantly altered. Tax policy became more regressive; the regulatory agencies became even friendlier to the regulated industries; and, despite novelties such as federal aid to education and a huge new highway construction program, the proportion of the Gross National Product diverted to the public sector shrank steadily. Further, in foreign policy, there was a real difference between the Truman-Acheson application of the containment idea, and John Foster Dulles's "massive retaliation," "brinksmanship" conduct of foreign affairs. Still, Shannon's perspective seems basically valid. The continuity between the Truman and the Eisenhower years is striking. A political party came to power after twenty years of impotence, still angry over the New Deal and the costs of a quasi-war with communism. Eight years later, the broad outlines of Truman-era polity, foreign and domestic, were intact; and a young Democratic presidential candidate in 1960 actually found little of substance to attack in the Republican record.
For this record of Eisenhower moderation, or perhaps one should call it inaction, Shannon was in one sense grateful. He approved of the Republicans' decision to keep the Welfare State and to remain wedded to what he saw as a firm and responsible internationalism. But note that Shannon's essay was written in 1958. Today, many people think that the New Deal-Welfare State has not solved any of our problems and that liberal internationalism has created many new ones. Such people are not likely to join Shannon in congratulating the Eisenhower government for preserving these traditional policies. To this reaction, the only reply would be to point to the alternative policies which Eisenhower declined to adopt, and to observe that these possible policies -- a return to pre-1932 domestic policy and to a foreign policy combining isolation in Europe with nuclear adventurism in Asia -- were far more dangerous and objectionable than the liberal policies Eisenhower essentially continued.
But if Eisenhower was wise enough to shun the policies of the extreme right, was this enough? Were not new policies required, both for old problems and for those which emerged as the 1950s went on? Here Shannon is especially critical of the Eisenhower record. He scores the administration for a lack of imagination in devising new foreign policies for Asia and the Middle East, where the problems were so different from the European theatre for which the containment doctrine was originally designed. This part of Shannon's essay is perhaps the least convincing. While he is certain that America faced mounting problems in the 1950s and needed active, innovative federal policy, Shannon offers us little insight into the areas of special deterioration. In 1958, it was difficult to identify the maladjustments that would bring a national crisis in the 1960s. Today, we know many things that Eisen