Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier, President, Statesman

By Joann P. Krieg | Go to book overview

beliefs in a moral world order which constituted the key to their successful relationship. Dulles was indeed a Cold Warrior but so was Eisenhower. If Eisenhower appeared to be more conciliatory, it was only because he hoped the Soviets would see the light, not because he had changed his mind about the basic Russian objectives.

Eisenhower was a man guided by a set of moral principles embedded in his Weltanschauung. The three examples provided here have shown the nature of the relationship between this set of moral principles and foreign policy decisions taken during his administration. Dienbienphu, Suez, and Lebanon presented Eisenhower with difficult foreign policy decisions. All were decided within a common framework built around the beliefs contained in Eisenhower Weltanschauung. All were guided by Eisenhower's perception of American long- term objectives which were, in turn, affected by Eisenhower's beliefs about the nature of the individual and the nature of the political process.

The French in Indochina and in Suez were motivated by what Eisenhower perceived to be selfish and therefore unacceptable motives. The French were merely interested in retaining the glory of their empire. The British chose an unacceptable method in solving their dispute with Nasser. Just as in domestic politics, selfish motives and immoral methods were unacceptable. On the other hand, Eisenhower perceived the Christians in Lebanon as being motivated by moral principles, not selfish interests. Therefore, they not only could be, but also deserved to be supported.

Eisenhower's belief system did not necessarily determine these actions. Rather, his belief system oriented him in a direction that made the selection of certain alternative courses of action more acceptable than other alternatives.


NOTES
1.
Fred I. Greenstein, The Hidden-Handed Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader ( New York: Basic Books, 1982).
2.
For an example of this reevaluation of the Eisenhower-Dulles relationship, see Richard Immerman, "Eisenhower and Dulles: Who Made the Decisions?," Political Psychology 1, no. 2 (Autumn 1979).
3.
For an excellent summary of the issue, see Ole Holsti, "Cognitive Process Approaches to Decision-making, " American Behavioral Scientist, 20, no. 1 ( October 1976).
4.
Milton Rokeach, Beliefs, Attitudes and Value ( San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1968), p. 3.
5.
For a similar discussion, see J. Philipp Rosenberg, "The Belief System of Harry S Truman and Its Effect on Foreign Policy Decision-Making During His Administration," Presidential Studies Quarterly 12, no. 2 (Spring 1982).
6.
Dwight David Eisenhower (hereafter DDE) to General G. Chynoweth, July 20, 1954, Ann C. Whitman (hereafter ACW Files, DDE Diary "January-November 1954," Dwight David Eisenhower Library (hereafter DDEL). Also quoted in DDE, The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953-1956 ( Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1963), p. 442.

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