Ike's Gamble: America's Rise to Dominance in the Middle East
Michael S. Doran, Ph.D. 1997.
In 1956 President Nasser of Egypt moved to take possession of the Suez Canal, thereby bringing the Middle East to the brink of war. The British and the French, who operated the canal, joined with Israel in a plan to retake it by force. Despite the special relationship between England and America, Dwight Eisenhower intervened to stop the invasion.
In Ike’s Gamble, “a disturbing history that clearly reveals the dangerous ‘collective American delusion’ about the Middle East” (Kirkus Reviews), Michael Doran shows how Nasser manipulated the US, invoking America’s opposition to European colonialism to drive a wedge between Eisenhower and two British Prime Ministers, Winston Churchill and Anthony Eden. Meanwhile, Nasser was making weapons deals with the USSR and destabilizing other Arab countries that the US had been courting. The Suez Crisis was his crowning triumph. In time, Eisenhower would conclude that Nasser had duped him, that the Arab countries were too fractious to anchor America’s interests in the Middle East, and that the US should turn instead to Israel.
“This is a story that has been told many times, but seldom with the depth and stylistic elegance of Ike’s Gamble. Michael Doran does not just challenge the prevailing historiography, he turns it on its head” (The Weekly Standard). Affording deep insight into Eisenhower and his foreign policy, this fascinating and provocative history provides a rich new understanding of how the US became the power broker in the Middle East.
A new president -- Collision -- A patient sulky pig -- Ike's first bet -- Anatomy of a miscalculation -- The alpha contradiction -- Deception -- K and big brother -- Blowback -- Three-dimensional chess -- The end of empire -- Ike's second bet -- Regret.
Reviews and Endorsements
“This book is subversively revisionist history with sharp relevance to the present. . . . [A] deeply researched, tightly argued and accessibly concise book. . . . [Doran ] writes with the authority of a scholar and the familiarity of a senior policy adviser.”— David Frum, The New York Times Book Review
“Mr. Doran illuminates a narrative with which very few non-specialists will be familiar. . . . A thoroughly researched, closely argued work of traditional diplomatic history.”— James Traub, Wall Street Journal
"This is a story that has been told many times, but seldom with the depth and stylistic elegance of Ike's Gamble. Michael Doran does not just challenge the prevailing historiography, he turns it on its head."— Ray Takeyh, The Weekly Standard
“The failure of the British-French invasion of Egypt in 1956 was one of the seminal events of the second half of the twentieth century: it marked the end of Britain’s and France’s aspirations to world leadership. America’s involvement is brilliantly described in Ike’s Gamble, a thoughtful and articulate account of the evolution of America’s role in that fateful period.” — Henry A. Kissinger
“Deeply researched, well-written and powerfully persuasive, this book revises everything we’ve come to accept about America’s role in the Middle East in the 1950s. This highly readable and remarkably forthright book explains how America changed from being a mere 'honest broker' in Middle Eastern affairs to being a committed player.”— Professor Andrew Roberts, Lehrman Institute Distinguished Fellow, New-York Historical Society