Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Ike's Gamble: America's Rise to Dominance in the Middle East Hardcover – October 11, 2016
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2018 So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year so far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“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)
"[Doran] fits the Suez crisis into a broader argument about American policy in the Middle East during the Eisenhower administration. . . . Ike’s Gamble [is] a timely intervention into current debates. Obama won’t read it, but Hillary Clinton should." (Adam Kirsch Tablet)
“Ike's Gamble is a brilliant and fascinating story,compellingly told, of American politics, government, and foreign policy. Doran paints a fascinating portrait of how American foreign policy is designed, how mistakes are made, and how Eisenhower came to understand the errors that had strengthened America's enemies.” (Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations)
“Riveting, original, and deeply relevant. . . . This is a history of the formative Cold War years that continue to shape current conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and other parts of the region. Anyone interested in the contemporary Middle East and U.S. foreign policy should read this book.” (Jeremi Suri, Author of Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama)
“With this highly original and persuasive new book, Mike Doran offers a fresh interpretation of Eisenhower’s Middle East policy. Doran also sheds new light on the complexities of the Middle East and American policy challenges there today. This is a compelling history by an accomplished scholar.” (William Inboden, Executive Director and William Powers, Jr. Chair, theClements Center for National Security at UT-Austin)
“Doran is so good at bringing Eisenhower and his challenges to life that one can’t avoid making comparisons with the tough choices confronting the United States today. I can’t think of another book that so thoroughly challenged my assumptions about America’s role in the Middle East.”
(Will McCants, author of The Isis Apocalypse and Director, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at The Brookings Institution)
About the Author
Michael Doran has served as a Middle East advisor in the White House and as a deputy assistant secretary of defense. An alumnus of Stanford and Princeton Universities, he has held several academic positions and is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, where he specializes in Middle East security issues. He lives in Washington, DC.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Unfortunately Obama did not read history of the Near East, he would have learnt that it is counter productive to be an honest broker between Arabs or between them and Israel.
Either way the book paints a great scenario of the historical events with the perspective of time.
Finally it is clear that the US intervention of 1956 Suez Crisis planted the seeds of the Six Day War and the rest is history.
Loved the honest impartial narrative.
John Foster Dulles was Eisenhower’s Secretary of State. Dulles believed that there were three problems in the Middle East: Soviet communism, European imperialism, and Zionism. He wanted to move the Arabs into America’s orbit. Ike and Dulles concluded that the Arabs hated the imperialists (e.g., Britain and France) and the Jews. They concluded that the US had to side with Arab nationalists like Egypt’s dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser. Ike and Dulles decided that for the US to win friends in the Arab world they had to throw Britain, France, and Israel under the bus. Eisenhower assumed that the Arabs behaved as a unified bloc, especially with respect to Israel.
Ike and Dulles wanted Nasser to be their partner, like the Shah of Iran. Nasser came to power via a coup in 1952. Ike and Dulles gave Nasser everything he wanted. However, Nasser wanted to be more than an American puppet. He wanted to lead the Arab world and believed in pan-Arab nationalism. He also sought to eliminate other Arab rivals. Ike persuaded the British to leave Egypt. The British had a military base which guarded the Suez Canal. Doran does not stress the importance of the canal to the Europeans. The Suez Canal was built by the French in 1869 and was owned by French and British investors. The canal was 100 miles long and an important waterway between Asia and Europe. Two-thirds of Britain and France’s oil came through the canal.
The US built Nasser a powerful, state-of-the-art broadcasting system, expecting that Nasser would use this equipment to help unify the Arabs behind the US. Instead, Nasser used it broadcast his pan-Arab propaganda, which was anti-Western and anti-Israeli. Every Arab household in the region heard his message. Nasser was undermining the Western position in the Middle East and Ike was helping him.
Nasser wanted to destroy Israel and was the instigator of the Six Day War in 1967. In 1956 Israeli intelligence believed that Nasser planned to attack Israel. Egypt was acquiring military equipment and a new Air Force from the Soviets. The Israelis wanted to strike before the Egyptian military became too powerful. Two weeks after British troops had left Egypt, Nasser nationalized the canal. Britain and France decided to help Israel and also retake the canal. The three countries met in Paris to coordinate the use of military force against Egypt. Britain was worried that the pro-Soviet Nasser would interrupt Europe’s oil supplies. Nasser was also stirring up trouble in France's North African colonies. The three countries did not tell Eisenhower what they were doing although the CIA claimed that Ike knew what was going on. The Israelis launched a ground attack. Britain destroyed Egypt’s air force which had Russian fighter bombers. Britain and France followed up by landing troops in Egypt. Britain was a third of the way through capturing the canal when it pulled the plug on the operation because of American pressure.
Eisenhower went ballistic. He demanded that the attacking forces evacuate Egypt immediately and imposed crippling economic sanctions on France and Britain. Against Israel, Ike threatened sanctions. At the United Nations, he sided with the Soviet Union. Eisenhower pondered “How could we possibly support Britain and France if in doing so we lose the whole Arab world?” Eisenhower brought Britain’s economy to the verge of collapse and it cost British Prime Minister Anthony Eden his career.
Nasser emerged from the conflict much stronger and more hostile to American interests. The president expected gratitude from the Arabs, instead, Nasser got the credit and became a pan-Arab hero. The main problem was that Nasser had already decided to work with the Soviets. Empowered and emboldened by his “victory” over the imperialists, Nasser immediately began to undermine other pro-Western countries in the region, particularly Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. Eventually, the US woke up to Nasser’s duplicity. Dulles noted in 1958 following the fall of the Iraqi government that Nasser “enjoyed an unbroken series of success, due largely to our support…Our actions had enabled Nasser to emerge as a great hero, who seemingly took on the great powers and came out with a victory.” Ike came to regret his policies. “Years later,” Richard Nixon wrote in the 1980s, “I talked to Eisenhower about Suez; he told me it was his major foreign policy mistake.”
Anthony Eden was concerned about maintaining world order in a post-colonial world which contained nationalist third world dictators. Eden had been British foreign secretary 1935-1938 and resigned over Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement. Eden spoke German and had met Hitler in 1935. He and Hitler discovered at a dinner that they had served in trenches opposite one another in WW1. They happily sketched out their respective positions on the back of a dinner card. Eden was a captain and Hitler a corporal. However, Eden realized that Hitler was a threat. His French counterpart at the dinner suggested that had Eden shot Hitler at the time it would have saved everyone a lot of trouble. Eden also spoke Farsi and Arabic and understood the Middle East. He met Nasser in 1955 and compared to him to Mussolini. He believed that appeasing Nasser, just like Hitler, was a mistake.
According to Doran, the US would continue to pay for its mistake and not just in the Middle East. Doran notes that when the United States was stuck in Vietnam, Britain and France had refused to help. Doran does not discuss how Suez was viewed in Europe. The lesson that the French, Germans, and Israelis took away was that they could never fully trust the Americans.
German Chancellor Adenauer completely supported the attack and was appalled that the Americans had sided with Nasser and the Soviets. The Soviets threatened Britain and France with nuclear war and that seemed OK with Ike. The creation of the EU started out as a reaction to Suez. Germany and France concluded that the only way to have influence and avoid being bullied was to work together. France left NATO in 1966. Israel has kept its distance as well. In the words of Moshe Dayan, the Israeli general who delivered victory in the Six Day War: "Our American friends give us money, arms, and advice. We take the money, we take the arms but we decline the advice." Doran implies that many people in Washington still don't understand the Middle East. He mentions that Chuck Hagel, who was a US Senator and Obama’s Defense Secretary, believed that Ike handled Suez brilliantly.
As for the book itself, it flows smoothly and is an easy read. Doran puts you in the room for high powered meetings. You feel like you are back in the 1950's and are incredulous at the mistakes being made.
I was impressed by the author's highlighting of alternate theories and why he chose his approach. I highly recommend it!
Most recent customer reviews
is led into the dark world of neoconservative thought.Read more