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Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Foreign Policy Essay


After gaining the U.S. presidency, Eisenhower introduced changes to the existing policies regarding national security. This was referred to as the “New Look” policy. The primary components of this policy included nuclear technology, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S. economy, and its allies.

On nuclear technology, the policy targeted to enhance nuclear technology in an effort to counteract communist aggression. In regards to the CIA, the policy empowered the CIA in doing the spying mission of nations or leaders allied to communism (Paterson, 277). On the U.S. economy, the policy aimed to protect the economy from the adverse effect of the Cold War. The policy targeted strengthening the US relationship with its allies, as well as winning the nonaligned governments to their side.

Eisenhower’s “New Look” strategy surpassed Kennan’s and NSC 68 strategies. Kennan’s containment policy purposed to disintegrate the communist bloc and reform the Soviet nature towards international relations. On the other hand, the NSC 68 strategies emphasized on strengthening the defense perimeter around countries under threat of Soviet aggression.

These strategies incorporated a feature of flexibility in response. To Kennan, action was to be initiated if the state’s interest were at stake. This was also if the conditions and means were favorable and accessible respectively. For NSC 68, action was to be taken whenever there was communist aggression. With respect to Eisenhower’s strategy, the US would act at any time and place based on its choice (massive retaliation).

The stronghold of this policy over others was long term preparedness in terms of response. In addition, this policy ensured that there was budget balance. This is an aspect that was not present in the others policies. The Eisenhower’s New Look policy had numerous accomplishments. Eisenhower influenced and contributed to ending of the Korean War. He also stabilized the rivalry between America and the Soviet Union. Furthermore, he strengthened the international relation with European allies.

However, Eisenhower’s New Look strategy was faced with much criticism. The majority of the critics were against the involvement of nuclear technology and CIA surveillance. Some scholars argued that Eisenhower’s policy had more harm than benefits. First of all, the excessive reliance on nuclear technology as the main element of deterrence was futile (Tannenwald, 142).

This was attributed to the fact that significant considerations were ignored. Its impact on manipulating the communist rifts was not considered. The Soviet Union balance in allowing development of missiles was undermined. On the contrary, this triggered the Soviets to intensify their nuclear building programs.

Secondly, the policy failed to stop revolutions amongst the third world nations. Some scholars agree that the policy mainly concentrated on opposing communism in the developing third world. In its attempts, it failed to consider the third world nationalism leading to the rise of nationalist movements allied to communism like in Vietnam.

Eisenhower’s tenure in office provoked many reactions. He was broadly categorized as being inactive and uninspiring. In this regard, his reputation had immensely declined. During his farewell address, he issued a warning relating to military and industrial complex. Eisenhower called on the Americans to rise against the influence on its democracy, thinking, and internal interests related to military power and expenditure (militarization).

In this respect, national liberty and economy would be at risk if these issues were ignored. According to Michael Sherry, Eisenhower efforts towards militarization were a total failure. This was attributed to his strategy of expanding nuclear technology to deter communist influence. At this time, the Soviet Union was also seeking world dominion in the Cold War era. Therefore, it reacted to the threats posed by the introduction of nuclear weapons.

Works Cited

Paterson, Thomas G. American Foreign Relations: A History. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.

Tannenwald, Nina. The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Non-Use of Nuclear Weapons Since 1945. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018, November 24). Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Foreign Policy. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/dwight-d-eisenhowers-foreign-policy/

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IvyPanda. "Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Foreign Policy." November 24, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dwight-d-eisenhowers-foreign-policy/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Foreign Policy." November 24, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/dwight-d-eisenhowers-foreign-policy/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Foreign Policy'. 24 November.

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