OTD in History… June 10, 1953, President Eisenhower rejects isolationism in the Cold War

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OTD in History… June 10, 1953, President Eisenhower rejects isolationism in the Cold War

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Getty Images

On this day in history June 10, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower delivered a speech National Junior Chamber of Commerce meeting in Minneapolis where he laid out his “New Look” foreign policy, which rejected isolationism in the Cold War and emphasized nuclear weapons for defense. Eisenhower used his speech to respond to two of his foreign policy critics; Senate Majority Leader Robert Taft (R-Ohio) and Air Force chief of staff Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg. Sixty-five years later, the nation is yet again faced growing isolationism within the Republican Party. President Donald Trump’s presidency is based on an “American First” policy that isolates the country on the world stage and practices protectionism, while he is presently engaged in a trade war with allied nations.

Six months into Eisenhower’s presidency, the United States was still fighting the Korean War, which formed the basis of Taft and Vandenberg’s complaintsto the president. Taft had long been a bone in Eisenhower’s side; Taft was a candidate for the Republican nomination in 1952 and his isolationist views and actions were the reasons Eisenhower decided to run for president. The two were rivals for the nomination, with Taft suspected of trying to block Eisenhower’s nomination at the convention. The two agreed to uneasy peace during the campaign, which did not last once Eisenhower was president. Taft wanted Eisenhower to withdraw from the United Nations, should they fail to make a peace deal with Korea, so that the US can devise their policy to deal with the warring nations which he called “the ‘fortress’ theory of defense.” Meanwhile, Vandenberg objected to Eisenhower’s Defense Secretary Charles Wilson cutting the Air Force’s budget by $5 billion.

Eisenhower “feared,” according to Thomas Zoumaras, in the book, “Reevaluating Eisenhower: American Foreign Policy in the 1950s,” “that an isolationist president would succumb to protectionism.” (p. 156) The President also believed “that world trade and foreign aid, during periods of economic and military crisis would strengthen the anti-Communist alliance system enough to guarantee peace of the U.S. defense budget.” (p. 156) Eisenhower’s “New Look” foreign policy looked to keep the American economy “vital” but “build” defenses to fight the Cold War, maintain nuclear weapons as a “deterrent,” use the CIA for covert actions and maintain and build alliances in the world. Part of the “New Look” policy was the philosophy of “more bang for the buck” when it came to defense spending.

Instead of arguing with Taft and Vandenberg, the President chose to respond to them in his speech National Junior Chamber of Commerce meeting. The speech emphasized national security and did not mention either one by name. Eisenhower declared, “It is no wonder that our national security is so vast a matter-for the struggle in which freedom today is engaged is quite literally a total and universal struggle. It engages every aspect of our lives. It is waged in every arena in which a challenged civilization must fight to live.”

In response to Taft, Eisenhower focused on the Cold War as an international “total struggle,” which “calls for total defense.” The President called the Cold War, “This whole struggle, in the deepest sense, is waged neither for land nor for food nor for power — but for the soul of man himself.” Eisenhower rebuked Taft’s isolationism’s, saying, “There is another theory of defense, another oversimplified concept, which I believe equally misleading and dangerous. It is what we might call the “fortress” theory of defense.” The President emphasized his international approach focusing on “unity,” stating, “We know that only with strength and with unity — is the future of freedom assured. And freedom, now and for the future, is our goal!”

To Vandenburg, he argued that nuclear weapons make the vast arsenals used in World War II useless, and instead, the defense can be more efficient, with the strategy, “fewer planes ‘on order,’ more in the air.” Eisenhower pointed out, “There is no wonderfully sure number of planes or ships or divisions, or billions of dollars, that can automatically guarantee security.” Both Taft and Vandenberg would be out of Eisenhower’s way soon enough; Vandenberg would retire at the end of June, while Taft died of cancer on July 31.

Throughout the Cold War, the US remained internationalists, sometimes too much so. As the country became involved over public objections in conflicts, in Vietnam and more recently Afghanistan and Iraq, Republicans have again developed a more isolationist approach. All of which culminated in Trump’s presidency, which resorts to a large extent to Taft’s views, while ignoring Eisenhower’s successful strategy.

SOURCES

Melanson, Richard A, and David A. Mayers. Reevaluating Eisenhower: American Foreign Policy in the 1950s. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987.

McClenahan, William M, and William H. Becker. Eisenhower and the Cold War Economy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a over dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

 

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Politics August 31, 2016: Report Clinton emailed classified info after leaving State Dept

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Report Clinton emailed classified info after leaving State Dept

 
By Bonnie K. Goodman

Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, speaks at a campaign event during The American Legion National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Clinton told a veterans group that U.S. leadership is vital to the world and, drawing a contrast with Republican Donald Trump, said that means the White House is no place for a leader who insults allies or threatens to shrink from that role. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, speaks at a campaign event during The American Legion National Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. Clinton told a veterans group that U.S. leadership is vital to the world and, drawing a contrast with Republican Donald Trump, said that means the White House is no place for a leader who insults allies or threatens to shrink from that role. Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not only sent classified information on her private email server during her tenure but also after she left the State Department. The New York Post reported on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016, that Clinton sent a classified email over four months after leaving her post. The Republican National Committee acquired the email through a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to the Post, the Democratic nominee sent the email on May 28, 2013, and it was about the “123 Deal.” The deal signed in 2009 was between the United Arab Emirates and the U.S. and dealt with nuclear energy production.

Clinton sent the email from the same email account and private server she used while Secretary of State. Clinton sent the email to “Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, diplomat Jeffrey Feltman, policy aide Jake Sullivan, diplomat Kurt Campbell, State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills and top aide Huma Abedin.”

The Post said the email is heavily redacted because it contains classified “information regarding foreign governors” and “foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources.” The email is set to be declassified on May 28, 2033.

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Politics September 24, 2014: In UN speech Obama issues call to destroy ISIS the “cancer of violent extremism”

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President Barack Obama delivers an address at the UN General Assembly focusing on the fight against ISIS, Sept. 24, 2014

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President Barack Obama delivers an address at the UN General Assembly focusing on the fight against ISIS, Sept. 24, 2014
Andrew Burton/Getty Images / The White House

 

Politics September 23, 2014: Obama readies for UN General Assembly speech uniting coalition for ISIS fight

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Obama readies for UN General Assembly speech uniting coalition for ISIS fight 

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Examiner.com, September 23, 2014, 12:51 PM MST

President Barack Obama addresses the United Nations Climate Summit on Sept. 23, 2014, a day before he delivers a speech to the General Assembly rallying for a coalition to fight ISIS

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

President Barack Obama is preparing his speech on Sept. 24, 2014 to the United Nations General Assembly in New York about uniting allies in the coalition to fight ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The president is also lining up meetings this week with leaders of Middle East countries including Iraq, Egypt and Israel.

President Obama is scheduled to deliver two speeches at the UN this week on Tuesday, Sept. 23, he speaks of climate change at the UN Climate Summit, then on Wednesday, Sept. 24, Obama will try to rally world leaders to join a coalition and fight against the terrorist organization at the General Assembly. The State Department has said that over 55 nations have pledged to participate in the coalition against ISIS, with 40 already involved at different levels of participation.

Obama will also convince the UN to agree on a resolution that “will increase the obligations on states to try to prevent and deter the flow of foreign fighters.” National Security Adviser Susan Rice described the goal of the resolution on Friday, Sept. 19, saying, “It will move the ball down the field in terms of the international legal architecture and obligations on states to try to combat this challenge.” As the Hill noted the resolution will serve as an endorsement of the president’s plan for ISIS similar to Congress’ authorization to train and arm Syrian rebels. The administration believes the president might be able to secure a unanimous vote on the resolution in the UN Security Council Meeting he is chairing this week.

Obama will also meet this week with the new president of Iraq Haider al-Abadi, and also the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Then on Oct. 1, Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, after Netanyahu came to address the UN on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden made the announcement about the meeting on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014.

White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest commented at the daily press briefing on Friday, Sept 19 about the president’s plans for the general assembly, “The thing that I would do is try to convey to you that this is part of an ongoing effort. We’re going to have conversations prior to the United Nations General Assembly meeting with our Arab partners that have signaled a willingness to join this coalition.”

Continuing Ernst elaborated on the planned meetings; “We will have conversations during the United Nations General Assembly meetings with our Arab partners who are ready to contribute to this coalition. And we’ll continue to have meetings after the U.N. General Assembly meetings.”

While Obama will be convincing the Arab leaders to join the coalition against ISIS, Netanyahu will be trying to convince Obama not to include Iran in the battle. Netanyahu believes that Iran is the greater threat to the Middle East with their nuclear capability than ISIS. He wants to persuade Obama that a tentative agreement over Iran’s nuclear program should not include leniencies on sanctions in exchanged for their involvement combating ISIS, as it has been rumored.

President Obama military outlined his plan to “degrade and destroy” the terror organization in his speech to the nation on Wednesday evening, Sept. 10, 2014. Since then he has subsequently clarified his plan would not include American soldiers fighting ISIS on the ground. The president has also dedicated his weekly addresses for the past two weeks; “We Will Degrade and Destroy ISIL” and “The World Is United in the Fight Against ISIL” on his military plan, Congress’ authorization, and a global coalition. Obama will reiterate his message from Saturday, Sept. 20 at the UN; “We’ll lead a broad coalition of nations who have a stake in this fight. This isn’t America vs. ISIL. This is the people of that region vs. ISIL. It’s the world vs. ISIL.”

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Bonnie K. Goodman is the Editor of the Academic Buzz Network, a series of political, academic & education blogs which includes History Musings: History, News & Politics. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from McGill University and has done graduate work in Jewish history at Concordia University as part of the MA in Judaic Studies program. She covers US, Canadian & Israeli politics, with a particular focus on the Obama presidency, Congress, domestic policy, and elections.

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