How Eisenhower Tried and Failed to Gain Arab Good Will by Abandoning Israel

Oct. 26 2016

In his recent Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East, Michael Doran argues that Dwight D. Eisenhower’s relations with Egypt were based on a faulty assumption that restraining and forcing concessions from Britain, France, and Israel would win over Gamal Abdel Nasser, who would then serve as a secular, modernizing, anti-Communist ally for the U.S. This approach failed disastrously not—as generally held—because America carried it out incompletely but because it was simply wrongheaded. Adam Kirsch writes in his review:

The root of Eisenhower’s mistake, Doran argues, was to see the Arab world as a monolithic entity, with Nasser at its helm. In order to appear as an “honest broker” in the Middle East, Eisenhower distanced the U.S. from its traditional allies in order to accommodate Nasser, which he believed would win America the affection of the Arabs at large. What this failed to account for, Doran believes, is that the Arab world was itself riven by national enmities, power struggles, and ideological disagreements. . . .

Egypt’s rise meant trouble for Saudi Arabia, which since the days of FDR had been America’s most important Arab ally (and oil supplier). And it spelled disaster for Israel, which was later forced to fight much more serious wars against Egypt in 1967 and 1973. Neither the U.S. nor the region reaped any benefits from the Nasserist order that Eisenhower helped to sponsor. . . .

[Ike’s Gamble makes] an implicit but unmistakable argument about America’s Middle East policy today. Any reader . . . who is even a little familiar with the current situation will be able to draw the lines connecting Ike with Obama, and Egypt with Iran. Once again, Doran implies, an American president has fallen prey to the delusion that favoring one particular Muslim state is the same thing as being an honest broker with the Muslim world. And once again, this approach has succeeded only in emboldening America’s enemies and endangering its friends, especially Saudi Arabia and Israel. This makes Ike’s Gamble a timely intervention into current debates. Obama won’t read it, but Hillary Clinton should.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Barack Obama, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gamal Abdel Nasser, History & Ideas, Middle East, Suez Crisis, US-Israel relations

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy