The Best Defense

Ike and Obama: Is crisis avoidance the dominant foreign policy trait of both?

I was in a discussion the other day of the Obama administration's foreign policy. The more I listened, the more President Obama began to remind me of President Eisenhower.

There is indeed a long list of foreign crises pending right now:

  • getting out of Afghanistan
  • Syria
  • Iran/nukes
  • Af/Pak
  • Pakistan vs. India
  • China vs. Japan
  • slow collapse of North Korea
  • global warming
  • European economic situation
  • advent of cyber-warfare

But as I listened to the discussion, I thought of President Eisenhower, who took office and set to getting us out of the Korean War, as Obama did with Iraq. He also worked hard to keep us out of the French war in Vietnam, overriding the Joint Chiefs' desire to use nukes to help the French. He also rejected pleas of many to intervene in the Hungarian Revolution. And he had the Suez Crisis, with the French and British. Then there were issues of Stalin's successors in the Soviet Union, which was rapidly building its nuclear arsenal.

I suspect that Obama's dominant impulse is to keep us out of the problems he sees overseas, just as Ike sought to keep us out of Vietnam and Hungary. Many people disagreed with his decisions. But he was a successful president.

National Archives/SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The Best Defense

Tom’s busy week: Facing the nation, NPRing, FPRIng, B&N, and Marshall

Yesterday I was on Face the Nation yakking about foreign policy and such.

Today (Monday, for those of you still waking up) I'm on a Baltimore NPR station, WYPR, at noon.

Tuesday evening I'm speaking about my book at Palantir Corp. in northern Virginia -- if you work there I bet you can get in.

Thursday afternoon at 2:00 I am participating in an FPRI symposium on the Vietnam War, held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. It will also be cast all over the web.

Saturday will find me at 2 pm at the Barnes & Noble at Seven Corners in northern Virginia.

And on Sunday at 3 pm I will be speaking and signing at the George Marshall House in Leesburg, Va.