Author Michael Doran presented a lecture on his new book, Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East, to members of The Jewish Policy Center in Washington on December 15th. Doran, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute and former staff member of the National Security Council, discussed how President Eisenhower came to realize that Israel, not Egypt, was America’s strongest regional ally. Having failed to understand Nasser’s regional priorities and inter-Arab rivalries, and in the face of a State Department bureaucracy that believed that Israel was a liability to the U.S., Eisenhower ultimately concluded that Nasser had duped him, and the Arab countries were too fractious to anchor America’s interests in the Middle East. The shift was on.
Fifty-plus years later, Ike’s Gamble is also a metaphor for our times.