THE United States, in the words used by Dr. Charles Malik in these pages, is now "entering the history of the Near East." After years of evasion and delay this country has taken up a new and more active rôle of leadership. President Eisenhower's message of January 5 to the Congress is a firm declaration of intent to preserve the Near and Middle East for the free world. Despite the difficulties the President's specific proposals encountered in the Senate, the Congress clearly supports his basic purposes.
Most of our earlier attempts to build a "position of strength" in the Middle East have foundered on the rocks of extreme nationalism, neutralism, political instability and reckless leadership. The new American policy, like those that have gone before, will have to navigate among these same rocks and reefs, in a new and more dangerous situation marked by alarming Soviet gains, by the virtual disappearance of British power and prestige, and by a pattern of unrest and conflict within a large part of the area itself in which the tolerant and the moderate are apparently being swept aside by the intolerant and the fanatical. We shall have what advantage there may be in building on prior efforts where they have succeeded and also the considerable handicap of having to clear away the wreckage of those that have failed.
The Truman Doctrine program of aid to Greece and Turkey, initiated in 1947, succeeded because the Greeks and Turks shared our aims and welcomed our help. The success of the new "doctrine" will also depend in the last analysis upon the support and the coöperation of the peoples of the "general area of the Middle East." For the Soviet challenge in the Middle East is above all a political challenge. Military commitments and economic aid can be an adequate response only if grounded in a sound political strategy.
Whatever its shortcomings of method or scope, the Eisenhower Doctrine is designed to accomplish certain things it was necessary
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