Evaluate the performance of President Eisenhower and his supporters, John Foster and Allen Dulles, in foreign affairs.

Expert Answers
saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Eisenhower’s foreign policy had mixed results. His successes started with a successful cessations of hostilities in Korea. With the blessing of both Dulles and Foster, he threatened to unleash the American nuclear arsenal on the Chinese if they didn’t come to terms, and soon after the armistice was signed.  He also used this threat when the Chinese began shelling Taiwan, but thanks to his hard-line stance the islands security was upgraded.

Secretary of State Dulles also helped craft the “Eisenhower Doctrine” in the wake of the Suez Crisis. It stated that the U.S. was prepared to use force in order to prevent communist takeovers of democratic countries. He sent aide to Jordan and marines to Lebanon soon after.

One of his failures occurred in Southeast Asia. Eisenhower was asked to support the French and then the South Vietnamese army, but balked when his advisors said he’d need to substantially increase the armies’ presence to guarantee and end to the threat. Instead, he sent around 900 advisors to assist the South Vietnamese government. Had he actually stepped up support, things might have turned out differently in Vietnam for the U.S.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Eisenhower and his aides had big ideas, but it is hard to say that their big ideas changed much.

When Ike came into office, he wanted to pursue a bolder policy towards the communists.  He wanted to contain them while cutting military costs.  To do this, he was going to use the threat of "massive retaliation" with nuclear weapons if they did anything to hurt the US.  That way, the US could be safe without having to spend huge amounts on conventional weapons and soldiers.  At the same time, Ike tried to establish a friendlier relationship with the Soviets.  Neither of these big plans worked.

During Eisenhower's time, the US got more deeply involved in Vietnam as the French pulled out.  During his time, Cuba fell to Castro and planning for what became the Bay of Pigs invasion started.  There were no huge disasters in foreign affairs, but neither were there any great improvements.