Apocalypse Management : Eisenhower and the Discourse of National Insecurity

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-02-04
  • Publisher: Stanford Univ Pr

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For eight years President Dwight Eisenhower claimed to pursue peace and national security. Yet his policies entrenched the United States in a seemingly permanent cold war, a spiraling nuclear arms race, and a deepening state of national insecurity. Ira Chernus uncovers the key to this paradox in Eisenhower's unwavering commitment to a consistent way of talking, in private as well as in public, about the cold war rivalry. Contrary to what most historians have concluded, Eisenhower never aimed at any genuine rapprochement with the Soviet Union. He discourse always assumed that the United States would forever face an enemy bent on destroying it, making national insecurity a permanent way of life. The "peace" he sought was only an endless process of managing apocalyptic threats, a permanent state of "apocalypse management," intended to give the United States unchallenged advantage in every arena of the cold war. The goal and the discourse that supported it were inherently self-defeating. Yet the discourse is Eisenhower's most enduring legacy, for it has shaped U.S. foreign policy ever since, leaving us still a national insecurity state.

Author Biography

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is the author of Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace (2002) and, most recently, of Monsters to Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin (2006).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: On Eisenhower and Discoursep. 1
The Origins of Apocalypse Management
Ideological Foundationsp. 17
"The Chance for Peace"p. 29
Candor and Koreap. 52
The New Look and "Atoms for Peace"p. 59
The Trials of Apocalypse Management
The Trapp. 77
The President and the Bomb, 1953-1955p. 87
The Triumph of Apocalypse Management
The Formosa Straits Crisisp. 109
"Open Skies"p. 127
The Spirit of Genevap. 146
The Ironies of Apocalypse Management
Beyond Genevap. 157
Mutual Security and the Military Budgetp. 167
The President and the Bomb, 1956-1960p. 183
The Ironies of Disarmamentp. 197
Conclusion: The National Insecurity Statep. 217
Notesp. 243
Bibliographyp. 291
Indexp. 301
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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