The interesting thing about my paper is that the topic took a mind of its own and sort of unfolded itself as I was writing it. Originally, my plan was to write about misconceptions about the Eisenhower administration and his warning against the unwarranted influence of the “military-industrial complex” (the famous term he coined in his farewell address to the nation in January 1961. Then when it dawned on me, I realized that no other President in our history than a five-star general and former Supreme Allied Commander was better fit to warn the nation about the possible influence of the MIC.
What other presidents have used their reputation as one type of statesman to actually legitimize taking an opposing position? Later in the Cold War, Richard Nixon was credited with using this same strategy in achieving detente. A reporter commented, “Only Nixon Could Go to China,” because of his virulent anti-communist background. In this same vain, perhaps only Eisenhower could warn against the MIC.
In my studies of the decision-making processes of the Obama administration concerning actions in Afghanistanm we have seen a continuation – and then an expansion – of aggression from the Bush to Obama administrations. The Nobel Peace Prize winning President was actually able to leverage his reputation as an anti-war president to achieve tremendous gains in Afghanistan and Pakistan by expanding the scope of drone activity and U.S. Special Forces ground operations into Pakistan which led to the elimination of Osama bin Laden.
So we have three presidents, all using similar tactics. Only Ike could warn against a military-industrial complex, only Nixon could go to China, and only Obama could go to Afghanistan.