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The Eisenhower Model of Shared War Powers

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On the morning of July 15, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced to the United Nations, the United States Congress, and the American people that U.S. Marines of the Sixth Fleet were landing on the beaches of Lebanon. According to the President, the landings were not an act of war, but a response to an appeal from the Lebanese government for assistance in maintaining its sovereignty and integrity. In deciding to employ American forces under these circumstances, the President was not worried about his constitutional authority to act because he had sought and obtained congressional endorsement through the Middle East Resolution of 1957. Popularly known as the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Middle East Resolution granted the President authority to commit economic and military aid to Middle Eastern countries threatened by communist aggression. By seeking this legislation, President Eisenhower successfully negotiated what Senator Richard B. Russell called the constitutional shadowland between the Presidents authority to use armed forces and the necessity for a declaration of war. ,, Rather than evaluating the ultimate success or failure of the 1958 Lebanese intervention, this paper will analyze President Eisenhowers deliberate use of a model of executive and legislative cooperation to resolve the constitutional war powers tension and strengthen his capability as commander-in-chief. The Eisenhower model consists of strategic threat assessment, a cooperative bipartisan leadership style, and prior congressional endorsement to meet predicted threats. The analysis will briefly describe the traditional constitutional war powers tension between the executive and legislative branches, show how President Eisenhower 5 model of shared war powers enabled a rapid American response to a crisis in lebanon, and conclude with an assessment of the models utility as a modern presidential tool.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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