Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows persist through the pandemic

Prof. Brendan Cushing-Daniels, Harold G. Evans Professor of Eisenhower Leadership Studies, provides an update on the Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows and their work in this unusual semester.

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This fall, the Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows have wrestled with the legacy of the President Eisenhower’s foreign policy.

The Domino Theory, a fear that allowing the Soviet Union to establish a ‘beachhead’ in South America, Asia, or Africa would lead to the toppling of democratic regimes throughout the region, was a primary motivator for the Eisenhower Administration.

So much did the U.S. fear the expansion of international communism that it colluded with the British to topple the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran and much later the Suharto government in Indonesia, working independently to overthrow the government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in between.

After reading deeply on those three specific instances of regime change, the Fellows met with author and journalist Stephen Kinzer, the former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, USA (ret.), and human rights attorney and UCLA law professor Dr. Asli Bali. Each of the speakers provided the Fellows with greater understanding, not only of these three episodes, but of other, more recent U.S. interventions to topple democratically elected governments and the consequences of those actions that we continue to suffer today.

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Whether one ultimately concludes that U.S. actions were justified, the brutal repression and suppression of human rights by the regimes we helped install give us all reason to question the actions, official and covert, of the U.S. State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency both historically and today.

The Eisenhower Institute Undergraduate Fellows program offers a select group of Gettysburg College students the chance to develop their leadership skills and grow in their knowledge and understanding of public policy.