Lessons of Diplomacy and Suez Crisis

The Suez War of 1956 is rarely included in the pantheon of crises featured in the study of statecraft. Seminal works on strategy, such as Yale historian Donald Kagan's On the Origins of War, typically examine more famous episodes, like the outbreak of World War I or the Cuban Missile Crisis. Perhaps that is because Suez seems like a blip compared to other conflagrations of the era, such as the Soviet invasion of Hungary or the battle for Berlin. Seen as a “Middle East” war, Suez is sandwiched between the more “decisive” conflicts of 1948 and 1967. Suez also scrambled the traditional Cold War divisions that make for compelling study in other cases: At one point in the conflict, Washington aligned itself more closely with Moscow and Cairo than with London and Paris.

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