In retirement, Eisenhower admitted privately that his failure to support the British was his greatest foreign policy mistake.
A couple of excerpts from the article, which also presents a timeline:
Fifty years on, D R Thorpe – Anthony Eden’s biographer – analyses the lasting impact of this crisis on Britain’s standing in the world
. . .
While British actions in 1956 are routinely described as “imperialistic”, the motivation was in fact economic. As a liberal supporter of nationalist ambitions – as over Sudanese independence – Eden had been ahead of his times, certainly in Conservative ranks.
His 1954 Suez Canal Base Agreement (withdrawing British troops from Suez in return for certain guarantees) was sold to the Conservative Party against Churchill’s wishes.
Nasser broke the agreement six weeks after the troops had left, in June 1956, leaving Eden politically exposed in his own ranks. In retrospect, the nationalisation of Suez seems inevitable – but Eden’s fall did not. Hugh Gaitskell, the Labour leader, was initially supportive of a firm response. “It is all very familiar. It is exactly the same that we encountered from Mussolini and Hitler in those years before the war,” he said.
[ ... ]
At the outset, the main aims had been to keep the canal open, to maintain oil supplies, to remove Nasser, and to keep the Russians out of the Middle East.
The results were that the canal was blocked, petrol rationing began in Britain on December 12, Nasser became the established leader of Arab nationalism, the Russians strengthened their influence in the area and the Arab and Muslim world turned against Britain.
Nasser also suffered in the long term. Suez gave him an inflated view of his own power. In his mind, he had “defeated” the combined forces of Great Britain, France and Israel, whereas in fact Britain had been “defeated” by America.
The Six Day War against Israel in 1967 was when reality kicked in….