多米诺理论是共产主义传播的隐喻，正如美国总统德怀特·艾森豪威尔在1954年4月7日的新闻发布会上所阐述的那样。 1949年，由于毛泽东和人民解放军在中国内战中战胜蒋介石的民族主义者，美国对中国所谓的“失去”的共产党感到不安。 1948年朝鲜共产主义国家成立后，随后结束了朝鲜战争（1950-1953）。在新闻发布会上，艾森豪威尔表达了对共产主义可能在亚洲乃至澳大利亚和新西兰蔓延的担忧。正如艾森豪威尔所解释的那样，一旦第一张多米诺骨牌倒下（意思是中国），“最后一张多米诺骨牌将会发生什么事情肯定会很快过去……毕竟，亚洲已经失去了大约4.5亿人口共产党的独裁政权，我们根本无法承受更大的损失。“艾森豪威尔担心，如果共产主义超越“日本，福尔摩沙（台湾），菲律宾和南方的所谓岛屿防御链”，它将不可避免地蔓延到泰国和东南亚其他地区。然后他提到了对澳大利亚和新西兰的所谓威胁。在这种情况下，没有一个“岛屿防御链”成为共产主义者，但东南亚的部分地区却没有。由于经济受到数十年欧洲帝国剥削的蹂躏，以及更加重视社会稳定和繁荣而不是个人奋斗的文化，越南，柬埔寨和老挝等国的领导人认为共产主义是一种重建的潜在可行方式。他们的国家作为独立国家。艾森豪威尔和后来的美国领导人，包括理查德尼克松，利用这一理论来证明美国对东南亚的干涉，包括越南战争的升级。虽然反共南越及其美国盟友在北越军队和越共的共产党军队中输掉了越南战争，但在柬埔寨和老挝之后，倒下的多米诺骨牌已经停止。澳大利亚和新西兰从未考虑成为共产主义国家。总之，多米诺理论基本上是一种政治意识形态的传染理论。它依赖于这样的假设：各国转向共产主义，因为它们从邻国“捕获”它，好像它是一种病毒。从某种意义上说，这种情况可能发生 – 一个已经是共产主义的国家可能会支持邻国跨越边界的共产主义叛乱。在更极端的情况下，例如朝鲜战争，一个共产主义国家可能会积极地入侵资本主义邻国，希望征服它并将其加入共产主义阵营。然而，多米诺理论似乎认为，仅仅在一个共产主义国家旁边就会使某个国家感染共产主义“不可避免”。也许这就是为什么艾森豪威尔认为岛国能够更有能力坚持反对马克思主义/列宁主义或毛主义思想的路线。然而，这是一个非常简单的观点，即各国如何采用新的意识形态。如果共产主义像普通感冒一样传播，那么根据这一理论，古巴应该设法避开。
The Domino Theory was a metaphor for the spread of communism, as articulated by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in an April 7, 1954 news conference. The United States had been rattled by the so-called “loss” of China to the communist side in 1949, as a result of Mao Zedong and the People’s Liberation Army’s triumph over Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists in the Chinese Civil War. This followed close after the establishment of the communist state of North Korea in 1948, which resulted in the Korean War (1950-1953). In the news conference, Eisenhower expressed concern that communism could spread across Asia and even toward Australia and New Zealand. As Eisenhower explained, once the first domino fell (meaning China), “What will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly…Asia, after all, has already lost some 450 million of its peoples to the Communist dictatorship, and we simply can’t afford greater losses.” Eisenhower fretted that Communism would inevitably spread to Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia if it got past “the so-called island defensive chain of Japan, Formosa (Taiwan), of the Philippines and to the southward.” He then mentioned the supposed threat to Australia and New Zealand. In the event, none of the “island defensive chain” became communist, but parts of Southeast Asia did. With their economies ravaged by decades of European imperial exploitation, and with cultures that placed higher value on societal stability and prosperity over individual striving, the leaders of countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos viewed communism as a potentially viable way to re-establish their countries as independent nations. Eisenhower and later American leaders, including Richard Nixon, used this theory to justify US intervention in Southeast Asia, including escalation of the Vietnam War. Although the anti-communist South Vietnamese and their American allies lost the Vietnam War to the communist forces of the North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong, the falling dominoes stopped after Cambodia and Laos. Australia and New Zealand never considered becoming communist states. In summary, the Domino Theory is basically a contagion theory of political ideology. It rests on the assumption that countries turn to communism because they “catch” it from a neighboring country as if it were a virus. In some sense, that can happen — a state that is already communist may support a communist insurgency across the border in a neighboring state. In more extreme cases, such as the Korean War, a communist country may actively invade a capitalist neighbor in hopes of conquering it and adding it to the communist fold. However, the Domino Theory seems to posit the belief that simply being next to a communist country makes it “inevitable” that a given nation will become infected with communism. Perhaps this is why Eisenhower believed that island nations would be relatively more able to hold the line against Marxist/Leninist or Maoist ideas. However, this is a very simplistic view of how nations adopt new ideologies. If communism spreads like the common cold, by this theory Cuba should have managed to steer clear.