Clinton's World: Remaking American Foreign Policy

By William G. Hyland | Go to book overview

6
Russia

The Clinton administration paid a political price for its early mistakes. The president had managed to provoke serious questions about his competence in foreign affairs. Although the situations in Somalia and Haiti had little impact on national security, Clinton's credibility was damaged. After the 1996 elections were safely over, Christopher and others admitted to mishandling Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia. By that time Haiti and Somalia were only painful memories, and the administration had reversed course in Bosnia. On balance, they were secondary problems. Even the situation in Bosnia did not constitute a threat to American security--at least not directly. What would matter was how the new administration dealt with the great power centers--Russia, China, Japan, and Europe. Mistakes in Bosnian policy could be repaired, but a confrontation with Russia or China, or a serious split with NATO, would have long-term strategic consequences. On the other hand, putting these great-power relationships on a firm foundation would be a durable accomplishment.

The new administration was probably better prepared to deal with Russian issues than, say, with Bosnia. The Soviet Union had been familiar terrain. The State and Defense departments were staffed with officials with long experience in Soviet-Russian relations. But they would soon learn that their experience was now less relevant: circumstances were radically different from the Cold War years.

The dissolution of the USSR had been greeted with a strange mixture-- euphoria that a new age had begun, certainly in Europe and perhaps even in the world, and skepticism. Russian democracy seemed a historical oxy-

-79-

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Clinton's World: Remaking American Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • 1- The Legacy 1
  • 2- Mandate for Change 15
  • 3- Intervention 29
  • 4- Nation Building 51
  • 5- South of the Border 67
  • 6- Russia 79
  • 7- European Security 93
  • 8- Asian Tangles 109
  • Notes 124
  • 9- Unsinkable Japan 127
  • 10- Watershed 137
  • 11- Endgame 145
  • 12- Oslo and Beyond 155
  • Notes 168
  • 13 171
  • 14- Crisis Management 185
  • 15- Between Hope And History 197
  • Selected Bibliography 207
  • Index 209
  • About the Author *
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