Bill Clinton's Adventures in the Jungle of Foreign Policy

By Michalak, Stanley | USA TODAY, March 1995 | Go to article overview

Bill Clinton's Adventures in the Jungle of Foreign Policy


Michalak, Stanley, USA TODAY


IN THE 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton sharply distanced himself from the foreign policies of the Bush Administration and offered the voters a leadership of "vision, values, and conviction." He told the Milwaukee Council on Foreign Affairs, "The cynical calculus of pure power politics simply does not compute."

Draping himself in the mantle of Woodrow Wilson, Clinton told his audience that "Simple reliance on old balance of power strategies can not bring the same practical success as a foreign policy that draws more generously from American democratic experience and ideals, and lights fires in the hearts of millions of freedom-loving people around the world....

"Mr. Bush's ambivalence about supporting democracy, his eagerness to defend potentates and dictators, has shown itself time and again. It has been a disservice not only to our democratic values, but also to our national interest."

For Clinton, the campaigner, a foreign policy grounded in the recognition of limited American power and limits to U.S. interests simply was unacceptable. "U.S. foreign policy can not be divorced from the moral principles most Americans share," he told a group at Georgetown University, adding that, "We can not disregard how other governments treat their own people, whether their domestic institutions are democratic or repressive, whether they help encourage or check illegal conduct beyond their borders." Moreover, "The defense of freedom and the promotion of democracy around the world aren't merely a reflection of our deepest values; they are vital to our national interests."

Given these axioms, Clinton distanced himself from Pres. George Bush's policies in regard to Haiti, China, Somalia, Bosnia, human rights, and the role of the United Nations in U.S. foreign policy and the post-Cold War international order. He castigated Bush's policy of returning Haitian boat people who were seeking to escape both grinding poverty and an oppressive dictatorship. If elected, he pledged, he would order a more liberal entry policy and deal with the root of the issue--the lack of democracy in Haiti. His rationale was simple: If American leadership could bring democracy back to Haiti, the flow of refugees would cease.

In regard to China, Clinton lashed out at Bush for coddling "aging rulers with undisguised contempt for democracy, human rights, and the need to control the spread of dangerous weapons." He also criticized Bush's policy of "constructive engagement," which sought to change China's policies by inducements, rather than threats and punishments. In contrast, Clinton pledged to link China's Most Favored Nation (MFN) privileges to its human rights record, trading policies, and weapons sales to countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria, and North Korea.

In addressing Somalia, Clinton criticized the limited mission that Bush had set for American forces--merely ensuring that food supplies were delivered to starving people. In two statements issued by his campaign headquarters, Clinton urged Bush "to take the lead in galvanizing the United Nations to find ways to end the tragic civil war that is the principal cause of the crisis in Somalia.... We can not allow the fate of innocent Somalis to be held hostage to personal ambitions of ruthless faction leaders and gangs."

Concerning Bosnia, Clinton told the World Affairs Council of Los Angeles that "We will make the U.S. the catalyst for a collective stand against aggression, the action I have urged in response to Serbian aggression in Bosnia which, thankfully, the Bush Administration now agrees [with] after first calling it reckless." While reminding his audience that "power is the basis for successful diplomacy, and military power has always been fundamental to international relationships," he asserted that the nation could rely upon multilateral, rather than unilateral, uses of military force.

"We will stand up for our interests, but we will share burdens, where possible, through multilateral efforts to secure the peace, such as NATO and a new, voluntary UN Rapid Deployment Force. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Bill Clinton's Adventures in the Jungle of Foreign Policy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.