WE DID NOT
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT BECAME secretary of state at a time when the job, the world, and diplomacy itself were changing. In President Clinton's first term, it became apparent that the post-Cold War world was more confusing and in some ways more violent than it had been during the half century when the struggle against communism had guided all thinking. In the words of Monteagle Stearns, a career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Greece, "the loss of an enemy can be as disorienting as the loss of a friend. The collapse of communism has revealed a world that existed virtually unseen while the attention of Americans was riveted on the superpower confrontation."1
In Clinton's first term, the war in Bosnia, the genocide in Rwanda, and the Russian bombardment of Chechnya exposed the paralyzing difficulty of setting a coherent policy for responding to unanticipated events and building the domestic and international support required to carry it out. Washington's inability to formulate any focused response to the 1997 uprising that swept away the regime of Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire resulted largely from the lack of a Cold War prism through which the events could be viewed.
As the threat of nuclear extinction diminished, the relative significance of other threats--terrorism, international crime, degradation of the environment--increased, without clear guidelines or tested procedures for responding to them. In the absence of the threat from the Soviet Union, issues that would once have been sec-