Back to index
Two Years In The White House: The Presidency of Bill Clinton & U.S. Foreign Policy, 1993 & 1994
James D. Boys
University of Birmingham
The President of the United States is required to define America’s national interest according to the circumstances that exist during his time in office. As the first President elected in the post-Cold War era, Bill Clinton’s Foreign Policy would naturally mark a new direction in US International Relations. Bill Clinton was elected at a time of opportunity and unrest. At home, Americans were seeking both domestic renewal and a peace dividend following the end of the Cold War. Despite his aim to focus on the domestic economy, Clinton could not ignore the outside world. The former Arkansas Governor would need to do what the outgoing Bush Administration had failed to do; design a foreign policy that accounted for a collapsed Soviet Union, a rapidly emerging China, and a recession fuelled Europe. He would have to do so due to the lack of a long-term foreign policy in place to rival the Containment of the Cold War. President Bush had spoken of a New World Order, but this had not materialised by January 1993. Indeed, the New York Times felt that the Bush Administration “let a lot of difficult issues simmer throughout the election year, to be inherited by the new administration. Mr Clinton is a novice, but the so-called experts left him a plate full of problems.”
Clinton would need to reduce military spending to reduce the deficit, whilst denying charges that his avoidance of military serve in Vietnam made him anti-military and a Carter style wimp, a thought compounded by the presence of many former Carter officials in his Cabinet. He would have to face not only his own past dealings with the military, but also a strident Republican party, bitter at their 1992 defeat and eager to taint the new administration with charges of an ad-hoc approach to foreign policy. Such charges did much to taint perceptions of Clinton’s Administration and shall be addressed herein. How President Clinton handled these issues in his first two years in office was indicative of his entire presidency and exposed not only his own strengths and weaknesses, but also the flaws inherent in the American system of government.
Bill Clinton sought the presidency to attend to domestic issues, but did not enter the Oval Office in a vacuum. America had entered a new era of responsibility and opportunity, for whilst there was no immediate threat from overseas, “no President since Harry Truman had assumed office with the world so unstable.” This weighed on Clinton’s mind as he prepared to assume Office, realising that foreign affairs could distract him from his mission of “focusing like a laser” on the domestic agenda. "I might have to spend all my time on foreign policy," Clinton admitted, "and I don't want that to happen."
Clinton had argued that Bush’s refusal to promote an economic revival was his most glaring foreign policy failure and that a weak economy undermined American diplomacy. This linkage of the domestic to the foreign was to be a recurring notion in Clinton’s Presidency and can be viewed as his most important strategic decision. By the end of his second term, the President would be able to claim that, “his administration led the way to the greatest sustained period of economic growth in modern American history.”
Clinton assumed office with an eye towards history, aware of those who had gone before him and of the opportunity that lay ahead. He aimed to be “somewhere between Roosevelt and Kennedy. There's a sense that we need to get the country moving again.” To get Americans moving, Clinton first had to motivate them, and here he faced a dilemma, for he had a reputation for boring audiences in set piece speeches. He was jeered whilst nominating Michael Dukakis at the 1988 Democratic Convention and his own Acceptance Speech lasted over an hour. “The Inaugural Address had to be different; crisp, concise, Kennedyesque.” At 1,557 words, Clinton’s Inaugural Address of 1993 was, “the third shortest inaugural speech in history by the third youngest man to make one.”
Due to Clinton’s domestic agenda, foreign policy did not dominate the Address, as it had done for President’s during the Cold War. When foreign policy was mentioned it was done so in the context of linkage. In a move beyond previous administrations, Clinton decreed that all issues would be assessed by their impact on his domestic renewal plan. The most important element of the speech highlighted this concept. “There is no longer a clear division between what is foreign and what is domestic. The world economy, the world environment, the world arms race- they affect us all.” This was a statement unimaginable under President Bush and marked a clear attempt by Clinton to utilise foreign policy for domestic purposes.
Those who feared this New Democrat would be an old isolationist were proved wrong when he announced, “clearly, America must continue to lead the world we did so much to make.” The issue of linkage was again raised; “To renew America, we must meet challenges abroad as well as at home.” A continued international presence would not be forfeited in favour of domestic renewal, instead it would assist in rebuilding America, for “while America rebuilds at home, we will not shrink from the challenges nor fail to seize the opportunities of this new world.” The line which attracted most attention was, “when our vital interests are challenged, we will act, with peaceful diplomacy whenever possible, with force when necessary.” This would be the first of many statements made to differentiate this President from his Democratic predecessor of the 1970s and to clarify that he would not hesitate to use American military options if pressed to do so.
Despite his intention to focus on the domestic economy and to view events overseas in terms of potential US investment and trade partnerships, Clinton also had to tend to traditional foreign policy issues. Bill Clinton would be a foreign policy president for one simple reason; he would have to be. He had become president at a time when more American troops were stationed in more countries than at the start of any Administration since 1945. It was clear that, “the new president must find a role for an America that can neither dominate nor retreat.”
As of January 20, 1993, there was no single American foreign policy, and no single threat. It is clear that despite his foreign policy credentials, President Bush had not put in place a coherent policy to deal with the post-Cold War era that had begun during his administration. Bush had been attacked for not addressing domestic issues, but neither had he devised a comprehensive foreign policy, bequeathing Clinton tough decisions concerning Somalia, Bosnia, Iraq and the Middle East. Strategic issues concerning the promotion of democracy in Russia and China, and the future roles of NATO and the UN were also left unattended during the Bush years. The end of the Cold War had both eased tensions and created new ones, for whilst the collapse of the Soviet Union had cut off financial assistance to states such as Cuba, it also resulted in nuclear proliferation to the former Soviet republics of the Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The lack of a systemic, external threat to America meant the Administration “faced a choice instead of compulsion.”Theoretical dilemmas confounded analysts and called into question the underlying notions of American National Security that had existed during the Cold War. Military planners were looking for guidance as to the types of wars they should be preparing to wage and about America’s future commitment to NATO. With the end of the Cold War, would America withdraw into a period of neo-isolationism? In 1992 these were the questions that were being asked and it was to the President of the United States that they looked for answers.
Due to his domestic focus, Bill Clinton had not come to the White House with a defined foreign policy plan, or set of initiatives. Indeed, Warren Christopher would declare that, “I will not attempt to fit the foreign policy of the next four years into the straitjacket of some neatly tailored doctrine." This would prove to be flaw in the administration as it was seen to stumble from one crisis to the next during its first 12 months, with little or no sense of strategic direction. That Clinton’s team was so blatantly drawn from the second tier of President Carter’s Administration did not improve matters. As Secretary of State, Clinton named former Deputy Secretary of State, Warren Christopher. It was not an appointment that generated excitement, for it was noted that Christopher, “may be a consummate manager, but is a highly unlikely architect of a new world order.” Carter’s former Chief of Policy Planning, Anthony Lake was appointed National Security Adviser, with his deputy being Samuel Berger, who had coordinated foreign policy advice for Clinton during the campaign. Former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Les Aspin, was appointed Secretary of Defence. The team shared a leaning toward human rights, coupled with a willingness to eventually use force, for as Berger noted, “diplomacy disengaged from force isn’t much diplomacy.” It was apparent that such remarks were designed to downplay any talk about the re-emergence of Carter style wimps in the US foreign policy team. The over-riding mandate for the team however was to “keep foreign policy from distracting the president from his domestic agenda.”
However the administration immediately faced three challenges that would establish the world’s opinion of the Clinton Presidency and none of them had anything to do with the Inaugural calls for enhancing domestic renewal. In December 1992, President Bush commenced Operation Restore Hope, sending 25,400 US troops to Somalia for humanitarian purposes. Sending troops abroad following an election defeat would prove easier than withdrawing them without losing American prestige. In May 1993, America transferred the mission to UN supervision as its remit shifted from aid delivery to nation building. Clinton was able to steadily withdraw US troops over the summer of 1993 until an ambush left eighteen US Rangers dead. When their bodies were paraded on television, President Clinton bowed to domestic pressure and announced the U.S. withdrawal. Clinton was attacked both for engaging in Nation Building, and for not providing protection for American troops. From his campaign speeches and first months in office, it is clear that Clinton sought an enhanced role for the United Nations that would allow the UN to deal with foreign crisis and let Clinton deal with domestic issues. It is apparent that this multilateral policy did not continue due to the problems encountered in Somalia, leading to tensions between the UN and the American government. This increased following the Congressional elections of 1994 and to the withdrawal of America support for Secretary General Boutros-Ghali. From now on, American military presence would be restricted to Air Power. Placing ground troops into a hostile environment was not something Clinton was inclined to do again.
Clearly, the Somali incident had wide reaching implications and impacted the President’s actions in the Balkans, where he had initially promised a more pro-active role. Once elected however, he began to renege on this declaration, which reinforced European opinion that Clinton was “a smart but provincial Southern politician with a limited knowledge of the world.” Clinton’s standing was not helped by Warren Christopher’s attempts to promote the ‘lift and strike’ policy of lifting the arms embargo against the Muslims with threats of air strikes against those who opposed the re-arming. Vitally, there would be no US ground troops. “It was a plan designed to satisfy Congress and meant that America would step in to change the Bosnian situation without exposing itself to any of the consequences if things went wrong.” European leaders were appalled. “Frankly, he didn’t do a very good job of presenting his case,” said one British official. “At times, we weren’t even sure what his case was. As with Somalia, the Bosnian situation had begun under Bush’s Administration, but neither Bush, nor the Europeans, had developed a credible plan to prevent the bloodshed. With many in America questioning US vital interests in the Balkans, it is little surprise that Clinton failed to prioritise the matter.
The third crisis of Clinton’s first year was another issue bequeathed from the Bush Administration. A mass exodus had been underway from Haiti during the early 1990s and Clinton had clashed with Bush’s repatriation policy during the campaign. In office however he realised that few options existed and warned Haitians not to set sail for America. This capitulation was reinforced when the USS Harlan County was seen to have been expelled from Haitian waters merely by an angry mob on the quayside. Both the President and his foreign policy lost a great deal of esteem during this time, without enhancing the American economy or its standing overseas. The most public result of these events was the replacement of Les Aspin by his deputy, William Perry, as Secretary of Defence. In retrospect, Aspin’s departure was not surprising. Tasked “to structure American defence for the next 45 years,” Aspin had become a liability whose intellect was marred by a management style which ill suited the Pentagon. He had poor relations with Colin Powell, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who saw him as “a gadfly, capable of making policy by one-liners and occasional cheap shots.” Clinton needed to convince the military that he was not a draft-dodging softy. “Aspin, verbose and academic, came across like Clinton, only more so.”
It was apparent that during his first year, Clinton’s foreign policy was confused. In his first 100 Days, Clinton had reversed his attacks on Bush’s policy on Haitian boat people, Chinese dictators and the Japan’s trade deficit. However, a reversal of these policies was never likely. The Haitian situation was too similar to an incident involving Cuban boat people, that had blighted Clinton’s first term as Governor of Arkansas, and trade with China and Japan was too important to domestic renewal. Europeans were concerned over the Administration’s stance on Bosnia, where the President had promised action but had failed to deliver. However, a lack of vital US interests in the region meant the issue was not prioritised. The first anniversary of his inauguration was marred by Aspin’s resignation and it is clear that as focused as Clinton could be in domestic matters, he seemed unfocused on foreign policy issues, where there was a lack of a strategic outlook.
During the first year however, the Administration was undertaking policy reviews dealing with foreign and defence planning. At the Pentagon, the Bottom Up Review was being conducted in an attempt to implement candidate Clinton’s “pledge to cut forces by 300,000 troops and tens of billions of dollars.” Clearly however, Clinton faced a dilemma with the military. There was a public expectation that millions of dollars could be diverted from the military to domestic spending, thus delivering a peace dividend, following the end of the Cold War. However, due to his own background, Clinton had been attacked as a draft dodging, pot smoking, military bashing, liberal. As Commander in Chief, Clinton needed to avoid a clash with the military and as such was caught between political expediency and ideology. The eventual centrepiece of the review became Contingency Response, based on the need to fight two simultaneous regional wars. This was the Bush strategy but with Clinton campaign cuts and revealed the difficulty in cutting defence spending which is planed years in advance. The review dealt not with formulating a new structure for International Relations, but rather, “focused on reaction after deterrence and diplomacy had failed.” The report revealed the main threats to American security to be proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts, future risks to democracy in Russia and general economic dangers. Therefore, as had been promised in Clinton’s campaign manifesto, economic strength was formally adopted as a priority of National Security.
The policy review continued throughout the summer and in September, the basis of a strategic vision was laid out in a series of speeches. President Clinton addressed the United Nations on September 27, 1993, one week before the deaths in Somalia and praised the UN for its peacekeeping activities, hailing it as an instrument that “holds the promise to resolve many of this era’s conflicts.” Clinton emphasised that, “the United States intends to remain engaged and to lead. We cannot solve every problem, but we must and will serve as a fulcrum for change and a pivot point for peace.” The clearest indication of policy came from Anthony Lake in his speech, “From Containment to Enlargement,” which detailed how the Administration intended to shape the world. The goal was to promote democracies, whilst Iran and Iraq would be isolated, allowing the UN and NATO to implement the process of enlargement. Lake spoke of the need to adopt a strategy of enlargement of the world’s democracies as a replacement for the Cold War strategy of Containment, arguing “a strategy of enlargement must combine our broad goals of fostering democracy and markets with our more traditional geopolitical interests.”
This speech proved to be the foundation for Clinton’s major foreign policy imitative, but disputes over priorities would delay its publication until July 1994. The dispute arose between National Security Adviser Anthony Lake and Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, both of whom wanted to define the President’s approach to foreign policy. Lake advocated a strategy of enlargement with global interventionist ambitions, whilst Christopher espoused a strategy of active engagement with an emphasis on the key geographic regions. These differences were at the heart of US Government decision-making and it delayed the publication of the key foreign policy declaration by the Clinton White House, a delay that would diminish the administration in the eyes of many observers.
Whilst Clinton achieved much in his first year in office, including a five-year deficit reduction package, congressional approval of NAFTA and the agreement that ensured Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan would voluntarily give up their nuclear weapons to Russia,policy reversals on China, Bosnia and Haiti all dominated appraisals of his Administration. Clinton was criticised for viewing foreign policy as a distraction from restoring the domestic economy. “Cold War Presidents typically spent at least 60% of their time on foreign affairs. Clinton reversed the tables: domestic affairs consumed 75% of his time, foreign affairs less than a quarter.” Accordingly, his foreign policy did not inspire confidence, an impression reinforced by the slaughter of US troops in Somalia. George Bush declared that Clinton’s handling of foreign affairs “lacked structure,” and the result was an “episodic attention to specific issues, but no general strategy.” Former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft questioned the existence of a coherent policy, declaring American foreign policy to be “at prey to the whims of the latest balance of forces.” As 1993 drew to a close, it was difficult to argue with this appraisal, as random acts of intervention took precedent over acts of Democratic Enlargement, which had yet to be adopted as official policy.
In an attempt to reconcile the different perspectives of Christopher and Lake, the White House produced a National Security Strategy Report on July 21, 1994 under the title, A National Security Strategy of Engagement and Enlargement. The document proved to be the foundation of foreign policy for the Clinton years and would be updated on an annual basis. Its central themes were of linkage and a refusal to adopt isolationist policies. “Our foreign policy rests on 3 pillars: Security, domestic economic renewal and enlarging the community of democracies.” The document continued Clinton’s Inaugural claims that a weak economy undermined American diplomacy. “For America to be strong abroad it must be strong economically at home; at the same time, domestic economic renewal depends on the growth and integration of the global economy.” The document set out the financial realities of Democratic Enlargement. It is evident that in addition to its Wilsonian principles of spreading democracy, there were serious financial reasons for expansion to occur. “The best way to advance America's interests worldwide is to enlarge the community of democracies and free markets throughout the world.” Above all, it is clear that the notion of linkage remained central. “These goals are mutually supportive. Democratic states are less likely to threaten our interests. Secure nations are more likely to maintain democratic structures and to support free trade.”
It is important to recall that the document was drafted in light of the incidents that had occurred during 1993, and they made an impact, especially in the area of multilateral action. Determined to avoid being drawn into long-term peacekeeping operations such as Somalia again, the administration declared it was “working to ensure that the UN embarks only on peace operations that make political and military sense and is able to manage effectively those peace operations it does undertake.” Responding to Republican criticism about NATO control over US troops, the document continued, “There may be times when it is in our interest to place US troops under the temporary control of a competent UN or allied commander. However, under no circumstances will the President ever relinquish his command authority over US forces.”
The document defined the circumstances under which US forces would be deployed in language that echoed former Defence Secretary Weinberger’s November 1984 criteria; Is a vital US interest at stake? Will we commit sufficient resources to win? Are the objectives clearly defined? Will we sustain the commitment? Is there reasonable expectation that the public and Congress will support the operation? Have we exhausted our other options? Now the Clinton Administration defined the criteria to be: “Have we considered non-military means that offer a reasonable chance of success? Do we have reasonable assurance of support from the American people and their elected representatives? Do we have timelines and milestones that will reveal the extent of success or failure, and, in either case, do we have an exit strategy?”Critics noted that Weinberger’s six criteria had been reduced to four and that this heightened the chances of troops being dispatched in questionable circumstances. They need not have worried. Somalia had taught the White House the lesson of insecure troop deployment.
In addition to the theoretical projection of power, the document dealt with specific world regions, highlighting achievements in the Middle East and of the importance of East Asia. “Nowhere are the strands of our three-pronged strategy more intertwined, nor is the need for continued US engagement more evident. Now more than ever, security, open markets and democracy go hand in hand in our approach to this dynamic region.” Of specific relevance was the decision to separate China’s Most Favoured Nation status from its record on human rights, which best reflects the financial motivations behind the policy. In this decision, it is clear to see that Clinton had moved from his initial idealism to a more practical and pragmatic approach to world affairs. Whereas President Woodrow Wilson would make the world safe for Democracy, Clinton would make the world safe for commerce.
Europe would see the most tangible example enlargement, when NATO expanded during Clinton’s second term. “The aim of NATO’s future expansion will not be to draw a new line in Europe further east, but to expand stability, democracy, prosperity and security.” The final regional element to the document was the continued democratic status of Russia. “The success of these democratic reforms makes us all more secure; they are the best answers to the aggressive nationalism and ethnic hatreds unleashed by the end of the Cold War.”
The Engagement and Enlargement policy indicated that the Administration did have a strategic vision of America’s place in the world. It was a pragmatic policy for an evolving international environment that advanced the belief that Democracies were unlikely to threaten American interests and would support free trade. International peace and stability would be a by-product of American globalisation. Clinton's policy would make America the world's indispensable nation by ensuring that America remained at the heart of all major international organisations and structures, such as GATT, NATO, WTO, NAFTA, G7 and APEC. With the policy finally in place, Clinton began spending more time on foreign issues, realising his prior mistakes, but claiming a degree of justification. “I was afraid that unless we reversed our economic course, nothing I did in foreign policy would permit the U.S. to really succeed. So for the first eight months I was here, an enormous amount of my energy was devoted to what turned out to be a very important economic victory in the Congress.”
This change had much to do with key personnel changes at the White House, as more seasoned Washington players gradually replaced members of Clinton’s team. David Gergan was the new public face of the White House. William Perry successfully replaced Les Aspin as Defence Secretary and worked with the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General John Shalikashvili to heal relations between Clinton and the military, which had been strained since the first days of the Administration. It seems clear in retrospect that a corner had been turned. The first year looked like on the job training for the administration as they came to terms with their new roles and adapted to a new post-Cold War world. The President admitted a failure on his behalf to communicate his agenda. “I think a President has to make a continuing effort not only to shape a new world, but also to explain that world to the American people. And I don't think I did that as well as I should have in my first year.”
For the later half of 1994, foreign affairs appeared to be the Clinton Administration’s strongest policy. Domestically, a Congress controlled by members of his own party had blocked much of the President’s programs. Abroad however, Clinton could point to a cease-fire in Northern Ireland, a successful showdown with Saddam Hussein, a bloodless occupation of Haiti and the signing in Geneva of an accord with North Korea, who agreed, “first to freeze and then to dismantle,” its nuclear-bomb making capability. With his domestic agenda stalled and the Republicans making his character an electoral issue, President Clinton travelled to the Middle East to witness the signing of a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan on the eve of the 1994 Mid Term Elections. The master politician who had campaigned on the basis of a domestic platform was discovering the realities of the American Presidential system; the US President is more powerful abroad than at home. However, these efforts to highlight the foreign policy successes of the Administration were in vain. The President returned to a Republican dominated Congress, which would result in serious implications for the future of the Clinton Administration and its policies, both foreign and domestic.
After the 1994 Midterm elections, Clinton effectively surrendered the pro-active domestic agenda to the Republicans, for it was clear that “Clinton’s influence over policy is greater in the Mid East than it is in the Congress.” The Congressional Election of 1994 would push Clinton to the right to seek re-election and meant his domestic authority would now rest with his veto powers. It would be overseas that his stature would rise and where Clinton continued to work to empower American renewal with great success.
In retrospect, the Clinton Administration went through a steep learning curve during its first two years. By delegating foreign policy to his advisers, Clinton remained true to his goal of focusing on the economy, which led to vast reductions in the US federal deficit. However this also led to allegations that Clinton was disengaged in foreign policy decision-making process. This reduced the authority of America and its officials around the globe, and lead to claims that “the Clinton administration almost turned foreign policy into a vaudeville act.” Simultaneously, Clinton realised that due to the electoral timescales, he had a finite period to enact his program and so prioritised his deficit reduction plan and attempt to introduce universal health care coverage. The international repercussions demonstrated that the President couldn’t abdicate interest over one area of government merely for the benefit of another.
However, it also appears that by the first anniversary of his Inauguration, Clinton moved to implement necessary changes. Changes in personnel, policy and priorities led to a more efficient White House and a defined foreign policy of Engagement and Enlargement, which combined Wilsonian principles of extending democracy with the financially motivated notion of opening foreign markets to US trade exports. The policy allowed America to be seen as a bastion of human rights and democracy, whilst at the same time, allowing Clinton to deliver upon his promise of domestic renewal. Clinton’s contribution to strategic thinking was to formally link national economic security with American national security in a pragmatic policy for an evolving international environment. Other Presidents had advanced the importance of economic policy, but as US Trade Representative Mickey Kantor noted, Clinton was the first to “really make the bridge between foreign trade and domestic policy.”
The administration of course came in for harsh criticism. Critics suggested that Clinton had mistaken his trade policy for foreign policy, and that such policy amounted to little more than social work. Michael Mandelbaum berated the Administration for its efforts in Bosnia, Somalia and Haiti, declaring that, “the seminal events of the foreign policy of the Clinton administration were three failed military interventions in its first nine months in office.” European leaders were frustrated by Clinton’s unwillingness to adopt policies that might make him enemies, giving rise to claims that the true Clinton Doctrine was “a willingness to intervene when the domestic political cost of standing aloof exceeds the cost of a carefully staged and limited operation.”Yet it is important to consider a more conciliatory view. With no military experience, it is easy to imagine how President Clinton could have rushed into combat. As Colonel Dewar of the International Institute for Strategic Studies stated, “You could pat the president on the back for not falling into the trap of some ridiculous virility test, some measurement of macho.”
Critics such as William G. Hyland berated Clinton for not doing more with his Presidency, but in a world where the old rules did not apply, American foreign policy needed to adapt quickly and its domestic stagnation was a severe handicap to its capacity to do so. If the economy had been less of an issue, the American President may have been able to take a more active stance in leading a new international community. However, when President Clinton came to office, Americans were looking for a reduced role in the world and sought domestic renewal over International leadership. There was also no framework in place to rival the Containment policy of the Cold War and the New World Order had not materialised. Lake and Christopher advanced the separate policies of Engagement and Enlargement, but the failed to quickly agree on a combined policy and the administration suffered as a result. The delays, caused by disagreement between departments, individuals and by the President’s innate characteristic to placate as many people as possible, shook confidence in the Administration and set up the mid term election victory for the Republican Party.
If Engagement and Enlargement had been produced sooner the Administration could have avoided claims of adopting a photo opportunity led foreign policy. However, such claims were only levelled at the Clinton administration after the successful signing ceremonies between several of the greatest enemies in the Middle East, an achievement that should not be overlooked. The accusations of a photo opportunity led foreign policy became interesting when one considers that when President Bush ordered U.S. forces into Somalia, their landing on the Mogadishu beaches was timed to coincide with the breakfast news shows on the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The Navy SEAL’s were met not by Somali rebels, but by seventy-five cameramen broadcasting live images back to America.
Warren Christopher said, “Foreign policy is always a work in progress,” this was never more accurate than under President Clinton, who inherited a dangerous international situation with massive nuclear proliferation in the former Soviet republics, tensions in the Middle East and massive deficits at home. By the time he left office, he could boast of “22 million new jobs, the lowest unemployment in 30 years, and the longest expansion in history.” The Soviet proliferation issue was solved, the administration led efforts to find a peace settlement in Ireland and few Presidents worked harder or longer to bring peace to the Middle East. Clearly Engagement and Enlargement was an imperfect policy, but in an age when the old rules did not apply and no New World Order had emerged, this policy, established within the first eighteen months of the administration, provided a flexible response to an ever-changing world.