Foreign Policy in the Clinton Administration


Rosanna Perotti, Ph.D. (Editor)
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, US

Open Access

Series: Presidency in the United States
BISAC: POL030000

Bill Clinton came to the presidency during the first moments of the post-Cold War era, when the United States and the international system were at a crossroads. Faced with the choice of either retreating from the world or acting as “world policeman,” Clinton chose a path of unabashed “practical internationalism.” His foreign policy embraced globalization, free trade and the promotion of democracy abroad, while acknowledging American limits.

Scholarly and pubic interest in Clinton’s foreign policy have peaked recently, as the shape of the Trump administration’s foreign policy has unfolded. Today’s populist nationalists might be seen as reacting to the Clinton agenda: They have attacked free trade and internationalism as a “bad deal” for US workers, striking out not only at trade agreements, but at immigration, refugee acceptance, US intervention, and international institutions such as the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol. Today, advocates of free trade and international engagement warn that the United States must continue to take a leadership role in steering the international agreements and institutions that it helped to create, as a way of advancing American prosperity and security.

This is the reason the Clinton administration’s foreign policy legacy continues to be important today. To understand “America First,” we must first understand the underpinnings of globalization and the policy of practical internationalism. During Clinton’s time in office and not long after, many scholars struggled to find coherence to the administration’s foreign policy legacy, despite the administration’s continued assertions of an overarching strategy. Today, it is more apparent than ever that 1) Clinton’s foreign policy had a cohesive theme, 2) his internationalism sowed the seeds of our current “America First” brand of populism, and 3) Clinton’s successes and failures hold important lessons for policymakers today.

The introduction to this edited volume explores these themes, and the remainder of the book’s seventeen chapters, authored by scholars of comparative politics, international relations and history, expand on particular policies. With the Trump administration midterm assessments coming in Fall 2018 and Winter 2019, there will be heightened interest in the background of such issues as engagement with North Korea; terrorism; nuclear proliferation; relations with China, India, and Japan; peacemaking in Northern Ireland; cooperation with NATO and the UN; and the difficulty of pursuing peace in the Middle East.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Introduction: Reassessing “Practical Internationalism” in the Era of “America First”
(Rosanna Perotti, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, US)

Chapter 1. Practical Internationalism: The Foreign Policy of the Clinton Administration as Viewed from Europe
(Richard N. Gardner, Columbia Law School, New York, NY, US)

Chapter 2. Doing the Right Thing in a Pragmatic Way
(Madeleine K. Albright, Albright Stonebridge Group, Washington, DC, US)

Chapter 3. The Foreign Policy of the Clinton Administration: The Pursuit of Order in the Post Cold War Era
(Glenn P. Hastedt and Anthony J. Eksterowicz, Department of Political Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, US)

Chapter 4. Clinton and the Origins of the Militarization of National Security Policy
(Melvin Goodman, Johns Hopkins University, Center for International Policy, Washington, D.C., US)

Chapter 5. US Nuclear Proliferation Policy during the Clinton Administration
(Donald H. McNeill, Consulting Physicist, New York, NY, US)

Chapter 6. Clinton and China: From Confrontation to Engagement
(Jeffrey A. Bader, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, US)

Chapter 7. Japan’s Dual Challenge: A Democrat in the White House and the Growing Shadow of China
(Takashi Kanatsu, Ph.D., Department of Political Science, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, US)

Chapter 8. Engaging with North Korea: Clinton’s Legacy
(Mikyoung Kim, Department of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, US)

Chapter 9. The Transformation of Indo-American Relations under President William Jefferson Clinton
(Arthur G. Rubinoff, Department of Political Science, The University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)

Chapter 10. US Foreign Policy Toward the Iraqi Kurds During the Clinton Administration
(Michael M. Gunter, Department of Political Science, Tennessee Technological University
Cookeville, TN, US)

Chapter 11. Slouching Towards Baghdad: Clinton’s Policy Towards Iraq
(Stefanie Nanes, Department of Political Science, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, US)

Chapter 12. Toward 9/11: Confronting Terrorism, From Clinton to Bush
(Michael D’Innocenzo, Department of History, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, US)

Chapter 13. President Clinton and Northern Ireland: Gulliver in Lilliput
(John Dumbrell and Timothy J. Lynch, School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University, UK, and others)

Chapter 14. Bringing Hope to Northern Ireland’s Civil Society: 1992-2000
(Catherine B. Shannon, Department of History, Westfield State University, Westfield, MA, US)

Chapter 15. Private and Public Diplomacy: The US Permanent Representative to the United Nations in the Clinton Years
(Meena Bose, Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, US)

Chapter 16. The Clinton Administration and the United Nations: From “Assertive Multilateralism” to “Burden Shifting” and Rediscovery
(Stephen F. Burgess, Department of International Security Studies, US Air War College
Montgomery, AL, US)

Chapter 17. Getting from Mogadishu to Sarajevo: The “Maturing” of the Clinton Administration’s UN Policy
(Jerry Pubantz, Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, US)

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