To the victor go the spoils us foreign policy at the end of the 20 th century
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To the Victor go the Spoils? US Foreign Policy at the End of the 20 th Century. PO 326: American Foreign Policy. The End of the Cold War. Gorbachev’s reforms culminate in the demise of Soviet power and of the state itself Loss in Afghanistan (1989)

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To the victor go the spoils us foreign policy at the end of the 20 th century

To the Victor go the Spoils? US Foreign Policy at the End of the 20th Century

PO 326: American Foreign Policy


The end of the cold war
The End of the Cold War the 20

  • Gorbachev’s reforms culminate in the demise of Soviet power and of the state itself

    • Loss in Afghanistan (1989)

    • Soviet “retraction” from Eastern Europe leads to democratization, fall of Berlin Wall (1989)

    • Crackdown after initial domestic reforms leads to popular reaction, failed hard-line coup, ascension of Yeltsin (Christmas 1991)

    • Communist/Democratic competition ends – few communist countries remain

  • What was America’s role in the fall of the USSR?

    • Many attribute demise of USSR to America’s (esp. Reagan’s) attempts to “outspend” USSR in arms races – faltering Soviet economy could not accommodate

    • Gorbachev’s unilateral reforms are taken in part to stimulate economy, but there are larger purposes – the expectations created by them are too much for old system to bear


America s post cold war foreign policy where do we go from here
America’s Post-Cold War Foreign Policy: Where Do We Go From Here?

  • The sudden demise of the longstanding Soviet threat leaves America as the world’s only superpower, but leaves American foreign policy without clear direction

    • How should the US seek to maintain global hegemony? Indeed, is our “hyperpower” status even real and, if so, what are the key threats to it?

    • How should existing Cold War approaches and structures be adapted to meet new challenges? Or should they be abandoned altogether?

    • General formula: “Steer a course between isolationism (not possible) and overreach (not sustainable)” (Albright) – too vague?

      • Where do traditional FP views (isolation, Wilsonianism, containment) fit in?


America s post cold war foreign policy where do we go from here1
America’s Post-Cold War Foreign Policy: Where Do We Go From Here?

  • After the Cold War, the main challenges to American hegemony seem to be rooted in:

    • Potential traditional great power relations

      • China, Russia still loom as potential enemies

      • Development of EU?

    • Threats to the status quo upheld by the international power structure

      • Rogues: Several states (for several reasons) have interests that run counter to the interests of America and other SQ powers

    • Threats to the state system itself

      • Transnational terrorism is one of these, but globalization alone has changed traditional notions of sovereignty, power, etc.


America s post cold war foreign policy where do we go from here2
America’s Post-Cold War Foreign Policy: Where Do We Go From Here?

  • In general, these are different threats that will require different types of foreign policy preparation

    • Great power relations involving not only diplomacy, but involvement in/demands on domestic politics of major powers (continued democratization in Russia, respect for civil rights in China)

    • Actively undermining rogue states and their goals through diplomatic pressure, economic and military measures

      • Revamping the “limited war” doctrine: mantra of acceptable cost

    • Seek to harness the energies of globalization within the traditional systemic setup

      • Uphold peace through economic leadership (free trade)

      • Combat terrorism when required (associated problems); generally uphold notions of sovereignty

  • Tall order for US policy makers


The new foreign policy in action the 1991 gulf war
The New Foreign Policy in Action: The 1991 Gulf War From Here?

  • Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, August 1990

    • Key issues: Sovereignty and oil (both impact US’s post-Cold War foreign policy)

    • Action taken despite American threat (shadow of Vietnam)

    • GHW Bush: “This will not stand”

  • Development of multinational coalition; military buildup in region throughout remainder of 1990

    • Shared interests transcend Cold War divisions

  • Aerial bombardment of Iraq, forces in Kuwait (January 1991)

    • SCUDs, Patriots, and Israel

  • Ground war launched (23 February 1991)

    • Lasts 100 hours; expulsion from Kuwait, strafing of Iraqi troops up Basra road

    • Bush stops short of Baghdad (why?); Saddam remains in power, and US spends next decade seeking to hem him in (no-fly zones, sanctions, air strikes, etc.)

  • Upshot: American military can effectively and efficiently (at minimal cost) fight wars to guard against traditional threats to the status quo; however, acceptability seemingly predicated on burden-sharing


The clinton administration reluctant humanitarianism
The Clinton Administration: “Reluctant Humanitarianism” From Here?

  • Clinton comes to power, as did LBJ, “focused like a laser” on domestic policy concerns

    • Issues such as health care reform, social welfare

  • However, emerging and existing international issues force the Clinton Administration to devote a great deal of effort to the formulation of new foreign policy

    • China and civil rights

    • Increased narcotics concerns in Central America

    • Nuclear proliferation – continued concerns in North Korea, Iraq, Pakistan, elsewhere

    • Ongoing violence concerning Palestinian question

    • Bosnian Civil War – largely ignored by Bush, but quickly becoming a catastrophe

    • Political struggles in Haiti

    • Humanitarian disasters in Rwanda, Somalia

    • Role of the NATO alliance


The clinton administration reluctant humanitarianism1
The Clinton Administration: “Reluctant Humanitarianism” From Here?

  • Insofar as Clinton develops a coherent foreign policy approach, it is along the following lines:

    • Largely seeks to uphold order by deterring or reversing encroachments upon civil rights and liberties in other states – Wilson’s “interventionism”

      • American moral leadership to ensure security

      • Intervention must be within acceptable cost; diplomatic and economic measures used first

      • Military means are last resort – must actively avoid the use of American ground troops and must be undertaken with massive international assistance (shadow of Vietnam, legitimacy)

  • De facto predication of national interest on Wilsonian values leads to criticism and change in traditional partisan foreign policy outlooks

    • Many Republicans (who regain both houses of Congress in 1994) argue that such an approach ignores more “realist” components of America’s national interests – military security

      • Additional pressure on Clinton to approach foreign policy with extreme care; Albright’s balance become very important

      • Are joined by some Democrats – division is no longer partisan, but is between staunchly internationalist Dems/Reps on one hand and less internationalist Dems/Reps on other


The success of humanitarian intervention bosnia and kosovo
The Success of Humanitarian Intervention: Bosnia and Kosovo From Here?

  • Yugoslavia disintegrates in 1990-91; Serbs and Croats fight for control over ethnic enclaves in Bosnia (“ethnic cleansing”)

    • UN/NATO involvement (sanctions, arms embargo, peacekeeping) is largely a failure; US is de facto leader, but has no troops on the ground

  • Clinton, NATO begin using air strikes to protect “safe havens” (1993-1994) but ground troops avoided at all costs

    • Serbs take peacekeepers hostage (to be released if bombings stop); NATO considers withdrawal

    • New role for NATO? (European collective security)

  • Clinton (1995) intensifies air strikes, commits 20,000 US ground troops as part of Dayton Accords

    • American public dismayed at continuing genocide, apparent US weakness (political decision)

    • Dole Resolution to lift arms embargo – puts pressure on Clinton to act

    • NATO agreement called for US to use ground troops in event of NATO withdrawal; Clinton, realizing he would have to use troops anyway or risk the survival of the alliance, commits troops in active role

  • In Kosovo (1999), US and NATO use bombing to expel Serbs, but no combat troops used


The failure of humanitarian intervention somalia and rwanda
The Failure of Humanitarian Intervention: Somalia and Rwanda From Here?

  • In Somalia, Clinton seeks to ensure the delivery of food to society torn by civil war

    • Warlords (Aideed) commandeer supplies, use as means of control

    • American troops (UN auspices) sent to distribute food, topple Aideed; resulting engagement results in loss of 18 American soldiers, quick withdrawal by Clinton

  • In Rwanda, genocide of Tutsi moderates by Hutu extremists is humanitarian disaster

    • Though providing humanitarian aid, Clinton and UN provide nothing in way of peacekeeping; 500,000 die

  • Withdrawal from Somalia, aversion to action in Rwanda predicated upon fear of incurring costs (Vietnam), limited association with material national interest (domestic opposition)


Clinton and the rising tide of fundamentalist islamic terrorism
Clinton and the Rising Tide of Fundamentalist Islamic Terrorism

  • Transnational terrorism, perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists, seemingly threatens the very fabric of the international system and US hegemony in it

  • Despite several attacks by al-Qaeda (African Embassies, USS Cole), Clinton’s response is ambivalent

    • Missile retaliation for African embassies (claims of diversion), but no troop involvement

    • No response to Cole attack

  • In the end, terrorism is treated as a nuisance (as it had been by Reagan and GHW Bush), and seemingly of secondary importance to the safeguard of civil rights/liberties in states through humanitarian intervention


A recap of us foreign policy in the 1990s
A Recap of US Foreign Policy in the 1990s Terrorism

  • Demise of USSR leads to confusion concerning direction of USFP; GHW Bush and Clinton faced with new challenges to American hegemony, state system

  • Both seek to use American force to maintain US dominance in different ways, but both are bound by limits set by Vietnam (acceptable cost)

    • Main balance: Between impossible isolationism and unsustainable overreach

  • Clinton explicitly ties USFP to humanitarianism, but lack of clear national interest and restructuring of traditional partisan FP views instills caution and reluctance (just as with Wilson)

  • 9/11/01 thrusts terrorism to the fore


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