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Clinton Era Foreign Policy .....What they got Right ......and Wrong.

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As Americans we often find ourselves comparing and contrasting may different things … and presidents and their administrations are no exception. It is these reflections that allow us to develop a sense of direction. As we see events unfold in Baltic and throughout the world I find myself asking the question…..how would past administrations have handled US foreign policy in a Post 9/11 era. Lets be frank, the rules of engagement have changed. With a lengthy campaigns sizable loses and a sluggish economy both Americans and Europeans have lost their appetite for any sort military action. In a realistic world we understand that American and Europe can not withdraw from the would stage, but citizens of both the US and EU have made it clear they want to see a reduction in engagement. No respectable Neo Conservative or Goldwater Conservative would dare admit such a conflicting ideological fact in public , but behind closed doors and on the eight hole in a round of golf, they will concede that unlimited intervention is not popular in home districts nor is it good for the long term security of the nation. No one leader understood this fact to be just that “fact “ , than President William Jefferson Clinton.

Clinton White House Theoretical Comprehension
Carl von Clausewitz concepts of the nature of war are identical to what the historical and current philosophy that shapes our contemporary security strategies. Our country until 1996 operated with consistency on the premise that war is and should be a last resort in our National Security Strategy. The United States government was hesitant to enter the Revolution, both World Wars, and Vietnam. The Korean War was the exception is in some historian’s vantage point. There is great debate as to whether the Korean War an s a war of choice or necessity. Some say that when Truman and MacArthur choose to go past the 38th Parallel they made it a war of choice many agrees and disagree with this. Clausewitz's establishes three major principles in the first three chapters and throughout his writings. Bill Clinton understood the first being that war should never be seen in what he calls a “Purpose to itself”, rather a way of “physically forcing an entities opposition. To quote Clausewitz directly in chapter one he defines war and says “War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, political commerce” (Clausewitz ,1982). Clausewitz next principle is war falls into two categories; wars that disarm and wars that achieve limited aims. Clausewitz‘s third principle is that war tends to favor the party employing more force and resources. Clausewitz basically creates the principles that create a foundation for the security policy post World War II. Based on these assumptions we see a rapid decline in Congress’s authority over national security and Wartime powers and a rapid evolution of presidential powers.

Post Cold War Era Foreign Policy
Following the collapse of Soviet Union the international community matriculated through a period of flux. For nearly 60 years the world rotated on two axis, The Soviet Union and The United States . Both deemed super powers divided the world along barb wire and economic ideology. The Clinton White House understood the relationships of Europe, the Baltic and the Balkins. The Clinton White House grasp the historical leadership of Post Soviet Russia and Europe. For example the Clinton White House studied and conceptualized that Mikhail Gorbachev was a strong loyalist to the Soviet party One can make the argument that for all counts and purpose Gorbachev towed the party line in public but behind closed doors and in policy he showed great dissatisfaction with the state of affairs most notably the Soviet Economy. explains Gorbachev approach of “New Thinking” and the initial goals was not to replace the Soviet system but rather overhaul to produce the similar economic results, by tapping into what he called “ Human Potential “ and “ Social Creativity”. He believed that under the Stalinist Regime these elements of Soviet society were suppressed and if relieved of this burden that the communist model would thrive.

Clinton comprehended the origin of “New Thinking” had little to do with the economic and military growth of the west, rather it centered around reaching the what Gorbachev thought to be the me more “liberal and social” democratic west.” Gorbachev was influenced by the social democrats of Europe and the United States. Gorbachev also embraced Russia’s European roots and called it “common European home” which center around Gorbachev continues of Khrushchev’s attempt to bring Europe into the sphere of the Soviets unfortunate for Gorbachev, NATO and the Warsaw Pact proved to be more enduring to Europeans.

International Foreign Policy beyond Europe

In addition to brokering the Good Friday Peace treaty which in abled Northern Ireland to embrace self determination. Its successes can numbered from the Middle East to Africa where the Clinton White House brought parties together at Camp David for first high level discussions of all permanent status issues. Helped forge agreements that led to the Declaration of Principles in September 1993 and the Interim Agreement on Palestinian self-rule in September 1995. Brokered the Wye agreement in October 1998, revitalizing the peace process after years of stagnation. Helped broker the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum against terrorism in September 1999, and the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel in October 1994.

Africa and Central Asia , and the War on Terror

As with all administrations CLWH has its failures , specifically Rwanda , Somalia , Bora Bora, Kenya and Tanzania. As the Counter-terrorism Center loomed upon Osma bin Laden, they learned in 1998 that the Saudi government had bin Laden cells within the country that were planning attacks on U.S. forces. CIA Director George Tenet, encouraged by the Saudi's show of force against bin Laden, asked them to assist in the fight against bin Laden. Clinton named Tenet as his informal "personal representative" to work with Saudi Arabia on terrorism. The Saudis promised Tenet that they would do everything they could to convince the Taliban to release bin Laden for trial in America or elsewhere. The Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki bin Faisal, held various meetings with Taliban chief Mullah Omar and other leaders and received assurance that bin Laden would be removed. Omar, however, reneged on that promise. On August 7, 1998, Bin Laden struck again, this time with simultaneous bombings on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The CIA, having confirmed bin Laden was behind the attack, informed Clinton that terrorist leaders were planning to meet at a camp near Khowst, to plan future attacks. According to Tenet, "several hundred," including bin Laden, would attend. On August 20, Clinton ordered the military to fire cruise missiles at Al-Qaeda terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sundan, where bin Laden was suspected of manufacturing biological weapons. While the military hit their targets, bin Laden was not killed. The CIA estimated that they had missed bin Laden by "a few hours. Clinton and his principals, however, insist that the decision was made solely on the basis of national security After the attacks failed, Clinton moved his focus to diplomatic pressure. On the advice of the State Department, Clinton encouraged Pakistan, whose military intelligence agency was a patron of the Taliban, to pressure the Taliban to remove bin Laden. After numerous meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani's would still not cooperate.[ Sharif eventually agreed to allow the United States to train Pakistani special forces to find bin Laden. When Sharif was ousted by Pervez Musharraf, the plan was abandoned. After encouragement by Richard Clarke, Clinton issued an executive order in July 1999 declaring the Taliban regime as a state sponsor of terrorism. This was followed in October 1999 by Resolution 1267 sponsored by the United States placing economic and travel sanctions on the Taliban. The Taliban, however, stood by bin Laden, and the United States, along with Russia, proposed yet another UN resolution (Resolution 1333), this time imposing an embargo an arms shipments to the Taliban.[50] The move was meant to weaken the Taliban in their fight against the Northern Alliance in their civil strife. However, the resolution did little to limit the illegal flow of arms from Pakistan. In August 1999, Clinton signed a Memorandum of Notification ordering the CIA to develop another plan to capture bin Laden, and giving the CIA the authority to order bin Laden be killed. Near the end of 1999, the Clinton administration, working with the government of Jordan, detected and thwarted a planned terrorist attack to detonate bombs at various New Year millennium celebrations around the world. The CIA confirmed that bin Laden was behind the plot, which was disrupted just days before the New Year. While many credited Clinton's new CSG for playing a role in the foiling of these plots, critics claim it was "mostly luck.

In Reflection

President Clinton’s administration understood that the commander and chief of the Armed Forces becomes more of a central figure in security policy since the executive branch oversees the armed forces. This is also a trend we see in how the American public as well as the international community. The vantage point is that American national security policy is directly influenced and ensured based on our military strength. So it is with great duplicity that the international community categorizes countries such as North Korea although clearly a international threat to peace with the label “militarized regime” when all countries ensure it’s existence with what Clausewitz would call political instrument and political commerce , that commerce meaning regime security and territorial integrity(Clausewitz ,1982). The Clinton White House embraced the philosophy that human rights consistently points to the importance of democracy in reducing the severity and incidence of personal integrity abuses. The prescriptive utility of the democracy finding is often limited by the fact that democracy is a composite variable made up of a number of conceptually distinct properties that must be present before a polity can be declared fully democratic or a mature democracy. Davis Held has said more about human rights than perhaps any other cosmopolitan theorist, emphasizing what he calls ‘‘empowerment rights’’ as ‘‘intrinsic to the democratic process.’’ Establishing democratic processes regionally and globally thus entails reestablishing these rights. Held’s preference for ‘‘empowerment’’ rights turns on his reluctance to assert their universality. Nonetheless, Held argues, they are rights any democrat must accept.

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