Cover image for Clinton's world : remaking American foreign policy
Clinton's world : remaking American foreign policy
Hyland, William G. (William George), 1929-2008.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn : Praeger, 1999.
Physical Description:
220 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1250 Lexile.
Personal Subject:
Format :


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E885 .H95 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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No modern U.S. president inherited a stronger, safer international position than Bill Clinton. In 1992, the Cold War was over, and the nation was at peace and focused on domestic issues. Despite this temporary tranquility, Clinton would soon be faced with a barrage of crises, including flare-ups of unrest in the Middle East, ethnic conflict in Yugoslavia, uneasy relations with Japan and China, persistent trouble in the Persian Gulf, the dissolution of the USSR, and disastrous situations in Somalia and Haiti.

In this comprehensive and balanced examination of Clinton's foreign policy--the first such book to cover all the global focal points of his administration to date--William G. Hyland brilliantly shows the effects of combining this confusion with Clinton's unique personality characteristics. His first term was marked, in the author's analysis, by murky policy, unrealistic goals, and the mishandling of several crises. By the end of that term he learned some hard lessons, was able to alter his pattern of response, and reversed himself on some major aspects of foreign policy--all to benefit, in the author's view, the country and the world as a whole.

Author Notes

WILLIAM G. HYLAND was editor of Foreign Affairs from 1984 through 1992 , and subsequently, was a research professor of international relations at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He pursued a long career in government, with the CIA, the National Security Council Staff, and as Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. He is the co-author of The Fall of Khrushchev (1968) and the author of Mortal Rivals (1987) and The Cold War Is Over (1989).

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Libraries in which Foreign Affairs sees active thumbing might well consider this work by that journal's former editor. Hyland is not impressed by Clinton's foreign policy performance, occasionally deriding him and his team as "amateurish." For this Hyland blames the team members' personal predilections for "pragmatic neo-Wilsonianism," as Anthony Lake described it, compounded by Clinton's disinterest in foreign policy. Hyland adduces the Yugoslavian imbroglio to support his thesis of incompetence and inattention. The experiment in "assertive multilateralism" (to quote a Madeleine Albright formulation since buried) failed in Somalia and Iraq, two unhappy case studies, in Hyland's view, of the costs of Clinton's inability to establish a realistic goal and his tendency to ignore a foreign policy situation until it becomes a huge problem--a status the North Korean situation is approaching. Without a blueprint to replace the one designed to orchestrate the cold war world, the Clintonites have blown their historical opportunity, according to Hyland, a caustic assessment congenial to Clinton opponents. --Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

Is it too early to begin defining William Jefferson Clintons historical place as an architect of U.S. foreign policy? According to this seasoned intelligence officer and former editor of Foreign Affairs, the record will show that Clintonour first postCold War presidentwas an extremely popular leader in the era of global transition. In 15 crisp, readable chapters, Hyland chronicles the evolution of the presidents outlook from inexperience and idealism to trial-and-error pragmatism. He recognizes Clintons successesNATO enlargement, NAFTA, and the Dayton Peace Accords. Yet old enemiesSaddam Hussein, Fidel Castrostill bedevil the scene, and unresolved issues bristle like thorns. Virulent nationalism, proliferating weapons of mass destruction, a failed Russia, and the Asian financial mess are all problems that will pass to Clintons successor. In the end, Hyland fears that the moral authority of the presidency has suffered. Under Clinton, he sadly concludes, a magnificent historical opportunity to shape the international system had been missed. For academic and larger public libraries.John Raymond Walser, U.S. Dept of State, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Hyland, who served as editor of Foreign Affairs from 1984 to 1992, offers a broad overview of foreign policy, policy makers, and the policy-making process during the Clinton presidency. Clinton and the U S are regarded as struggling to find purpose and direction in the foreign policy arena in a period of transition "wedged between the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new century." Hyland suggests that, somewhat predictably, the Clinton administration was marked by disarray and a lack of focus early on. The passage of time and sometimes painful engagements have led to a general improvement in Clinton's performance and the US global position. The book covers virtually every major issue area and critical geographical region. However, Hyland offers little in the way of bold and clear critical analysis or guidance on where American foreign policy should be headed and how to get there. General readers, undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and practitioners. P. Watanabe University of Massachusetts at Boston

Table of Contents

The Legacy Mandate for Change Intervention Nation Building South of the Border Russia European Security Asian Tangles Unsinkable Japan Watershed Endgame Oslo and Beyond Iraq Crisis Management Between Hope and History
Selected Bibliography