“When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, there was a gen­eral as­sump­tion that the world of war, near war and dis­trust had been put be­hind us”

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

mil­i­tary at this point.

Bush started this with the 1992 in­ter­ven­tion in So­ma­lia, where U.S. direct in­ter­ests were min­i­mal, but in­ter­nal chaos had cre­ated a famine. Bill Clin­ton adopted this stance, send­ing forces to Haiti, to de­pose a sin­gu­larly un­pleas­ant govern­ment, and to Liberia. He bombed Iraq in Op­er­a­tion Desert Fox to pre­vent it from de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons, waged war against Ser­bia to pre­vent mass mur­der in Kosovo, and when a group called al-Qaida struck at U.S. em­bassies in East Africa and at­tacked the USS Cole, car­ried out re­tal­ia­tory strikes of du­bi­ous ef­fec­tive­ness.

The view of the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion was that it led a world­wide coali­tion to man­age a global con­sen­sus. None of these is­sues rep­re­sented sig­nif­i­cant threats, but each had to be dealt with. Mi­nor ir­ri­tants might be­come more sig­nif­i­cant and with lim­ited ef­fort could be con­trolled.

These were side is­sues. The cen­tral is­sue was manag­ing global eco­nomic growth. The 1990s were a pe­riod of largescale de­vel­op­ment, and it was as­sumed that in­creased trade and in­ter­na­tional in­vest­ment would per­pet­u­ate this growth and cre­ate a peace­ful and pros­per­ous world. There­fore, the pri­mary in­ter­est of the Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion was shap­ing the in­ter­na­tional econ­omy. This was the strate­gic is­sue of the decade. The rest were sec­ondary.

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