“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”
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.