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Über dieses Buch

This volume discusses the presidential foreign policies of the post–Cold War era, beginning with George H. W. Bush and ending with the first 17 months of Donald Trump’s presidency. During this period, the United States emerged from the Cold War as the world’s most powerful nation. Nevertheless, the presidents of this era faced a host of problems that tested their ability to successfully blend realism and idealism. Some were more successful than others.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Prologue: Interests Versus Ideals

The conflict between moral values and amoral national interests is a part of the diplomatic history of the United States. In fact, the conflict between morality and self-interest is a fundamental part of all human relations. In foreign policy, as in personal relations, the problem of reconciling national interests with ideals held sacred by the nation has always been a central theme of American foreign relations, and it is one that is never completely resolvable.
Ronald E. Powaski

Chapter 2. Introduction

In addressing the foreign problems the United States faced after the Cold War, the first four presidents examined in this volume—George H. W. Bush (1989–1993), William “Bill” Clinton (1993–2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009), and Barack Obama (2009–2017)—attempted to blend realistic considerations with American ideals. While all of them gave precedence to what they conceived to be the national interests of the United States, they also attempted to uphold American ideals, to a greater or lesser extent, including democracy, free enterprise, open trade, and respect for human rights.
Ronald E. Powaski

Chapter 3. The “Enlightened Realism” of George H. W. Bush, 1989–1993

George H. W. Bush brought a wealth of foreign affairs experience to the presidency from 1989 to 1993. He served as UN ambassador, director of the CIA, and vice president under President Ronald Reagan. A realist, he emphasized US national interests in conducting his foreign policy, rather than the promotions of American values abroad. Among his foreign policy achievements as president were the creation of an international coalition that reversed Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the negotiation of German reunification within NATO, and the peaceful dissolution on of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union. Under President Bush, the United States also played the leading role in upholding the liberal international order. Nevertheless, Bush’s achievements as a statesman were not sufficient to help him win reelection to the presidency in 1992.
Ronald E. Powaski

Chapter 4. William Clinton: The Pragmatic Idealist, 1993–2001

Bill Clinton entered the White House in 1993 intending to place more emphasis on advancing American ideals than his predecessor, but at the same time, of course, without sacrificing US national interests. However, he soon realized that he, too, could not impose American ideals on other countries. Nevertheless, he believed that the United States must take the lead in addressing the world’s outstanding problems. In so doing, he endeavored to prove that America is the world’s indispensible nation.
Ronald E. Powaski

Chapter 5. George W. Bush, Realism and Neoconservatism, 2001–2009

Unlike Bill Clinton, who began his presidency intending to place more emphasis on idealistic considerations than his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush initially was determined to follow a more realistic foreign policy, one that gave priority to US national interests over more idealistic concerns, such as nation-building, humanitarian intervention, or the global problems facing the international community. However, after the 9/11 tragedy, Bush shifted to a much more ideological philosophy, one that was advanced by the so-called neoconservatives. They argued that the United States must work to spread American ideals globally, especially democracy. Ironically, however, the Bush administration not only failed to spread democracy, but also violated basic human rights, and it also implemented policies that were contrary to the national interests of the United States. The most important result of Bush’s adoption of the neoconservative philosophy was the disastrous US invasion of Iraq.
Ronald E. Powaski

Chapter 6. Barack Obama, the Idealistic Realist, 2009–2017, Part I: The Middle East and East Asia

Barack Obama entered the White House intending to emulate the more realistic foreign policy philosophy of the first President Bush without abandoning American ideals. However, more often than not, his foreign policies reflected the greater emphasis he placed on realistic rather than idealistic considerations. Nowhere were the realistic and idealistic components of Obama’s foreign policy more difficult to blend than in the Middle East. In Eastern Asia, on the other hand, he was confronted with the rising economic and military power of China and the threat of an increasingly nuclear-armed North Korea.
Ronald E. Powaski

Chapter 7. Barack Obama, the Idealistic Realist, 2009–2017, Part II: Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Global Problems

Barack Obama entered the White House intending to emulate the more realistic foreign policy philosophy of the first President Bush without abandoning American ideals. However, more often than not, his foreign policies reflected the greater emphasis he placed on realistic rather than idealistic considerations. In Europe, Obama had to counter Russia’s challenge to NATO and the liberal international order. In Latin America, Obama ignored liberal values in order to obtain the cooperation of corrupt and repressive governments in halting the movement of illegal drugs and migrants into the United States. In sub-Saharan Africa, he implemented a number of noteworthy humanitarian aid programs, but was more concerned with assisting friendly African governments resist terrorist groups. Finally, Obama attempted to ameliorate a number of ominous global problems, including climate change, nuclear weapons proliferation, and the negative effects of globalization.
Ronald E. Powaski

Chapter 8. Donald Trump and “America First,” 2017–

The election of Donald Trump brought to the White House a billionaire businessman who never held a political office and had virtually no experience with, or knowledge about, international relations not related to his business activities. In the first seventeen months of his presidency, he struck a significant blow at the liberal international order that was created and maintained by the United States since the Second World War.
Ronald E. Powaski

Backmatter

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