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The Bullied Pulpit: A Weak Chief Executive Makes Worse Foreign Policy

Courtesy Reuters

The Senate's failure to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) last October has been called a disaster for arms control, a triumph for American security, a humiliation for the Clinton administration, and an embarrassment for congressional Republicans. But these various and contradictory perspectives miss something important, as do most discussions of the failings of U.S. foreign policy: the structural crisis to which the nation has succumbed.

During the past decade of post-Cold War drift, American foreign policy has been assailed by two camps of critics. The first makes ad hominem attacks: America's diplomatic failings reflect a lack of leadership from Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, or congressional Republicans. The second camp is cultural and holds that America is either too isolationist to pursue international goals in a sustained way or too riven by multiculturalism to manage a foreign policy consensus. Both camps miss the point. The central problem of

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