Courtesy Reuters

FUNDAMENTAL DIVERGENCE FROM BUSH

Since the end of the Persian Gulf War, pressure has mounted to involve the United Nations in a growing number of countries that are experiencing internal civil strife. Somalia is the paradigm case. It is therefore extremely important to clarify the historical decision–making record. What President Bush originally decided and what the Clinton administration later did represent fundamentally divergent approaches.

The Bush administration sent U.S. troops into Somalia strictly to clear the relief channels that could avert mass starvation. It resisted U.N. attempts to expand that mission. The Clinton administration, however, set about pioneering "assertive multilateralism" and efforts at nation–building that led to the violence and embarrassment that ultimately ensued. These failures raise larger questions about the United Nations’ competence in more ambitious areas of peace enforcement and nation–building, especially without enduring commitments from the United States.

THE INITIAL U.S.

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

Subscribe
  • John R. Bolton is a Washington attorney and was Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations in the Bush administration.
  • More By John R. Bolton