In This Review

U.S. Foreign Policy After the Cold War: Superpower Without a Mission?
U.S. Foreign Policy After the Cold War: Superpower Without a Mission?
By Michael Cox
Royal Institute Of International Affairs, 1995, 148 pp

This balanced overview of Clinton's foreign policy argues that the administration has pursued a reasonably coherent agenda since coming to office. Cox does not really dispose of the frequent charge of inconsistency and has little to say about the crises during the administration's first two years (Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, North Korea, and China) where this quality was most patently on display. But perhaps his working assumption, even if untrue, allows the author to review the record in a more detached fashion than fevered critics at home. His stress--a useful corrective--is on the big relationships and not the symbolic crises. Though he highlights the "geoeconomic" perspectives among Clinton's inner circle and believes this change of outlook to be very significant, his major theme is the larger continuity of American foreign policy. Although adversaries and circumstances changed with the passing of the Cold War, friends and purposes have remained the same. Cox doubts, however, that the United States is willing to pay a serious price for the construction of a new world order and thus ends by expressing his fear that the American nation will be guilty of the very thing--failing the summons to leadership--of which he absolves the administration.