Clinton and Prospects for America’s Future: New Priorities for Old?

  • John Dumbrell
Part of the American History in Depth book series (AHD)


Describing the debate over post-Cold War priorities in 1992, Norman Ornstein recalled Oscar Wilde’s remark that there were two tragedies in human existence: never achieving one’s heart’s desire — and achieving it. The US had won the Cold War, but the American public was ‘bitterly unhappy over the failures of the political and economic processes at home and pessimistic about the future’.1 The Presidential election did not see a sustained debate over future priorities. Third candidate Ross Perot (who gleaned an extraordinary 19 per cent of votes cast) offered virtually no contribution to the debate over foreign policy priorities. He merely suggested that Germany and Japan might help ease the budget deficit by paying more for their defence. Clinton offered a few specific criticisms of the Bush Administration. It had coddled ‘dictators from Baghdad to Beijing’ and had missed opportunities accruing from the demise of Soviet communism. Clinton offered also scattered hints that he might embrace some form of modified protectionism (or ‘managed trade’) and undertook to advance America’s economic cause more forcefully than his predecessor.2


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Copyright information

© John Dumbrell 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Dumbrell
    • 1
  1. 1.Keele UniversityUK

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