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A nation must think before it acts.
The Clinton administration, during two years in office, has repeatedly failed to articulate a vision of a post-cold war international system. Moreover, the administration’s actions in foreign policy allow no sure inference that President Bill Clinton or his aides have a guiding vision for US. foreign and military policy. An early Russia-first policy now appears to be giving way to expanding NATO eastward. After making statements about the strategic importance of the former Yugoslavia, the administration has let NATO participate in a war there without the traditional strong U.S. leadership role and has instead stood by as the Alliance fecklessly flounders under U.N. guidance. Administration policy towards East Asia initially sought confrontation over trade with Japan and human rights with China. Now both policies have been partially abandoned. North Korea’s nuclear program galvanized the administration’s attention for about a year, during which Washington went from a hard line to large concessions and promises of aid in exchange for North Korean promises of nuclear cooperation. In Somalia, Rwanda, and Haiti, U.S. interventions have had a decidedly mixed record.