A FOREIGN POLICY FOR THE GLOBAL AGE
President Clinton understood from the beginning of his tenure that the most
pervasive force in our world is globalization. He also understood that while
globalization is inexorable, its benefits are not - though it does have qualities
we can harness to advance our objectives of democracy, shared prosperity and
The way for America to exercise its influence today is to build with our democratic
partners an international system of strong alliances and institutions attuned
to the challenges of a globalized world, to ensure this system is genuinely
open to all who adhere to clearly defined standards, and to be ready to stand
up for those standards when they are threatened.
The broad outlines of a foreign policy for the global age can't be summed up
on a bumper sticker. But they are reflected in the principles that have guided
the Clinton foreign policy over the past eight years.
- Our alliances with Europe and Asia are the cornerstone of our national
security, but they must be constantly adapted to meet emerging challenges.
- Peace and security for the United States depends on building principled,
constructive, clear-eyed relations with our former great power adversaries.
- Local conflicts can have global consequences. The purpose of peacemaking,
whether by diplomacy or force, must be to resolve conflicts before they escalate
and harm vital interests.
- Not all old threats have disappeared, but new dangers, accentuated by technological
advances and the permeability of borders, require new national security priorities.
- Economic integration and the expansion of markets globally advances both
our interests and our values, but also accentuates the need to alleviate economic
OUR ALLIANCES WITH EUROPE AND ASIA REMAIN THE CORNERSTONE
OF OUR NATIONAL SECURITY, BUT THEY MUST BE CONSTANTLY ADAPTED TO MEET EMERGING
These core alliances are today stronger and arguably more durable because they
are organized to advance an enduring set of shared interests, rather than to
defeat a single threat.
Working for a Peaceful, Democratic Undivided Europe
- Revitalized, adapted and expanded NATO from a static Cold War alliance
to a magnet for new democracies, with new partners, members and missions;
adapted the command structure; created the Partnership for Peace; admitted
Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.
- Led NATO in its first military engagement and stopped the killing
in Bosnia. The peace we brokered in Dayton has been sustained, a civil society
complete with active opposition parties and non-governmental organizations
is taking root, and national and local elections have taken place throughout
- Took military action in Kosovo to stop ethnic cleansing and regional
instability. Forced withdrawal of Serb forces and deployed an international
presence in Kosovo -- with a 47,000 strong NATO-led force providing security
for the province. Achieved the safe and unconditional return of more than
900,000 refugees, disbanded the Kosovo Liberation Army.
- Contributed to the containment, isolation and eventual removal of Milosevic
in Serbia, by supporting democratic forces in Serbia and Montenegro, and
by isolating and sanctioning the Milosevic regime.
- Proved NATO could stand together in a sustained conflict and is relevant
to the challenges of post-Cold war Europe. Russian troops serve shoulder-to-shoulder
with U.S. and other partners in KFOR.
Adapting and Upholding our Alliance with Asia
- Updated our strategic alliance with Japan through adoption of the
Defense Guidelines and Joint Security Declaration to define how we will respond
together to post-Cold War threats.
- Reduced the North Korean threat through deterrence and diplomacy.
Negotiated the October 1994 Framework Agreement to freeze and dismantle North
Korea's dangerous nuclear weapons fuel production and a moratorium on long-range
missile testing in 1999.
- Strengthened cooperation with South Korea to move forward to engage
North Korea. Jointly engaged in Four Party Talks and established Trilateral
Group (the United States, Japan and South Korea) to coordinate North Korea
policy which helped create the conditions for an eventual North-South dialogue.
- Backed our security commitments to the region with firm actions -
sent carriers near the Taiwan Strait in 1996 to defuse potential crisis.
PEACE AND SECURITY FOR THE UNITED STATES DEPENDS
ON BUILDING PRINCIPLED, CONSTRUCTIVE, CLEAR-EYED
RELATIONS WITH OUR FORMER ADVERSARIES.
We must continue to be mindful of threats to the peace, while
maximizing the chances that Russia and China evolve internally toward greater
democracy, stability and prosperity. To achieve both goals, we must continue
to seize on the desire of both countries to participate in the global economy
and global institutions, insisting they accept the obligations as well as the
benefits of integration.
Building on Our Relationship with Russia
- Spearheaded negotiations on the exit of Russian troops from the Baltics,
brought Russian troops into NATO peacekeeping missions in the Balkans
and secured Russia's active support for a just end to the Kosovo war.
- Brought Russia into the G-8 and APEC, developed quantitatively new
relationships between Russia and NATO as well as with the international
- Reduced the nuclear danger. President Clinton sharply increased
funding for threat reduction programs that deactivated/dismantled more than
1,700 nuclear warheads, 300 missile launchers, 425 ICBM and SLBMs; strengthened
security and accounting of nuclear materials; purchased 500 metric tons of
weapons-grade uranium; reached agreement for the safe, transparent and irreversible
destruction of 68 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.
- Supported economic reform and the creation of a market economy.
Today 70 percent of the Russian economy is in private hands. From the outset,
U.S. assistance programs recognized the importance of building the infrastructure
for a market economy. President Clinton launched a rule of law project immediately
after the 1993 Vancouver Summit that helped Russia draft a new Civil Code,
a Criminal Code, a tax code and bankruptcy laws.
- Supported nearly 45,000 educational/professional exchanges since
1993 and provided training, small grants and technical assistance to support
the development of entrepreneurship and independent media across Russia.
Building on Our Relationship with China
- Helped maintain peace in the Taiwan Straits and worked with China
to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.
- Brought China into global non-proliferation regimes - the Chemical
Weapons Convention, CTBT and Biological Weapons Convention.
- Obtained agreement from China to provide no new assistance to Iran's
nuclear program and halt assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities
- Negotiated terms for China's entry into WTO, with PNTR. The most
constructive breakthrough in U.S.-China relations since normalization in 1979
will entangle China more deeply in a rules-based international system and
change China internally.
LOCAL CONFLICTS CAN HAVE GLOBAL CONSEQUENCES.
THE PURPOSE OF PEACEMAKING, WHETHER BY DIPLOMACY
OR FORCE, MUST BE TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS BEFORE
THEY ESCALATE AND HARM OUR VITAL INTERESTS.
In a global age, arguments for peacemaking are even stronger: to defuse conflicts
before they escalate and harm our interests. America's dominant power is more
likely to be accepted if it is harnessed to the cause of peace.
- Middle East: Brought parties together at Camp David for first high
level discussions of all permanent status issues. Helped forge agreements
that led to the Declaration of Principles in September 1993 and the Interim
Agreement on Palestinian self-rule in September 1995. Brokered the Wye agreement
in October 1998, revitalizing the peace on Wye implementation in September
1999, and the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel in October 1994.
- Greece and Turkey: Encouraged Greek-Turkish rapprochement. Strongly
supported Turkey's EU candidacy. Restarted talks toward a comprehensive settlement
- India and Pakistan: Helped move from the brink of what might have
been a catastrophic war in July 1999.
- Northern Ireland: Helped broker the Good Friday Peace Accord, ending
decades of bloodshed and empowering the people of Northern Ireland to determine
- Peru and Ecuador: Worked with other regional governments to halt
the 1995 border war between Peru and Ecuador.
- Eritrea and Ethiopia: Negotiated a final, comprehensive peace agreement
between Eritrea and Ethiopia, signed on December 12, 2000.
- Burundi: Worked with President Mandela to encourage and support
the peace process and and jointly witnessed the signing of an initial framework
agreement in Arusha, Tanzania.
NOT ALL OLD THREATS HAVE DISAPPEARED, BUT NEW
DANGERS, ACCENTUATED BY TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES
AND THE PERMEABILITY OF BORDERS, REQUIRE NEW
NATIONAL SECURITY PRIORITIES.
One of the biggest changes we have brought about in the way America relates
to the world has been the change in what we consider important. The Clinton
Administration has defined a new security agenda that addresses contemporary
threats - nonproliferation, terrorism, international crime, infectious disease,
- Nonproliferation: Permanently eliminated nuclear weapons and their
delivery vehicles from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Signed the Comprehensive
Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and achieved the indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation
Treaty and ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Prevented Saddam
Hussein's rearmament, diverting 90 percent of his oil revenues from the production
of nuclear weapons and anthrax to the purchase of food and medicine.
- Terrorism: Developed a national counter-terrorism strategy, led
by a national coordinator. Brought perpetrators of World Trade Center bombing
and CIA killings to justice. Prevented planned attacks against Millennium
- Cyber Security: Developed first national strategy to protect critical
infrastructure, bringing together private sector and government. Increased
funding on critical infrastructure protection by over 40 percent since 1998.
- Chemical and Biological Weapons: Strengthened international support for
and adherence to CWC/BWC. Equipped and trained first responders in 120 largest
- Environment: Brought climate change issues into the mainstream of
our foreign policy. Negotiated Kyoto protocol in 1997 to establish a strong,
realistic framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in environmentally
strong and economically sound way.
- Infectious Disease: Made the international fight against deadly
infectious diseases a national security priority. Introduced issue to the
U.S.-EU Summit, the U.N. Millennium Assembly, and the G-8 Summit in Okinawa
and mobilized billions from our international partners. More than doubled
foreign assistance for HIV/AIDS. Working to accelerate the development of
vaccines for AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and other major disease threats
through the President's Millennium Vaccine Initiative.
- International Crime: Intensified interdiction efforts, cracking
down on drug lords and providing $1.6 billion in assistance for Colombia.
Combating trafficking in persons, especially women and children, with an integrated
strategy that focuses on prevention, prosecution of traffickers and protection
of and assistance to victims.
ECONOMIC INTEGRATION ADVANCES BOTH OUR INTERESTS
AND OUR VALUES, BUT ALSO ACCENTUATES THE
NEED TO ALLEVIATE ECONOMIC DISPARITY.
As the first president who has understood the connections of the global economy
and its connection to our prosperity, President Clinton has led the way toward
the greatest expansion in world trade in history - from $4 to $6.6 trillion
a year, opened markets for U.S. exports abroad and created American jobs through
nearly 300 other free and fair trade agreements, contributing to the longest
economic expansion in our history.
- Completed the Uruguay Round of the GATT negotiations and created
the WTO to reduce tariffs, settle trade disputes and enforce rules.
- Ratified the North America Free Trade Association, cementing strategic
trade relationships with our immediate neighbors. U.S. exports to Mexico grew
109 percent from 1993 to 1999, compared with growth to the rest of the world
of 49 percent.
- Strong U.S. growth and maintenance of open markets was in no small
measure responsible for the recovery of the Asian economy which again is fueling
- Helped rescue Mexico's economy with $20 billion in emergency support
loans that were repaid in full with interest.
- Pushed the G-8 nations to tackle the AIDS crisis and to invest more
in basic education.
- Supported the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative at the
G-7 Summit in Cologne in June 1999, to provide deeper multilateral debt reduction
for poor countries with unsustainable debt burdens.
- Won House approval of PNTR with China that will integrate it into
the world economy through entry into the WTO, open Chinese market to U.S.
exports, slash Chinese tariffs and protect American workers and companies
- Won approval of the Caribbean Basin Initiative enhancement legislation
to promote economic prosperity in Central America and the Caribbean.
- Launched and signed into law the African Growth and Opportunity Act
to support increased trade and investment between the United States and
Africa and strengthen Africa's potential for economic growth and democracy.
- Reform of international institutions. Reformed IMF to bring transparency,
accountability and more strict conditions for loans to struggling economies.
- Led the G-7 to adopt initiatives to strengthen the international financial
architecture, to include emerging economies in global dialogues on financial
markets, to enhance transparency in governments and financial institutions,
to create stronger regulation on lending countries, to equip emerging markets
to deal better with risk and to share responsibility for crisis resolution.
President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House
White House for Kids | White House History
White House Tours | Help | Text Only