U.s. Foreign Policy Policies Essay

2045 WordsOct 3, 20169 Pages
Unimaginable five years earlier, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1991 was, as historian George Herring asserted, “an event as momentous in its ramifications as it was anticlimactic in its occurrence.” Soviet Premier Gorbachev’s dual policies of glasnost and perestroika had relaxed central control and encouraged self-sufficiency among the republics of Eastern Europe, but it also revealed the underlying economic weakness of the Soviet system. The collapse of the Soviet Union sent shockwaves through a U.S. foreign policy establishment that had, for decades, overwhelmingly focused on the containment of the Soviet Union. Lacking the fundamental organizing principle that the Cold War provided, both the Bush and Clinton administrations struggled to put forth a consistent foreign policy strategy. Each administration reacted differently to the reality of a world without a central adversary, and each made critical missteps. U.S. foreign policy during the first post-Cold War decade was at times tentative and inconsistent as foreign policy authorities sought a dominant organizing principle to shape its strategy. The Bush administration’s reaction to the events leading up the Soviet collapse was one of caution and restraint. Former Vice-President Bush saw policies targeting Russia as overly aggressive in Reagan’s early presidency, and later, as Gorbachev relaxed the control Moscow exercised over Eastern European states, Bush thought Reagan’s relationship with

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