Book review: Clinton's Grand Strategy: U.S. Foreign Policy in a Post-Cold War World

24 Dec 2015


To fully understand contemporary US foreign policy under President Obama, one must look back at his predecessors and their legacies. Dr James D. Boys’ most recent book examines Bill Clinton’s foreign policy, focusing on the evolution of “the US’ Grand Strategy” during his years in the White House.

Drawing extensively on archive material and interviews with key figures, Boys has created a valuable resource for students of American political history and those with a strong interest in Clinton. At times heavy going, it is perhaps not the best introduction to this area, but it is certainly an essential text for well versed readers.

The book is broad in both its chronological and thematic scope. Tracking the evolution of Clinton’s Grand Strategy from the launch of his presidential campaign in 1991 to his final days in office ten years later, it examines the most important facets of US foreign policy. Drawing on American policy towards the Balkans, Middle East, China, Russia and other areas, Boys concludes that despite his relative lack of experience, Clinton was ultimately successful in developing a Grand Strategy.

Given the strong possibility of another Clinton entering the White House after November’s election, this makes his book all the more interesting and relevant. In fact, Boys’ upcoming biography of Hillary Clinton (Hillary Rising) will be published next month. That too promises to be a timely and interesting read.

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