By George Friedman
The candidate has not shifted her strategy to respond to the changing reality in the international system.
This is an election in which anything can happen. Nevertheless, for now at least, it appears that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. For the moment, we can turn away from the real issues of this world to the question of what Clinton’s foreign policy might look like if she wins. It is an important question, inasmuch as I was at a dinner last night where there were foreign diplomats, and they seemed oddly obsessed with the question.
To understand her foreign policy, it is important to understand the evolution of American strategy since the fall of the Soviet Union. Clinton is a creature of the beliefs, values and illusions that dominated American policy from 1991 until 2008. By understanding that world, we can understand Clinton’s core beliefs and then consider the extent to which they have evolved. Clinton represents the American and global consensus that emerged after the Cold War.
When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, there was a general assumption that the world of war, near war and distrust had been put behind us. This is normal when a global conflict ends. After Napoleon was defeated, the victorious powers met at the Congress of Vienna and decreed two things. The first was that the victorious anti-Napoleon coalition would continue in place and administer the peace. The second was that there were no fundamental differences among these coalition partners. The same assumptions were made after World War I in the League of Nations. After World War II, the United Nations was created, with the victorious coalition ensconced as the permanent members of the Security Council.