America Confronts the Post-Cold War Era
Big ideas matter. Here are the most important themes for this chapter.
The over-arching themes of chapter 41 are that Bill Clinton enjoyed 8 years of a robust economy, but puttered on foreign policy. And, George W. Bush took the “War on Terror” overseas to Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Entering the White House in 1992, Clinton came with a desire to make liberal reforms such as allowing homosexuals in the military and starting universal government-sponsored health care. Most of these plans did not pan out as planned.
- Two years later, the Republicans, led by Newt Gingrinch, won large numbers in Congress. Then they also over-estimated the call for change.
- Problems abroad were also a thorn in Clinton’s side, including chaos in Somalia where the U.S. entered and then left, trade policies with China, and ethnic fighting in the Balkans where the U.S. and NATO tried to clean up the mess.
- The 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore was the closest in history, and likely the most controversial. Gore got more popular votes, but after counts and recounts in Florida, Bush got more electoral votes and won.
- On September 11, 2001, radical Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S. by hijacking airplanes. This motivated President Bush to attack Afghanistan in hopes of (a) ousting the Taliban rulers and (b) uprooting the terrorists.
- Believing Saddam Hussein had “WMDs” (weapons of mass destruction) Bush and Congress elected to attack Iraq. Hussein was captured and the U.S. set up a new Iraqi government. Shootings and bombings in the streets lingered, however.