Post–cold War Policy - Conclusion

Inasmuch as the United States emerged from the Cold War as the world's sole superpower, it should not be surprising that American policy-makers worked hard to sustain this hegemonic situation. Eventually another state or coalition might attempt to challenge America's preeminence. Many conservatives became convinced that China had geopolitical goals that directly clashed with U.S. interests and predicted the onset of a Sino-American cold war. Others believed that the continuing integration of China into the international capitalist economy would discourage it from trying to undermine American primacy. As the post–Cold War era entered its second decade, it had become obvious that relations with the People's Republic of China would occupy a central place in U.S. foreign relations. The future nature of that relationship, however, remained unclear.

In seeking to keep America the world's "indispensable nation," post–Cold War American foreign policymakers fostered globalization, promoted democracy, undertook humanitarian interventions, isolated and punished rogue states, and worried about homeland defense. Each of these initiatives proved controversial both domestically and internationally. None was pursued with perfect consistency, but all were designed to preserve America's enviable position in the post–Cold War world.

The views expressed here are those of the author exclusively and do not represent the views of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

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